Workshop Wednesday – April 5, 2012

Each Wednesday I randomly select a cover letter sent in by sports job seekers and critique the letter. If you want to know more about how it works or how to send in your cover letter, see this post.

I have left comments open, but I will only approve comments with respectful questions or comments.

Please note, names and companies have been changed to protect anonymity. This person is applying for a position in marketing/promotions in intercollegiate athletics.

Dear Sir or Madam:

Only use “Dear Sir or Madam” if there’s no reasonable way of finding out who you should address it to.

As a developing professional in athletics administration, I am looking to utilize my passion for the fan experience to enhance the athletic marketing efforts of the [school name]. As such, please consider me for the Assistant Director position currently available. My experience working in athletic marketing, extensive planning skills, B.A. in Public Relations from the [school name] and current graduate work in Communication make me an ideal candidate.

My first impression when I read the word “developing” is that you have little experience. I know you’re looking for an entry-level job, but this made me stop in my tracks. I would probably start with something far shorter and combine the first two sentences into this: “Attached please find my resume in application for the Assistant Director [of what – Marketing? – put the full title] position you have advertised.” You can get into your passion (although as I’ve said before, be careful about that one!) later. The last sentence in this paragraph is great.

Currently, I am a full-time intern in the Athletic Marketing, Promotions and Trademark Licensing department at the [school name]. My responsibilities include planning and executing marketing plans for volleyball and women’s basketball in addition to assisting with football, men’s basketball, gymnastics and other Olympic sports. I take great pride in seeing a promotion through to fruition. From Girl Scout Day at a women’s basketball game (where 150 girl scouts earned their sports and fitness fun badge) to 11 for $11K in which eleven fans were given the opportunity to win $11,000 at a volleyball game on 11/11/11, I have had the privilege of planning and implementing some great promotions.

I like the previous paragraph. You gave concrete examples of what you’ve been doing – that’s great.

Additionally, I am responsible for multiple advertising efforts and provide oversight for several key programs. I write, schedule and place weekly radio ads on seven local and regional radio stations. I design billboards for upcoming games for multiple sports. I create, through both words and graphics, a weekly e-mail newsletter that goes out to over 170,000 [school] fans. I also supervise a staff of unpaid student interns who work in the office and at athletic events. I coordinate group sales for all ticketed sports and book birthdays through the Birthdays with the [school] program.

Again, great concrete examples of things you’ve done that give you experience directly related to the position for which you’re applying.

Previously, I served as the graduate assistant for the Athletic Compliance department at the [school name]. I respect the importance of knowing NCAA rules when employed in an intercollegiate athletics department. Additionally, I have worked in an office environment continuously for the past six years and understand the variety of tasks necessary for operations to run smoothly. I am familiar with all aspects of planning from budgeting to logistics to evaluation. I possess in-depth knowledge of both Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite programs. Furthermore, I thrive in the non-traditional environment that the field of athletics demands, working long hours and attending to every detail from creating promotions to coordinating advertising to seeing to other duties as necessary.

While I think this paragraph includes some good information, your letter is getting a little lengthy. The last two paragraphs had the meatier info that is more pertinent to the position and more likely to set you apart from others. I advise cover letters to stay under one page (without having to use a tiny font or decreased margins), so if you need to cut, this is a paragraph where you could condense a little. I like the info about previous athletic department experience, but the last two sentences could go if you need space.

While I currently reside in [state], I am extremely interested in relocating to [state] and willing to do so at my own expense. Attached for your review is my resume in which you will find further experience and qualifications. What it cannot illustrate, however, is the level of enthusiasm, dedication, and professionalism that I can offer [school name]. A personal conversation would enable me to greater express these ideas. Please reach me at [phone number] or [email address] at a time convenient for you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

This paragraph is another where you can start cutting down. I wouldn’t ever volunteer to pay your own moving expenses. If it’s customary, they’ll just expect it, and if it’s not you may get a paid move. I’d leave that out.

I’d also cut this paragraph way down. Your contact info should be in a header or footer, so no need to restate it here. If you’re going to be in the state anytime soon, I think that’s worth noting in case they’d like to meet you. Otherwise, I’d keep it simple.

Here’s how I’d rewrite the final paragraph:

“While I currently reside in [state], I’m very interested in relocating to [state]. If you wish to discuss my qualifications any further, I’d welcome the chance to speak with you. Thank you for your time and consideration”

Since I would have mentioned the attached resume in the first paragraph, I wouldn’t mention it again here.

Sincerely,
Name

This is a pretty good cover letter. It’s a little lengthy, but it could easily be cut down with the edits in the first and last paragraphs. She does a great job highlighting things she’d done in her current position that will translate to the position for which she’s applying.

You can find more cover letter advice under the tag Application Advice.

Letter republished with permission from author.

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