The Cover Letter
Your key to an interview. Or a door in the face.
Choose your words wisely.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking for a career (and may have recently graduated college). Good for you! As you likely know, a strong cover letter should always accompany your resume.
Yes, we live in a highly digital age, but you’re still applying for a job in a creative field. And, people want to know how you write and think.
This one-pager is your big chance to shine. To impress and wake up your tired, resume-reading weary reader! To show off your amazing writing chops. To explain why YOU deserve an interview, and hopefully the job.
Or, those three to six paragraphs can end your chances before your prospective employer even looks at your resume, much less calls you for an interview.
Honestly, in the last 20+ years of looking at hundreds of cover letters and resumes, I’ve tossed several great resumes (and the idea of interviewing the candidates who wrote them) when they were accompanied by bad cover letters. So, put the necessary thought into your letters. These two things are a package deal.
We’re here to help you. The fact that you’re reading this means you care and want to write a great cover letter. Well, please put on a layer of thick skin (just in case you’re guilty of some of the cover-letter-writing sins we reveal below).
And, of course, you need strong, related experience to show off in your cover letter in the first place. No amount of beautifully crafted sentences will make up for not having good, relevant experience (internships, jobs, etc.) in the field. If you’re still in college, get these under your belt asap – ideally, two or more.
In the following five sections, you’ll find:
- Cover letter writing tips;
- Eight common mistakes to avoid;
- Trashcan cover letter examples. (You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll learn);
- Examples of excellent cover letters and why; and
- A list of useful writing resources.
Examples of Excellent Cover Letters & Why These Stand Out
Trashcan Cover Letter Examples
Useful Writing Resources
Nine Avoidable Mistakes
Is that you? If you possess all of these must-have qualifications, you’re a serious contender for an intern position. If not, keep working at it!
- Past, related internship(s) with a PR or marketing firm and/or as a writer;
- Graduate of a four-year program with at least a 3.3 GPA;
- An uncanny passion for learning, growing, helping others and working hard;
- A good understanding of public relations, social media and news media;
- At least two or more strong references; and
- A great, concise-yet-very-descriptive cover letter.
Any project team member must meet the following criteria:
- 10+ years of full-time experience (some agency is ideal);
- Excellent track record, references and work samples;
- Outstanding written and verbal communicator;
- Strong social media skills and experience; and
- Strategic thinker, strong tactician.
Please spell out your strengths regarding: specific marketing and PR disciplines, and specific industries.
How to Apply
Entry level / interns: Send us your resume and a detailed cover letter showing off your amazing writing ability (and qualifications). Please take a look at “Trash-Can Cover Letters.” Tell us what you have to offer, especially in the following areas:
- Social media
- Critical thinking
Project-based pros: you probably know how to hit it out of the park.