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Recent Graduate Cover Letter: Samples, Proper Format & Writing Guide

Recent Graduate Cover Letter: Samples, Proper Format & Writing Guide

You’ve just graduated. Time to find your first full-blown job. But how will you outperform all other candidates? Write a perfect cover letter for a recent grad. Here’s how.

As seen in:

In 5 minutes, you’ll know how to write the best recent graduate cover letter out there.


But shall we play a round of Cards Against Humanity first?


Research shows new grads find it difficult to land their first jobs due to ______.


  1. Increased competition.
  2. Lack of sufficient networking possibilities.
  3. Crippling debt.
  4. A jar full of human teeth and mayonnaise.
  5. Career service departments not connecting with students.


Yeah, that would be a tough pick.


Seriously, though, looking for jobs as a recent grad is daunting. But for you, it doesn’t have to be.


Let me hand you your weapon X: a perfect cover letter for a recent graduate.


This guide will show you samples of recent graduate cover letters, plus the best tips on how to write a new grad cover letter that stands out like a lighthouse in a sea of boring.


Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.


recent graduate resume and cover letter set

Sample fresh graduate cover letter and a matching resume made with our builder: See 20+ templates and create your cover letter here.




Still haven’t written your recent grad resume? Learn all you need to know from this guide: Sample Resumes for Recent Graduates.


Haven't graduated yet? Exploring other options? Have a look at our guides that can help:



Or simply browse our list of 100+ sample cover letters for any job: Sample Cover Letters.


Let’s get rolling.


Recent Graduate Cover Letter Sample


Sally Kinsley

PR and Marketing Associate

59 Northfield Street

Anytown, NJ 06022



Anytown, 1/30/2019


Ms. Brittany Wolfe

Marketing Team Lead

XYZ Inc.

3035 Ogilvy Drive

New York City, NY 10423


Dear Ms. Wolfe:


I am writing to apply for the position of Associate Digital Marketing Specialist, Publishing and Media, with XYZ. While pursuing my B.A. in Journalism and Media Marketing at the City University of New York, I held three two-month digital marketing internships with local publishing houses and worked as an Editor-in-chief of my department’s blog. As a digital marketing intern with Verso Books, I co-created a national social media campaign shortlisted for the AdAge’s Northeast Small Agency Award 2019


In the job listing, you say you are looking for someone with a good grasp of the independent publishing market and a passion for creative digital marketing. I am a life-long follower of XYZ’s branding activities and I have a strong understanding of the needs of your key clients. With three years of academic and professional experience in digital marketing, I am sure I can translate my skills and expertise into outstanding business results for XYZ.


I have always admired your uncompromising dedication to bringing the best digital marketing solutions tailor-made to fit every client’s unique needs, as well as your groundbreaking focus on promoting independent radical publishing. Joining your team would perfectly align with my career goals, while giving me the opportunity to work hard on what matters most to me professionally.


I would value the opportunity to meet with you in person, discuss your digital marketing objectives, and show you how my skills can contribute to XYZ’s achieving its goals.




Sally Kinsley



I’ll tell you one thing, Sally is going places! Let me show you how to write an equally good college graduate cover letter yourself.


Recent Graduate Cover Letter Template


Here’s how to write a cover letter when you’ve recently graduated:


1. Use the proper college grad cover letter format


  • Margins: one inch on all four sides.
  • Spacing: single or 1.15. Double-spaces after the salutation, between paragraphs, and before the formal closing. Three blank lines between the “Sincerely” synonym and your sign-off.
  • Font: one of the classics such as Helvetica, Tahoma, Calibri, Georgia, Verdana, but not Times New Roman. 11pt to 12pt size.


Read more: Cover Letter Formatting


2. Create a good recent grad cover letter header


  • Create a cover letter heading with your name and contact information identical to the one on your resume.
  • Include your basic contact details: phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile. Your home address is optional, put it there only if applying for stiff corporate jobs.
  • Put city and date below your contact info.
  • Finally, include the address of the recipient. It’s best to address the cover letter directly to the hiring manager of your target department.


Not sure how to find the right person to send a graduate cover letter to? Learn all you need to know here: Address on a Cover Letter: How to Find It & How to Include It


3. Begin with a personal greeting and a strong first paragraph


  • Open with “Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name]:”—unless your target company is a relaxed startup, go with the last name.
  • Introduce yourself and identify the position for which you’re applying.
  • Make the reader hooked: mention an achievement relevant to the job.


Don’t have any glowing accomplishments? At least say what degree you’ve completed.


Read more: Start a Cover Letter so the Hiring Manager Wants More


4. Show that you’re *the* perfect candidate


  • Refer to the job listing and show how your skills and knowledge can help them achieve their business goals.
  • Mention a few additional wins you’re proud of or highlight relevant coursework you’ve completed or your favorite fields of study.
  • Make sure to convey your passion for the job. Show you’ll be willing to work hard and smart.


Not sure what skills you should highlight? Consider this—


A recent survey of US employers revealed that only 40% of employers think recent grads display professionalism and work ethic. Only 17% consider new graduates proficient in career management.


If your college grad cover letter shows that you’ve got a sense of purpose in pursuing this particular career and that you know what good work ethic means, you’re already in pole position.


Also, make sure your cover letter follows the fundamental business letter writing rules: What Should a Professional Cover Letter Look Like in 2019?


5. Explain why you want in


  • It’s more than welcome to drop a compliment in your new college grad cover letter.
  • This way, they’ll know you actually want to join them and aren’t desperate for any job.
  • Plus, you’ll come across as someone worth investing in—they’ll believe you’re likely to stay with the company for longer.


Pressed for time? Can’t think of any specific reasons to join the company? At least don’t make your cover letter overly generic. Learn what it means: Quick, General Cover Letters That Aren’t Generic: Templates


But don’t even entertain the idea of skipping the cover letter altogether. According to this study, 45% of employers think not including a cover letter in your job application is a total deal-breaker.

6. Make an offer and include a call to action


  • Say you’d love to meet in person to discuss how you can help.
  • Reiterate what’s in it for them: say that your main goal is to help them achieve theirs.


Read more: How to End a Cover Letter to Seal the Deal


7. Close your recent graduate cover letter with a professional sign-off


  • Write your full name.
  • Follow it with a digital copy of your handwritten signature.
  • Include phone number and email in the footer.


Think all’s done?




Once you write your new graduate cover letter, check, double-check, and triple-check. Look for typos, grammar errors and unclear sentences. If you can, have a friend or a college mentor proofread your graduate cover letter for you.


Finally, remember to follow up on your job application. Here’s how: How to Write a Follow-Up Email on a Resume and Cover Letter


Now, for the last word—


As you’ve learned, a great recent grad cover letter can truly be a game-changer, but to have a shot at that dream job, you still need to write a perfect resume.


When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.


Thanks for reading! If you need any help with creating your recent graduate cover letter, drop me a line in the comments. I’d love to help.

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Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Michael, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) is a career writer and the newsletter coordinator at Zety. Apart from sharing his own resume-writing expertise, Michael reaches out to recruitment and hiring gurus to help you learn the most effective strategies for managing your career.

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