Graduate Cover Letter: Examples & How to Write (+Template)

Graduating is an amazing sensation. That feeling of having made it and having ended a chapter in life, this time as a ‘real’ adult. More than just the end of one chapter, it’s the beginning of an exciting new one. It’s also a time during which you can’t say you’re a student or between jobs, you’re simply unemployed.

 

Or maybe you’ve been working for some time, just not in your chosen field. It’s time to take that giant leap with your first graduate position, whether in the form of a job or a place on a graduate scheme. The best places are swamped with applications, though, especially when it comes to entry-level positions.

 

You need a graduate cover letter that puts your CV in all the right piles and gets you interview after interview. This article is here to show you how to write a graduate cover letter that does just that, with graduate cover letter examples better than nine out of ten out there and plenty of proven advice.

 

Use the LiveCareer cover letter builder and your cover letter will write itself. Choose a professional template, answer a few easy questions and the creator will generate a professional cover letter for you with just one click.

 

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Graduate cover letter template

 

Paige Byrne

72 Parkway Drive

Sheffield

S2 7PL

070 3333 3333

paige.byrne@lcmail.co.uk

 

20th November 2021

 

Declan Benson

HR Manager

Krake Lucha Consultants

42 Brown Street

Sheffield

S6 3PL

 

Dear Declan,

 

As someone who knew from her first year of studying engineering that she wanted to get into consultancy as soon as possible, I was thrilled to see Krake Lucha Consultants advertise an opening for a graduate engineer. Having just finished my BEng (Mech) with first class honours at the University of Sheffield, I believe I have an extremely solid foundation on which to build my contribution to KLC’s already stellar reputation.

 

In pursuit of my dream of becoming a consultant engineer, I made sure to choose an eclectic set of electives, from soil mechanics to organic chemistry. I also excelled in every hands-on engineering competition for which I could find the time, being on the winning teams in the Lolly Stick Bridge Competition, Mouse Trap Robotics Contest, and Solar Car Challenge. My versatile knowledge base and skill set has already served me well: during my summer work with GTC Elsthom I was able to identify the root cause of a catastrophic extraction pump failure. This will allow the company to prevent future such failures from taking place, where each one could cause £60,000+ worth of damages. This unexpected foretaste of consulting practice cemented my conviction that KLC with its varied job base is exactly where I want to be.

 

I agree with what KLC’s founder Mr Boeker recently wrote regarding the dangers of excessive specialisation too early in an engineer’s formative years. I think that my university education has been in line with that philosophy, securing a breadth of experience and flexibility of approach without sacrificing on depth when it comes to the fundamentals.

 

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience, I would love to discuss further my suitability for this role and what I can bring to the KLC team.

 

Yours Sincerely,



Paige Byrne

 

Here’s how you can have a graduate cover letter that’s at least as impressive as the one above.

 

1. Make sure your graduate cover letter has a properly set-out header

 

You just graduated, or you soon will, you know the drill: there are certain formats and formalities to which you just have to adhere. The standard UK business letter format is one such thing and it’ll dictate the large-scale features of your graduate cover letter. See the graduate cover letter example above.

 

To set your header out properly, simply align to the right your full name, postal address, email address, and phone number. Leave a line and type the date of writing in the form 2nd May 2021. Leave another line and align to the left the recruiter’s name, their job title, company name, and company postal address.

 

Graduate cover letter sample header

 

Paige Byrne

72 Parkway Drive

Sheffield

S2 7PL

070 3333 3333

paige.byrne@lcmail.co.uk

 

20th November 2021

 

Declan Benson

HR Manager

Krake Lucha Consultants

42 Brown Street

Sheffield

S6 3PL

 

You can adjust every cover letter created in the builder to meet the job requirements. Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you’re applying, and the builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time.

 

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2. Start your graduate cover letter with a carefully chosen salutation

 

Throughout the vast majority of your time at university it’s been abundantly clear whom you should call by their first name and who prefers the title doctor or professor. Now things are a little less clear. Start your graduate cover letter off with a salutation that’s friendly, professional, and appropriately formal.

