Cover Letter Looking Empty? Here’s How to Strengthen It

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Preparing a cover letter when you have zero or irrelevant experience.

A cover letter is an important part of a job application. Writing one can be challenging, especially if your work experience isn’t obviously or directly relevant to the position you’re applying to, or if you don’t have much professional experience yet! There are some strategies you can implement to make sure your cover letter is still strong and impressionable.

1. Lead with your most relevant experience

    Start off with your strongest experiences, even if it’s not your most recent one. Focus more on the skills you developed, rather than simply stating what you did. Skills carry over to many different positions, so take time to reflect! Preparing food orders over the summer might have developed your detail-oriented skills, which could carry over well to a lab position. Look through the provided job description and try to connect your experiences to the responsibilities. Then pick the best examples.

    2. Discuss what you would do in the role

    Instead of trying to fill out your entire cover letter with irrelevant experiences, take the space to show what you would do if you had the role, and explain how. If you don’t have much experience writing blog posts for example, you could write that you would develop an editing workflow to ensure that feedback can be continually incorporated. This gives the employer a glimpse into how you’ll manage and complete your responsibilities.

    3. Do your research and provide evidence

    To further demonstrate that you’re suited for the job despite lacking some experience, do some research into the company and into the industry. Read news articles, the company blog, or social media to see how the company is doing, and figure out how you can contribute to the company in your specific role.

    4. Get helpful feedback

    Get great general tips on writing a cover letter from the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, or drop into one of their resumé and cover letter coaching sessions.


    Adapted from University Affairs

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