Crafting an articulate cover letter is challenging for all job seekers. But if you have little or no work experience, the stakes are higher. It’s more challenging to prove your value when you don’t have a series of professional accomplishments to back up your assertions.
On the bright side, you probably have more to offer an employer than you realize. You just have to package your strengths in an appealing and sensible way. Let’s explore cover letter writing to understand its purpose, structure, and how you can leverage your experiences to date to prove that you’re the best candidate.
How To Write A Cover Letter With No Experience, Step-By-Step:
Why Write Cover Letters Anyway?
The purpose of a cover letter is to complement your resume. You may refer to your resume when writing a cover letter for a job application, but you must expand upon points made in the resume when writing the cover letter. The cover letter should breathe life into the points made in the resume, and create a compelling—or even emotional—narrative around your career hopes and aspirations. It’s your chance to tell your story and show that you have the passion and the drive to come into a job and make a difference.
Step 1: Contact Information
When beginning a cover letter for a job application, start with your contact details in the top left-hand corner of the page. Include your name, city of residence, phone number, and email address. (To preserve your privacy, do not include your physical address). You should also include your LinkedIn URL. Next, write the name of the company you’re applying to, and its city of residence.
Step 2: Salutation
Ideally, you address your reader by name in your salutation. Internet sleuthing may reveal the name of the hiring manager. If you can’t find a name, you have two options: call the organization and ask to learn more about the position, or write “Dear [Company Name]” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”
Step 3: Introduction
Use this section of your cover letter to introduce yourself and share your enthusiasm for the position. Start with your name and provide some background on your strengths. Always identify the position you’re seeking and how you learned about it. If someone at the company told you about the job, then mention that person’s name (only after asking their permission, though). Aim for one to two sentences in your Introduction—keep it short, sweet, and precise.
Example Cover Letter Introduction:“Hello, my name is Grace Addington, and I’m a goals- and details-oriented civil engineering graduate from Petaluma College. I was excited to learn about the Junior Engineer internship at Bay Area Rapid Transportation through my former classmate Katie Heinz.”
Step 4: Body Paragraphs
Here comes the most critical part of writing a cover letter with no experience. The purpose of your body paragraphs (one to two brief paragraphs, tops) is to prove that you’re the best candidate for the position. Seeing as how you have little or no previous professional work experience to fall back on, you’ll want to place emphasis on soft skills—attributes of a personal nature that say a lot about your work ethic and ability to work in sync with others.
Now your resume likely consists of part-time jobs or school activities or memberships in school associations that maybe aren’t 100% related to the job you’re going after. Look closer, though—you’ve probably garnered skills in these experiences that can carry over to the job you’re applying for. Below are two examples of cover letter body paragraphs that hone in on two key phrases noted in a job advertisement as requirements: “strong interpersonal skills” and “positive work ethic.” You should be able to figure out pretty quickly which example hits the mark.
Example 1:“I am Twig & Twine’s ideal office manager. As my resume states, I served as an RA at my dorm. I know how to manage an array of things.”
Example 2: “You’re looking for a candidate with strong interpersonal skills and a positive work ethic. While serving as an RA at Porter College’s main dormitory, I planned monthly social events for over 200 students, settled two to five student disputes per-week, and mentored a select group of students in Composition. The experience taught me, rather quickly, how to efficiently multi-task, and how to effectively settle conflicts of all types in a calm, level-headed manner. I feel confident stating that I can bring these talents to Twig & Twine’s office manager position.”
The second example takes the duties that likely appeared in the RA position on the resume and then digs deep, illustrating how the tackling of those duties turned into accomplishments, and led the applicant to grow the crucial skills needed for the office manager position.
One last thing about body paragraphs—remember to frame your message around the employer’s needs, and not yours. Focus on what you can bring to the job, and how your talents will translate into success for the company. That’s important in any cover letter, and becomes even more crucial in a cover letter with no previous work experience.
Step 5: Closing
End your letter by reiterating why you’re the best candidate and express your interest once again in the position. Thank the reader for the time they took to review your application. To close, sign off formally. Try “Respectfully yours” or “Sincerely.”
Wait! There Are Two More Steps
First, proofread your document. Read it out loud to catch errors quickly. Ask a trustworthy person to read it as well. Open your mind to constructive feedback. Once the content is finalized, save as a PDF and title it “[Your Name] Cover Letter” to prevent confusion. Voila! You’re done.
About this guest author:
Since 2005, LiveCareer’s team of career coaches, certified resume writers, and savvy technologists have been developing career tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free samples, templates, writing guides, and easy-to-use resume-builder software.
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Applying for an entry-level waiter position? Need a cover letter to complement your resume? You’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our cover letters below and download the one that’s right for you. Don’t forget to read through our writing tips to make sure you address all the key points that restaurant managers look for.
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Table of Contents
- Entry-Level Waiter Cover Letter
- Related Cover Letters
- Entry-Level Waitress Cover Letter (Text Format)
- Writing Tips for your Cover Letter
SEE ALSO >Example Cover Letters by Industry
1. Entry-Level Waiter Cover Letter
Based on the following resume (click to enlarge):
Click Here to Download Our
Entry-Level Waiter CL Templates
2. Related Cover Letters
3. Entry-Level Waitress Cover Letter (Text Format)
Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Manager’s Name)
Dear Mr Name of the hiring manager,
I am writing to you today regarding the open position for Food Service Worker at (Company Name). I came across your posting on (Website Name), and am excited by the possibility of joining your establishment.
As a customer service driven individual who has a proven history of exceeding performance expectations, I believe I would be a strong addition to your team, and contribute to the ongoing operational success of your company. Some of the key talents I can bring to your company include safety/sanitation/quality control, inventory management, team building and training, and accurately determining a customer’s needs before providing them with prompt service.
My present employment at Bob’s Steak House as a Food Service Assistant has helped me to develop my abilities in key areas such as meeting and greeting customers, making reservations in person and over the phone, maintaining hygiene, and training and assisting new employees.
Your company is a market leader in the food service industry, and I would love to become a part of your winning team. I am confident that I can smoothly fit into your company culture. I will be an excellent candidate for your vacancy as I have a proven track record of attaining exceptional customer service satisfaction levels.
I have enclosed my resume for your review, and would be thankful for an opportunity to meet with you in the near future to further discuss my application.
T: Phone number
E: email address
4. Writing Tips for your Cover Letter
Below are 3 essential pieces advice that you should consider when writing your entry-level food service cover letter:
Customer Service is Key
The foundation of any waitstaff job is good customer service. Without it, your career in food service will be short-lived. So don’t be surprised that restaurant managers emphasize the need for this skill over any other. Although the candidate above has no experience as a waiter, they address their ability to keep customers satisfied by referencing their past experience as a food service assistant. Don’t worry if you have no experience in the food service industry. You can include any experience you have had working with customers.
Demonstrate your Knowledge of the Restaurant
Managers love it when applicants are already familiar with the restaurant’s culture, history, and most importantly, the menu. The more you already know, the less time the supervisor has to spend on training you. An easy way to catch the manager’s attention n your cover letter is list and describe a few of your favorite dishes from the restaurant. This will demonstrate that you are familiar with their food and will be enthusiastic to sell their food.
Show that you are a Team Player
A restaurant can’t operate efficiently without the collaboration of each department. The hosts, chefs, bartenders, and waitstaff all must work as one. Devote at least one or two sentences in your cover letter to explain how you can easily adjust to any team dynamic.