Expert Cover Letter Tips! Get That Job!
Get your foot in the door with a great cover letter. Learn how to increase your chances of getting an interview!
You've written an effective resume, and you're ready to send it to prospective employers. Your next step is to draft the right cover letter.
Submitting a resume to a future employer is like providing them with a snapshot of the "skeleton" or the "bones" of your information (work history, education, etc.). Your cover letter, which should always accompany your resume, will be there to "flesh out" your resume. It provides the recruiter with additional information as to why you are an excellent candidate for the specific position offered.
Cover letters must be limited to one page and should remain professional in nature. Always keep in mind that busy recruiters are often sifting through a myriad of job applications and resumes, and you need to set yourself apart! While writing, be mindful of the position for which you are applying. If you are seeking a more artistic position, the letter may be slightly more creative; however, remember to remain professional in your writing style.
At the top of the letter, you need to include the date when you wrote the letter and the contact information of the person to whom you are addressing. You also need to add a small section that tells the recruiter the subject of the letter. An example is below:
February 13, 2017
Mr. George Banks
Human Relations Manager
Tinseltown Recording Studios
555 Old Hollywood Blvd.
Dream City, CA 93442
Re: Sound Technician Position Opening
The next part of the letter should address the hiring manager by name, and will include your "hook." These details should be part of your opening paragraph, and it needs to catch the attention of the manager. You need to provide an effective introduction about you and your abilities and illustrate why you are a more qualified candidate than any other person applying for the position. Highlighting your work experience is a great way to introduce yourself. Describing your work experience alone will often say more to a recruiter than any other words that you may compose. You can remain personable, but be sure to stick to the facts. For example:
Dear Mr. Banks,
I am interested in applying for the Sound Technician position that is available at Tinseltown Recording Studios. With over ten years of Sound Technician experience at Sunset Sound Recorders, and an additional five years of experience at Gabby Road Studios, I believe I am a qualified applicant for this position.
The "hook" in this opening paragraph allows the recruiter to see that you have had 15 years of relevant work experience. It is an excellent way to start off a cover letter. Also, be sure to introduce yourself. Provide the recruiter with your educational background and any additional work experience.
I have a B.F.A. in Sound Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition to my 15 years of recording experience, I have also worked for seven years at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California, and am very familiar with the entertainment industry.
The following 2-3 paragraphs will continue to strengthen your resume. You need to include more information about yourself that may not be visible from only reviewing your resume. Perhaps, if you were using our "Sound Technician" example, you may list the VIP bands with which you have worked, or list any personal accomplishments that would be relevant to the position for which you are applying. For example:
While employed as the Sound Technician at Gabby Road Studios, I worked with bands such as the "John and Alison Rose Band" and "Ivy Davis." I am accustomed to working alongside prominent artists and take pride in the fact that several of the albums on which I have worked received Grammy nominations, and the album "Ripple Effects by Ivy Davis" was a Double-Platinum album in 2009.
Information like this is a supplement to the items on your resume and proves to the hiring manager that you are a qualified applicant who is familiar with the industry.
After listing your work experiences and education, you should provide another paragraph that illustrates to the recruiter that you are familiar with their company and that you have done your research for the position. An example of this would be:
I recently read in "Sound Recording News" that Tinseltown Studios is implementing a 2-year expansion project to increase production by 25% by appealing to emerging bands in the Folk and Bluegrass genres. For five years at Gabby Road Studios, I worked exclusively with Bluegrass bands and am very comfortable with the various aspects of working within this genre. I would be a great fit for this position!
The closing paragraph should include a recap of why you are a good fit for the position and is an invitation to the recruiter to "act upon" the information that you have provided. It would also include a request from you for a follow-up interview. For example:
Given my educational background and related work experience, I believe I am a qualified candidate for this position. I aim to be a part of helping to expand the production levels of Tinseltown Studios, and I will only produce an exceptional product. I would be very interested in scheduling an interview to discuss this further. You may contact me by email or telephone provided on my resume. I look forward to hearing from you.
A few rules to keep in mind while writing is to be sure to stick with a 12-point font and use a professional font style, such as Times New Roman. Keep your paragraphs left-aligned, and double check your writing to ensure proper spelling.
By following this format, you will provide your future employer with an illustrative, yet succinct overview of your job experience and professional background to land that job interview. Now it's time to get to work writing - Good luck!