Despite the minimal experience required, entry level positions can be quite competitive. You won’t be the only one applying. There’s a good chance that many students with similar experiences and educational backgrounds will apply to the same position(s) you’re considering. Additionally, the nature of the position predisposes the company to some risk. It’s as new of a venture for the company as it is for you.

Your cover letter needs to go beyond simply persuading the hiring manager. It needs to speak to their need of a candidate ready for a smooth transition. It needs to assuage any doubts they may have about you as an outside hire. A cover letter that hooks and satisfies the reader’s needs will go a long way in differentiating you as a prospect.

Format

Format is crucial when writing a strong entry level job cover letter. It should be in business letter format, which means:

  1. All text is left justified
  2. The top should include your name, phone number, and email
  3. Then the date of application
  4. Then the information for the job you’re applying to
  5. Every body of text that follows should be separated by one line
  6. Your end closure and signature should be separated by four lines

Your intro format should look like:

Mark Étienne

(xxx) xxx-xxx

met35@example.com

June 6, 2019

Marketing Assistant

Job ID: 5467382

NTN Marketing

Take the time to find out who the hiring manager for the role is. While listing the position as the recipient in this letter is sufficient, you’ll score bonus points for your diligence if you can cater the letter to that person. It’s worth the effort when you can include recipient information.

Greeting

If there’s one portion of the cover letter that shouldn’t stand out, it’s the greeting. Keep it simple. Keep it professional. Dear Emily, is ideal. If the hiring manager has a doctorate (PhD or equivalent) address them respectively (i.e., “Dear Dr. Simmons,”). If you don’t have a name, you can use “Dear Hiring Manager.”

The Hook

You may have heard the common datum on attention span, that the average is no more than 8 seconds. You should assume the same for hiring managers sifting through hundreds of applications. If your opener isn’t compelling enough, your cover letter may end up in the wrong pile. Stick to a style that garners attention, such as:

My previous internship experience taught me that a marketing assistant is more involved than just analyzing and compiling customer data. Coffee and breakfast in hand, I spent my mornings compiling comprehensive competitive analyses based on our available data. My afternoons, looking for supplemental data to provide a stronger analysis. Every deliverable contained the necessary information to help the marketing team develop a better product for their clients. I took pride in my work, knowing that I was a part of the team that helped the company retain 80% of its clientele.

You’ll notice several elements in this paragraph that help keep the reader engaged, and also add value to the application.

  • The narrative is written in a conversational, yet formal tone
  • It contains some imagery and strategically paints a scenario
  • There is data; something that reflects the writer’s involvement in their past internship’s success

The skills

Your next task is to garner interest from the reader. Give them an idea of your potential and what you may be capable of while working for them.

One year of internship experience at XYZ Branding has granted me the skills necessary to hit the ground running on day one. If given the opportunity, your company can benefit from the intern who previously:

  • Provided written marketing ad materials boasting a minimum 11% conversion rate
  • Helped design focus group environments that maximize accuracy and data reliability
  • Helped conduct the in-depth market research in the industry

Data is everything. Be specific in any projects you worked in that led to any significant results. Use detailed percentages wherever possible. Also notice the lack of I statements. This is the easiest section to fall into an “I” trap. The more you say “you” and express how you can benefit the company, the less you have to try to convince them with the things “I” did. 

The fit

Simply put, your hiring manager will want to know how you fit in their company. They want to know that you will be intrinsically motivated in doing your work, without needing significant direction. Research the company, really understand their needs, and take the following approach to instill desire in your talent:

As a passionate, results-driven individual, I am as dedicated as a company needs their best employee to be. I am aware that NTN Marketing is one of the leading marketing brands in the North East. And a company like yours can help create a mutually beneficial relationship with an employee who is ready for any undertaking.

If the job description goes out of its way to request hard-working, reliable candidates, then don’t sell yourself short. Let them know that you’ll be a great fit for the unique working environment they provide.

The call to action

Always end your cover letter with a strong call to action. Reminding the reader to reach out to you is crucial to ending up on the shortlist.

I would love to have the opportunity to further discuss my potential in working at NTN Marketing. Can we schedule a future date to discuss how I can help with your clients X Imaging, Y Tiling, and Z Construction?

The call to action is also a great space to namedrop on any specific information you may have researched about the company. Letting them know how you can benefit them in one of their existing projects, for example, shows that you are ready to start right away.

The closer

Gratitude is powerful and can go a long way. Thank the reader for taking the time to read the 100th cover letter for the day. They’ll remember that. It can be similar to:

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,

Mike Étienne

Full example:

See below for the cover letter example you can use when starting your own from scratch.

Mark Étienne

(xxx) xxx-xxx

met35@example.com

June 6, 2019

Dear Dr. Rojas,

My previous internship experience taught me that a marketing assistant is more involved than just analyzing and compiling customer data. Coffee and breakfast in hand, I spent my mornings compiling comprehensive competitive analyses based on our available data. My afternoons, looking for supplemental data to provide a stronger analysis. Every deliverable contained the necessary information to help the marketing team develop a better product for their clients. I took pride in my work, knowing that I was a part of the team that helped the company retain 80% of its clientele.

One year of internship experience at XYZ Branding has granted me the skills necessary to hit the ground running on day one. If given the opportunity, your company can benefit from the intern who previously:

  • Provided written marketing ad materials boasting a minimum 11% conversion rate
  • Helped design focus group environments that maximize accuracy and data reliability
  • Helped conduct the in-depth market research in the industry

As a passionate, results-driven individual, I am as dedicated as a company needs their best employee to be. I am aware that NTN Marketing is one of the leading marketing brands in the North East. And a company like yours can help create a mutually beneficial relationship with an employee who is ready for any undertaking.

I would love to have the opportunity to further discuss my potential in working at NTN Marketing. Can we schedule a future date to discuss how I can help with your clients X Imaging, Y Tiling, and Z Construction?

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,

Mike Étienne