We know that in many cases, employers require job applicants to have experience in the job advertised as they are pretty hesitant to make an offer unless you have previous experience. I know by now, as a kid just fresh out of college, you might be thinking,
“but I have no experience how can I align my skills to the job description?”
Whether you are a recent graduate or a current college student, here are some tips to overcome the lack of experience that will guide you in writing your summary:
Focus on transferable skills
Despite the fact that the term ‘experience’ is often associated with paid work, it is important to note that transferable skills can be developed in some other ways including social works in campus, volunteerism, or leadership activities.
Employers look out for the demonstration of certain ‘key’ skills when selecting candidates for a job, some of which include candidates who have strong verbal communication skills and team players.
When you think about it, many of these skills are often developed in the classroom, through academic projects or presentations. So be sure to integrate your transferable skills into all of your job descriptions and do so as action verbs.
Remember that in a cover letter, it’s actually all about how you communicate the information!
Emphasize academic achievement
Again, if you didn’t gain experience during your undergraduate years, you can include academic achievements, scholarships, fellowships, and any other specialized honor societies you were part of.
If your grade point average is a 3.0 or higher, go ahead and include it in the cover letter too
Include relevant coursework
Mentioning that you did a relevant coursework can show employers what you have studied thus far. Take for instance, if you are majoring in law, but also took courses in entrepreneurship and psychology, it may present you as a candidate that can take up challenges.
Be sure to include them in your cover letter for your first job!
Gain experience – it’s never too late!
Whenever you can, seek a meaningful internship experience relevant to your career goals. Quite a large number of recruiters actually want to see students engaged in internships as early as their freshmen year.
There are some opportunities that you should seek out for experiential learning such as part-time work, Volunteering at an NGO, summer jobs, or even doing short courses abroad.
Final tips for writing a cover letter for your first job
Never lie! You’re allowed to be as boastful as you want – so long as you have the evidence to back it up.
No spelling or grammar errors! Spelling mistakes make an awful first impression to the employer. Don’t forget to double check! Proofread several times. It’s also advised that you allow another person to help you proofread.
Remember that the primary focus of a cover letter is to help you cover details not mentioned in your resume.
Don’t Repeat Information. This will make your application prone to being tossed into the bin.
And finally ensure that you tailor your cover letters according to the job description.
- Gavin has 15 years experience as a HR Manager and Leader within large and growing companies. During this time Gavin has seen thousands of resumes and conducted just as many interviews. Gavin has turned his knowledge and passion in this space into a full time profession and launched Jobs in Bradford his career advisory and consulting website.