Congratulations! You have gone to college and finally graduated with your degree! You have accomplished something many people have not. You stepped out of your comfort zone, studied hard, passed your exams, and hopefully made some great friends and contacts along the way. But, just because you earned your degree, doesn’t mean your work is done.
As a college graduate, you will have to learn a lot of real-world skills such as living on your own, managing your personal finances, and one of the most important writing a cover letter.
Writing a recent graduate cover letter is a scary thing, especially if you don’t have a lot of professional experience.
To help you in the process, we put together these 9 tips to aid you in your job search. What are you waiting for?
1. Introduce Yourself
This goes without saying, but you need to start your cover letter by introducing yourself. Not just any introduction will do, it has to make a strong impression.
Remember that employers tend to only skim the cover letter for an attention grabber. If you don’t grab their attention from the get-go, they’ll move on to the next.
Try to be clear about who you are, where you graduated from, and the position you’re interested in.
If you have any connections to the organization or have already spoken to an employee (at a job fair, for example), then you should mention this in the cover letter.
It will make the employer pay close attention to you.
2. Mention Relevant Skills
If you have no experience, you might be tempted to mention every skill in your toolbox. Doing so is a mistake and could end up costing you an interview.
You need to explain how your skills are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Mention your relevant skills in a manner that will connect the dots. Connect your relevant skills to the position in a way that makes sense and will show the employer how you’re the person for the job.
3. Do Your Best to Highlight Your Qualities
Most of the people applying for the same position as you will be qualified, and with the same level of education. What can you do to set yourself apart? You need to highlight your qualities.
Saying you have excellent time management, leadership, and problem-solving skills won’t land you the job. If you want your qualities to shine through, you need some real-life examples.
For example, say how you supervised a small team of employees in your part-time job. Any leadership examples are worth mentioning.
4. Make it About the Job
Your skills won’t mean much to the employer unless you mention how they will be relevant to the job.
Use words mentioned in the job description to describe your skills. Use those particular skills to describe how it will help you do the job.
Do research and look on their website so you can have real examples of what they do and how you can contribute to the job.
It will also give you an edge over other applicants if you’re knowledgeable.
5. What Will You Bring to the Table
Make sure you make it about what you can do for an employer and not what the employer can do for you.
The last thing employers want to read is another cover letter where a candidate says they’re “looking for opportunities to grow” or “a place to grow my skills.”
Avoid any other cliche phrases about how the job will help you in your career. It’s already implied you want the job to get experience and grow your skills, you need not say it out loud.
Instead, tell them how your excellent writing skills will help you communicate with clients and the team.
Highlight other skills you think are relevant.
6. Use the Right Adjectives
As you were advised by many writing professors not to use passive voice in your papers, you’ll do well to remember this when writing your cover letter.
Remember you only have three short paragraphs to make an impression, you must make every word count.
Use action adjectives to describe yourself and your skills such as determined, bold, imaginative, tenacious and more.
Remember most recent college grads will have a lot of the same things to say, the goal is to make these adjectives set you apart from other applicants.
7. Other Skills Count
If you’re a college grad, you may or may not have had a lot of work experience.
Although some might think this puts them at a disadvantage, it’s not the case. If you’re looking for an entry-level job, employers know you won’t have a lot of experience.
You shouldn’t shy away from mentioning your skills even if they’re not work related.
Don’t forget to bring up all of your accomplishments while performing extra-curricular activities or volunteer work. Mention activities that enhanced your leadership skills.
Mention any awards or special honors you received that are worth noting.
8. Add a Call to Action
All cover letters need a call to action. The conclusion is so important in a cover letter because you want to leave a lasting impression.
A call to action will allow you to encourage the employer to get in touch with you soon. For example, you can encourage them to look at your online portfolio. Or you can encourage them to schedule a brief chat to answer any questions they might have.
9. Cover Letter Don’ts
It’s important to note cover letter don’ts that make employers cringe. For example, you never want to talk about yourself too much.
Sure, you want them to get to know you in three short paragraphs, but you don’t want every sentence to start with “me” or “I.”
Never write in your cover letter the company will be a great place to “start” your career. Instead, tell them what attracts you about the company or field.
Don’t focus too much on one particular skill or specific job. Don’t ramble on about how your summer job at the mall gave you all kinds of experience.
Don’t forget to show the employer you did your research. Briefly mention what you know about the company.
For example, show them you went the extra mile to find the hiring manager’s name.
Try These Recent Graduate Cover Letter Tips
Writing an excellent recent graduate cover letter will be essential to get your dream career in the right direction.
Don’t forget to introduce yourself, highlight your relevant skills, and include a call to action.
Looking for more life and financial tips, then check out our blog.