As an aspiring fiction writer (in my abundant free time), I follow the blogs of several literary agents. Since my own agent (Laura Bradford) doesn’t have a blog, I don’t mind telling you the BookEnds blog is one of my favorites.
Hopefully the ladies over at BookEnds will take my “borrowing” their Workshop Wednesday concept as the sincerest form of flattery, because I think it’s a great service they provide for aspiring authors. Each Wednesday they critique a query (which is the letter you send to agents to pitch your book) sent in by an aspiring author.
After reviewing intern applications the last couple of weeks and receiving many emails on the subject, I realized many of you are not comfortable writing cover letters. Half of the applications I received provided no cover letter. While optional, I explained why a cover letter gave many applicants a leg up over the competition. Of the half that sent a cover letter, about half of those were poorly written in the sense that they focused on the wrong things.
I do not profess to be an expert in this area, and I have limited experience hiring, but I have talked to many professionals in sports and they see the same issues in their applicants’ cover letters as I saw in the cover letters submitted to me.
So, this is all a long-winded way of telling you that I am now going to offer some cover letter critiquing.
Here’s how it will work:
- If you’re interested, you’ll submit your cover letter to me here.
- I’ll randomly select one cover letter per week to critique.
- I’ll post the letter and the critique on the blog for everyone to see, but I will remove your name and the name of your school, previous jobs, etc. I’ll remove all information I think might identify you to keep it as anonymous as possible.
- I’ll do this every Wednesday until I run out of cover letters.
By sending me your letter, you’re consenting to me publishing it on the site (with your name and company names omitted).
Any questions, just ask below in the comments. We’ll start next Wednesday!
*I should add: I don’t believe you should have one form cover letter you’re using for every job you apply to – I think it should be tailored based on the skills required for that particular job. So, when you send your cover letter please tell me the type of job you would apply to with that particular letter.
George BowserMarch 24, 2012
This is great information for job seekers to hear. Many of my clients are uncomfortable writing these documents as well.
One of the most common mistakes I notice is the “excessive” use of the word “I.”