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Recent Graduate Cover Letter Examples & Writing Guide

The time of dorm parties, meeting new people every week, and neglecting your responsibilities is over. Get a suit on, you’re writing a recent graduate cover letter.

Dave Rygielski
Dave Rygielski
Career Expert
Recent Graduate Cover Letter Examples & Writing Guide

Many people go to college because they don’t know what else to do. They also get the job they are given, because they can’t get a job they want. Not you.

Many recent graduate cover letters end up in the bin. Not yours.

In this guide you’ll find:

  • A recent graduate cover letter example that gets the interviews.
  • A guide on the business cover letter format.
  • A quick new grad cover letter template with blanks that you can have ready inside 15 minutes.

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Recent Graduate Cover Letter Examples

Meet Indy, applying for a graduate program at an investment bank right out of school. She has only typical experience of school and one internship, but leverages that along with private achievements to build a solid picture of her potential. 

Indy F. Killian

3486 Bicetown Road

New York, NY 10013


New York, Jan 25, 2021

Gertrude Employer

Hiring Manager

Whitewood Finance

1 Main Avenue

New York, NY 10013

Dear Gertrude,

I want to express my excitable interest in the Associate program you are offering at Whitewood Finance. As a fresh Finance & Management graduate from the University of Montgomery, I hold a 3.75 GPA and have made the Dean’s List every semester, setting me up with a solid foundation to get a taste of real finance at Whitewood. 

During my time at UofM, I came top of the class in Financial Instruments, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, all while performing the duties of the President of the Financial Society, organizing 30+ events, and 2 conferences per semester with a $50,000 budget to manage. I am the owner of a thriving online watch store, turning over $35,000+ a year in sales, and I have invested my money in a portfolio that I manage, based mainly on blue chip stocks, which have yielded a return of 5.2% in 2018, and 7.3% in 2019. During my last summer at UofM, I finished a six-week internship at Global Finance, during which I performed support and analysis duties for two multi-million dollar investment projects.

I believe I manifest the correct drive, initiative and skills, to be a successful banker at Whitewood Finance. I/m convinced I have an approach to certain things that some of my older colleagues will find refreshing, while I in turn will be able to learn a lot from them.

When could we schedule a call or a meeting for me to tell you about how I diversified my private portfolio in 2019 to secure a record yearly return?

Best Regards,

India F. Killian


You can be sure Indy will have no time to consider doing a Master’s soon. She used quantified impact to show exactly what she can do with limited resources, allowing her employer to see what she could do with theirs.

How to Write a Recent Graduate Cover Letter

1. Use the Professional Cover Letter Format

Let’s face it. The person reading your recent graduate cover letter may not consider you fully adult. You are fresh. Unformed, unshaped. Don’t let them see that. Let them believe you are the one straight-edge student unadulterated by modern civilization.

Start with a professional business cover letter format:

Next, let’s talk about what things to include in your cover letter.

2. Make a Header With Your Contact Information

This is the easy part. First, make sure the header of your cover letter matches your resume header.

Underneath your details, leave a line, enter city and date, another line, and the person you are addressing to. If you don’t know who you’re writing to, use LinkedIn, or just call them up.

Make sure you have these details down:

Cover Letter For Recent Graduate: Header 

[ Your Full Name]

[ Your Job Title ] (Optional)

[ Address ]

[ Phone Number ]

[ Email Address ]

[ LinkedIn Profile ] (Optional)

[ City and Date ]

[ Hiring Manager’s Full Name ]

[ Hiring Manager’s Position ]

[ Company Name ]

[ Company Street Address ]

[ City and Zip Code ]

Expert Hint: Use the 3-paragraph cover letter format even if you’re emailing your cover letter

3. Identify Yourself and the Position

If you’re applying for a graduate program, or a position that requires only a degree and not much else, there’s going to be thick competition, and a lot of disorganization. Don’t waste people’s time. Address your cover letter by first name. Starting your cover letter, right away state the position you’re applying for.

