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The aggressive cover letter

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pops, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. Pops

    Pops Member

    I get sick of reading cover letters. Beyond sick, really. And this is nothing against "the youth today" but the premise in general.

    Ninety percent read like they've been written by the Word paper clip (are you writing a cover letter? talk about teamwork and commitment), and I find myself picking them apart for grammar errors far more than analyzing their substance. From young ladies talking about how they want to use the job as a springboard to a PR career to guys who need 500 words to explain that they love sports (really? do you, champ?), I always seem to end up shaking my head a lot.

    Here's my question (mostly for editors, but anyone can chime in): Given the same clips, would you rather get the hyperaggressive cover letter from the guy telling you he is the shit for this beat or the more conservative letter with its share of cliches? Originality tends to be a plus with me, but I feel like, if this is the average application, there must be a lot of people out there who strongly prefer to let the clips do all the talking.
  2. beanpole

    beanpole Member


    I want a cover letter that (briefly) spells out what you bring to the table. But if have cliches in your cover letter, I'll assume you'll do the same in stories and will toss your stuff.
  3. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I give big-time points for originality and a logical thought process. Conversely, corporate buzz words spell doom for the applicant.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I like cover letters that impart impact and demonstrate forward-thinking customer-oriented mentality from a youngster with upward potential.

    A crisp sawbuck paper-clipped to it is nice, too.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Cover letters that get in my face are quickly removed from the area.
  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm really starting to think the shorter, the better. Less room for error, less to wade through. Let the resume and interview process take care of the details.
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I went through a period in my 20s when my cover letter consisted of, "I am interested in your desk opening. Please send me some sections to critique." Maybe it's easier for desk people anyway, but it worked.

    For management openings, I try to summarize what I think their paper's strengths/weaknesses are and how I could help. A couple times I went more than a page and landed an interview.
  8. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    I don't want a lot of bullshit to wade through. just tell me why you think you're qualified. And never, ever write a cover letter as if it's an AP story announcing that I've hired you (actually had one like that last go-round).
    I'm not going to hire you based on your cover letter.
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Am writing cover letters for the first time in my life the past 18 months. Since hiring a columnist is such a matter of personal taste, those letters are very brief introductions to my resume and clips.
    Have applied to some editor's positions where I basicallty say if you're looking for an unconvential hire, boy am I your guy.
    My basic opinion, and I've never hired anybody, so I could be way off base, is if my work product can't sell me, no amount of bragging or clever sales pitch will.
  10. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I live to get one of those.
  11. Rambler

    Rambler Member

    I loathe cover letters trumpeting "This isn't an ordinary cover letter because I'm not an ordinary candidate."

    Keep it short and to the point. If you have skills we'll find out soon enough.
  12. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Make the cover letter specific to the job and to the area. Resumes tell what you've done; use a few paragraphs in your cover letter to say what you would do at this new place. And make no mistakes.
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