 

What ‘appropriately formal’ means will depend on what your background research on the company to which you’re applying tells you about its corporate culture. Check the company website first and foremost, especially its ‘about us’ section. Perform general web searches on the company and read up on any recent developments, announcements, interviews and so on. Creep around on MS LinkedIn to get a feel for the culture and the people who work there.

 

If your research suggests that the company is fairly progressive or even laid-back, then start your graduate cover letter with ‘Dear + first name’. If they seem a little more conservative or traditional, the go with the more formal ‘Dear + title + surname’ instead. Always use ‘Ms’ for women in such cases.

 

Sometimes names can leave you none the wiser regarding a person’s sex. Check online to determine your addressee’s sex before using a gendered title such as ‘Mr’ or ‘Ms’. In the extremely unlikely event that you can’t do so but nonetheless want to remain formal, use the slightly awkward ‘Dear + first name + surname’.

 

All this has assumed you know to whom it is that you’re addressing your letter. If they’re not mentioned in the job advert, do everything you can to find the recruiter’s name and job title. Add to your bag of tricks the simple act of calling the company and asking—it’s bound to work and make a good impression.

 

If by some truly extraordinary circumstances you honestly can’t track down the recruiter’s details, then address your graduate cover letter to their job title, e.g. ‘Dear Regional Marketing Manager’. If you can’t pin down a job title, then address it to their function, e.g. ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.

 

The more specific you can be, the better. Although, nothing will work quite as well as the given person’s name. Whatever you do, stay clear of the stale and off-putting ‘To Whom It May Concern’, ‘Dear Sir / Madame’, or anything along those lines.

 

Graduate cover letter example salutation

 

Dear Declan, 

 

3. Include an attention-grabbing opening in your graduate cover letter

 

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a graduate scheme, a cover letter for a graduate programme or applying for your first fully-fledged post-graduation job, you’ll need to grab the recruiter’s attention from the very outset. Yours won’t be the only graduate cover letter in the pile—first impressions count.

 

You can do this by keeping your opening paragraph short and to the point. It should efficiently get your enthusiasm for the job across, give an indication of what it is that you can offer the company, and describe how you’ll make a good fit when it comes to your values and goals.

 

If you have some work experience (whether paid, volunteer or as part of a placement programme), then include a relevant on-the-job achievement (more on achievements in the following section). Make sure it’s clear how this achievement is relevant to the job for which you’re applying.

 

If you don’t have any work experience, then include a belief statement instead. A belief statement is what you use to explain how your values line up with the company’s stated values (usually available on its website) and how your goals line up with its mission and business goals. 

 

Were you referred to this position? Did someone within the organisation suggest that you apply? Did your thesis supervisor or one of your lecturers suggest you apply? Do they have ties to the organisation? If so, then this is where you should mention the fact. Hiring referrals is a win for you and the company.

 

Your opening paragraph needs to do a lot, as you can see, but it also needs to be short: 40–80 words only. The main things you need to focus on are displaying your enthusiasm, showing what you have to offer the company, and describing how it is that you’d make a great fit going forward.

 

Graduate cover letter opening paragraph

 

As someone who knew from her first year of studying engineering that she wanted to get into consultancy as soon as possible, I was thrilled to see Krake Lucha Consultants advertise an opening for a graduate engineer. Having just finished my BEng (Mech) with first class honours at the University of Sheffield, I believe I have an extremely solid foundation on which to build my contribution to KLC’s already stellar reputation.As someone who knew from her first year of studying engineering that she wanted to get into consultancy as soon as possible, I was thrilled to see Krake Lucha Consultants advertise an opening for a graduate engineer. Having just finished my BEng (Mech) with first class honours at the University of Sheffield, I believe I have an extremely solid foundation on which to build my contribution to KLC’s already stellar reputation.

 

You don’t have to create any content yourself. The LiveCareer cover letter maker will automatically suggest the best content for your cover letter with ready-made examples and expert tips.

 

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4. Showcase what you have to offer in your graduate cover letter

 

As you saw in the previous section on writing an opening paragraph, being able to show what you’ve achieved for previous employers is a great way of indicating what it is that you’d be able to achieve for this employer. It doesn’t matter if you previous work was performed on a volunteer basis.

