Workshop Wednesday – June 6, 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 Communications Manager position with a media company.

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m not a big fan of this greeting. I would use “Dear Sir or Madam” if you’re unable to obtain a specific person’s name to use. Not a deal-breaker though.

I am interested in the Communications Manager position with [company] as posted on the [company site]. I have experience in public relations, community outreach and customer service which I hope to apply to this position. Given my related experience and excellent capabilities, I would appreciate your consideration for this job opening as my skills are an ideal match for this position:

This last sentence isn’t working for me. I would have combined it with the previous sentence to say something like: My experience in public relations, community outreach and customer service make me an ideal candidate for this position.

The other problem with the last sentence is that I don’t think it leads into the next section well. However, since I have a problem with the entire next section (as you’ll see below), I don’t have any real suggestion for a lead-in here.

Position Requirements:

  • Managed communication between listing companies, newspapers and network to ensure correct scheduling and program information is presented.
  • Maintained daily and weekly internal communications of network information, including ratings and programming.
  • Responsible for responding and filtering through viewer feedback and comments on twitter, email and the phone.
  • Developed programs and campaigns to improve relationships with local organizations, including a Holiday Cover Art Contest which involved local high schools vying to be the cover art represented on the [company] holiday card.
  • Managed Twitter, Facebook and other digital platforms to push network content, events and interact with viewers.
  • Oversaw several talent appearances, managing various community events and coordinating network involvement.
  • Experience in variety of social media platforms and tools to monitor trending topics, issues and comments relating to the network, talent and programming.
  • Created and packages media kits on behalf of the [company] and [company].

Qualifications:

  • Strong written and verbal skills contributing to [company] publications and the website, in addition to being a sports reporter and the football beat writer during college.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with extensive experience in reporting, a degree in communication and minor in speech.
  • Experience in a deadline-driven environment while working at [company], a fast-paced student-run newspaper for the [university] and at the [company].
  • Extensive experience in the sports communications field, spending nearly a year with the[company] Media Relations department and more than two years at [company].

I have a problem with the bulk of your letter being bullet points. It’s acceptable to use bullet points to highlight a few things in your letter so they jump out at the reader, but if the whole letter is bullet points it doesn’t accomplish that. I’m also not sure what the difference is between the two categories here. Perhaps your bullet points under “Position Requirements” match what the employer had listed as position requirements, but I don’t know that without having read the listing.

A section called “Position Requirements” is something I expect to see in a job posting – not a cover letter.

My main problem with the letter is that everything is too general. Every bullet under the first set is something I expect to see listed under a job on your resume. Every bullet under the second set is a bullet I expect to see if you have a Qualification section on your resume. I bet a lot of this is pulled from your resume, which means you’re not giving me anything new.

You’re missing the opportunity to expand upon some of your experiences. Your resume should have generalities like this, but your cover letter is where you have room to show (not tell – which is what most bullet points do) a couple of skills/experiences that make you a unique candidate or illustrate you really do have the experience they’re looking for.

Your cover letter should allow the reader to get a glimpse of your personality – something a resume doesn’t really accomplish. However, yours doesn’t do this. It feels very sterile and generic. It feels like a resume.

Here are good examples of showing and not telling in a cover letter.

I appreciate you taking the time to review my qualifications and experience and am excited to be a potential candidate for this position. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regard,
Name

This is a fine way to end the letter.

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

Letter republished with permission from author.

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