You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention—so give them a good reason to keep on reading, like listing one of the key requirements of the job and supplying a metric that proves your aptitude in this branch. Think achievements, awards, numbers.

Start with this: 

Recent Graduate Cover Letter: Introduction

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

When I saw that you are recruiting a [Target Position Name] at [Target Organization Name], right away I knew there was no time to be wasted. Having graduated from [Your College] with a [X] GPA in [Major Name], I would be a solid candidate—but also having [relevant experience] that allows me to do things like [significant achievement] makes me the perfect candidate. 

Expert Hint: Don’t write generic cover letters. It’s the fastest way to show you don’t really care.

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4. Tell Them Why They Should Choose You

Many recent graduate cover letters will be overflowing with unnecessary information, ego, megalomania, promising to change the world, unrealistic ambition, and lack of direction. Not yours.

Provide a quantified figure, estimate, or projection for every point you have regarding your suitability to the role. Make it easy for them, don’t hide behind big words and empty statements. Demonstrate your impact—and preferably, communicate it in the language of money. 

Like this: 

Recent Graduate Cover Letter Sample: Second Paragraph

Your [Target Position Name] position calls for a candidate with a degree in [refer to the requirements of the job]. I not only fulfilled that requirement, but for the duration of my study maintained a [X] GPA, and excelled in [your best coursework]. In my job as [Previous Position that has relevant experience] I gained transferable experience in [relevant experience]. I can easily translate those skills to help me better perform my duties as a [Target Position Name].

5. Tell Them Why You Chose Them

Sure, there are tens of thousands of jobs for graduates. You have to play the numbers game to get a chance. Unfortunately, you also have to make the hiring manager feel like this is the only one you want. 

Fortunately, this is easy. Spend 5 minutes and research the company thoroughly and find out exactly what, and how they do it. See if you can’t find an old alumnus of your college to ask about their company goals and values.

Fill in the [blanks]:

Recent Graduate Cover Letter Sample: Third Paragraph

Joining [Target Organization Name] would be not only a perfect opportunity for me to grow by benefiting from your know-how and [what they do], but also an instant and seamless culture-fit that would benefit everyone as [something you found out about their values] is something that is important to me personally. 

6. Ask For an Interview And Close the Deal

Be decisive. A lot of recent graduate cover letter show inexperience by using such turn-off phrases as:

  • “I look forward to hearing from you.”
  • “Thank you for your time.”
  • “I look forward to working with you.”

Strike the right balance between decisive and humble. Sign off your cover letter professionally, but just before you do, ask for a call or a meeting, and explain exactly what’s in it for them.

Like this:

Recent Graduate Cover Letter Sample: Sign Off & Call to Action

When would be a good time to have a call or a meeting to discuss how my [your best, most relevant skill/experience/their most important requirement] experience can help [Target Organization Name] achieve [something important to this employer]?

Best Regards,

[Digital Copy of Your Handwritten Signature]

[Your Full Name]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]

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Key Points

As you write a cover letter for recent graduate positions, remember to:

  • Copy your resume header to your recent graduate cover letter, and check the info of the hiring manager.
  • State what position you’re applying to, and introduce yourself with a relevant achievement in the first paragraph.
  • Demonstrate your suitability by running through the responsibilities of the job backed up with your achievements and metrics in the second paragraph. 
  • Show your research skills by finding out something about the company that’s not necessarily on the website, and wow them with your enthusiasm and drive in the last paragraph. 
  • Request an interview and sign formally. 

Do you have any more questions about writing a cover letter for recent graduate jobs? Did you find our recent graduate cover letter examples helpful? Leave us a comment, I’ll be more than happy to hear from you!

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Dave Rygielski
Written byDave Rygielski

Dave is a career expert delivering a wide range of well-researched advice regarding the job hunting and application process. At ResumeLab, his data-driven resume and cover letter guides help readers capitalize on their potential.

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