Cover letter template for when you have no work experience

Banner feature

When you are looking for work, your cover letter is an important tool - it’s how you introduce yourself to an employer.

Not all jobs need you to have lots of experience. In fact, many employers hire people for their attitude and interest in learning and growing in the job.

If you don’t have paid work experience, don’t worry. Everyone, regardless of experience, has transferable skills that can be valuable for an employer.

The purpose of this cover letter is to introduce yourself and create a link between your interests, values or goals and the job. Use this template when you have limited/no paid work experience.

What to include

Your contact information

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Date of letter

Opening greeting directed at the reader

Include a person’s name if possible i.e. 'Dear John'.

If this isn’t possible, you can address to letter to ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ or ‘To whom it may concern’.

Reference line

Before the body of the letter, include a reference line which names the job

Re: Application for <insert job role>

Body of the letter – what to include if you don’t have paid work experience

To write a cover letter that ‘sells’ you, provide information about:

  • Unpaid work experience, internships or volunteering
  • Any sporting or community club participation
  • Hobbies or interests that demonstrate your experience
  • Personal attributes and strengths that are essential in the workplace, such as
    • Verbal and/or written communication
    • Customer/client service
    • Team work
    • Problem solving
    • Time management
    • Organisation
    • Use of technology or specific systems
    • Ability to learn on the job and/or self teach new things.

The purpose of this type of cover letter is to demonstrate how you can make a positive contribution to the workplace through your personal attributes and strengths.


Make sure you use a formal closing such as ‘Yours sincerely’ or ‘Best regards’.

If you’re sending the letter via mail, include a handwritten signature.


Ready to find your next job?

We have assisted thousands of kiwis to gain new skills and secure work. You might be recently out of work, needing confidence building and interview practice, have a health or disability challenge, or maybe you are switching fields and need support accessing funding for licenses or short courses.

We will work with you on a personalised plan to help you prepare for, find and maintain work.

Diversity Works NZ Member Logo
NGA POU MANA Tangata Whenua Allied Health Logo