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Cover letter evaluation

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Devin, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Devin

    Devin Member

    I have been using this cover letter for some time now. I think it might be fine, but I was hoping someone who has been in the business awhile could evaluate it for me.

    I have been an active member at various newspapers for several years including most recently at the Lake County News-Sun in Waukegan, Ill.

    In that time, I covered an array of news items from hard news to community features.

    Although my primary role has been in hard news, I also have a flair for being versatile, as you will see in my enclosed resume. My freelance work taking on both news and sports assignments have also been invaluable in my development as a writer. I am a very dedicated journalist who is eager to contribute at a high level right away.

    If you are looking for a young and enthusiastic journalist, who will be an asset to your publication, I am that individual.

    I am seeking a position with a media company, like yours, whereby I may continue to grow my career.

    I have completed a stint with the News-Sun where I covered general assignments such as murder trials, crime waves to county parades and local government meetings. I also held beats covering courts, health and crime during my three years at the newspaper. I believe those experiences have made me a well-rounded reporter and story teller.

    With a combination of my writing experiences, my drive and love for people to read my work, and my willingness to learn what your company has to offer, I feel I will be an asset to your staff.

    Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
  2. BobSacamano

    BobSacamano Member

    Cover letters should be tailored to suit the job -- this way hiring managers don't feel like they're getting the copy/paste treatment. You should nix a graph and leave room to incorporate your understanding of the publication. It'll show off your research skills and commitment to representing them.

    It's too uniform, in my opinion. And a little all over the place. It's contradictory to discuss your abilities as a story teller with an awkward flow.

    The graph for your freelance work is vague and could be worded better, too. "I also have a flair for being versatile" could be chopped to "versatility is one of my chief strengths." Go for more powerful wording. You have to check that syntax, too.

    And a personal gripe I have, because I find it distracting, is starting too many graphs with 'I'.
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I have a simple rule for these letters: Start with why they need you, not your resume or why you need them. I'd open with "I'm an experienced, well-rounded storyteller whose youth and enthusiasm would be an asset to your newsroom." Or something like that.
  4. BobSacamano

    BobSacamano Member

    And Rick shuts it down! Perfect advice.
  5. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Yep and consider having more than one in the bag. I have a variety of cover letters I use, and still , I may create a new one depending on the job.
  6. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Toally concur with "I."

    It's not about you. Potential employers don't care about you; their job is to find the person who can best help them.

    A friend asked me to give a cover letter a quick read. I merely glanced at it -- all I noticed what that every single graph began with "I."

    I would put the "personalization" graph higher up, and would add if you know anyone at the company, name-drop it in the first graph.

    Are you sending this out in response to specific jobs?
  7. Devin

    Devin Member

    Well, I pretty much sent it out to every job. I did modify it for the last job I applied for to make it more specific to that particular position. I knew something just wasn't right about it, but I just could not figure out what it was. Thanks for the tips. Seems like there is some work to do here.
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Like Bob said, you should never just cut and paste a cover letter. Keep one on file and work off that one, but tweak it each time.
  9. ringer

    ringer Member

    My two cents:

    It's far too general. What does this mean: "an active member at various newspapers?" Are you an editor, writer, ad sales or what?

    What's this? "an array of news items?" An ARRAY?

    "A flair for being versatile?" I've never heard anyone phrase it his way. Either you're versatile or you're not.

    "My freelance work taking on both news and sports assignments have [sic] also been invaluable in my development as a writer." What? Why? What has it taught you?

    You have to be much more specific about yourself...and when you pad your letter with throw-away words, you're not really advertising your best writing -- you're showing them that you need editing.

    Also, you might want to cut this from your list of attributes: "a love for people to read my work."

    And instead of highlighting this "my willingness to learn what your company has to offer," I suggest you do your homework and figure out what they're looking for before you apply.

    Hopefully, you'll find this constructive. Nothing personal. Good luck!
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You also should tailor your resume for the job.

    Particularly with a short SKILL SET that would come before experience and education.

    If you apply for a writing job, highlight that in your skill set. Editing, highlight that.

    Or if it's a prep writing job, highlight your experience there, etc., etc.
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