 

An achievement in this sense boils down to a description of an action you took in a work context and the benefits that you employer gained as a result. Such actions are most often taken in response to a problem or challenge. Quantify the scale of your actions and especially the benefits whenever possible.

 

If you don’t have any (or many enough) such achievements, then take a similar approach to your relevant academic and extracurricular achievements. Likewise quantify everything you can and be as specific as you can. Use something like the STAR method to structure both work and non-work achievements.

 

The main body paragraph(s) of your graduate cover letter will be little more than a series of 2–3 achievements. You should aim for 120–200 words in one or two paragraphs. You could also use bullet points to boost readability even more. Slip some of your research regarding the company in where you can.

 

Graduate engineer cover letter main body paragraph

 

In pursuit of my dream of becoming a consultant engineer, I made sure to choose an eclectic set of electives, from soil mechanics to organic chemistry. I also excelled in every hands-on engineering competition for which I could find the time, being on the winning teams in the Lolly Stick Bridge Competition, Mouse Trap Robotics Contest, and Solar Car Challenge. My versatile knowledge base and skill set has already served me well: during my vacation work with GTC Elsthom I was able to identify the root cause of a catastrophic extraction pump failure. This will allow the company to prevent future such failures from taking place, where each one could cause £60,000+ worth of damages. This unexpected foretaste of consulting practice cemented my conviction that KLC with its varied job base is exactly where I want to be.

 

5. Wrap up your graduate cover letter and end with a bold CTA

 

Take around 40–60 words to wrap up your graduate job or graduate scheme cover letter. Don’t introduce any new achievements at this point. Just wrap up any loose ends. Sometimes there are no loose ends to wrap up, in these cases don’t needlessly repeat yourself or belabour any points.

 

Summarise and tie your achievements and skills back into clear benefits for the company. Find a way to slip more of your background research regarding the company into your closing paragraph. Take every opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for this exact job at this particular company.

 

Graduate scheme cover letter closing paragraphs

 

I agree with what KLC’s founder Mr Boeker recently wrote regarding the dangers of excessive specialisation too early in an engineer’s formative years. I think that my university education has been in line with that philosophy, securing a breadth of experience and flexibility of approach without sacrificing on depth when it comes to the fundamentals.

 

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience, I would love to discuss further my suitability for this role and what I can bring to the KLC team.

 

6. Sign off from your graduate cover letter the right way

 

This will be perhaps the least challenging part of writing a graduate cover letter, which is what makes it all the more important that you don’t get it wrong. Use ‘Yours Sincerely’ if you addressed your cover letter to someone by name and use ‘Yours Faithfully’ if you didn’t and referred to their role instead. 

 

Graduate cover letter sign-off

 

Yours Sincerely,



Paige Byrne

 

Keep these things in mind before clicking ‘send’ on your graduate cover letter

 

You might be tired of the rigours of submitting assignments, with all the nitpicking formatting and word-count restrictions that entails. The bad news is that you’ll need to pay at least as much attention to those things when submitting your job application. The good news? At least you haven’t got rusty yet.

 

Attention to detail is a quality that’s important in any graduate job. Your graduate cover letter has to scream attention to detail and conscientiousness. The layout should be clear and easy to follow with subheadings and plenty of white space demarcating subsections. Break monolithic text-chunks down into smaller ones.

 

Choose a font that’s easy to read, professional-looking, and understated. Something like Noto, Garamond, Arial, Liberation or even Calibri will be fine. Keep the size at a readable 11–12 points. Leave margins at the standard 2.5 cm. Your graduate cover letter should nicely fill an A4 page without going over.

 

The overall look of your graduate cover letter and CV should match to reflect the fact that they constitute a single application together. This means aligning fonts, margins, general layout, and your chosen colour scheme (if any). Protect all this formatting by saving in PDF, unless asked for something else.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and quickly fill in every CV section using ready-made content and expert advice.

 

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Congratulations on graduating! Whether you have already or are due to do so soon, I hope this article helps you step out onto the labour market in style. Is there anything I’ve covered that you’d like more information on? Please leave your comments, questions, and experiences down below.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

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Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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