Workshop Wednesday – June 20, 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 an event coordinator position with a sports media company.

The first problem is there was no salutation on this letter. I’d use “Dear Sir or Madam” if you’re unable to determine an individual to directly address.

I am writing to express my interest to interview for the Events Coordinator position that is currently available with [company] and begin a long sought after career in the sports entertainment industry. My career experience and graduate level writing education will allow me to provide effective operational support while also conducting successful marketing and promotional efforts.

I don’t like “…and begin a long sought after career in the sports entertainment industry.” There’s no need to draw attention to the fact that you have no experience in the industry. It also sounds a tad desperate. I would just end the sentence after the company’s name.

Also, I think it should be “graduate-level” in the last sentence.

My proficient computer and team leading skills paired with my extensive writing education will allow me perform the wide range of job responsibilities successfully and in a timely manner. Additional highlights of my qualifications include:

  • Master Degree of Professional Writing from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I’m sure this is on your resume. Give me something new. What does this degree give you that other candidates don’t have? How does it apply directly to this position? If you can’t answer either of those questions, find something else to highlight.

  • 4 years financial analysis, procedure writing and processing experience with The Bank of New York Mellon and Bank of America.

How is this different from what you’ll tell me on your resume about this position? Don’t regurgitate information from your resume. Your cover letter is your opportunity to expand on the short descriptions on your resume. You haven’t taken advantage of that.

  • Time efficient with strong analytical thinking skills developed though project management and team leading experience.

The most important thing to remember: show, don’t tell. Don’t just throw buzz words around. Use your cover letter to SHOW how you’ve applied your skills to previous positions. Give me a brief example of something you accomplished through your project management and team leading experience. Did you develop a chart for your team that helped track goals? Did you lead a team that produced 25% more [insert work product] under your guidance? Prove to me you are time efficient and have strong analytical thinking skills. Anyone can say it.

This cover letter is beginning to suffer from the same malady as most of the others I see: it’s too generic and gives me nothing I can’t find on your resume.

My diverse career skills combined with my effective writing and communication skills will allow me to excel in the Event Coordinator position. Should you agree to meet after viewing my enclosed resume, I would be pleased to further discuss my ability to meet the positions requirements, as well as share professional writing samples and references.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


If I were hiring for this position, my overall impression after reading through this would be that it’s incredibly generic. I don’t think I learned anything I wouldn’t learn on your resume, and I have no concept of your personality.

Don’t underestimate how much personality plays a role in hiring decisions. People want to work with someone they like. When I was hiring interns, there were definitely cover letters that made me think I would enjoy working with that person. I’ll try and do a post on how to show personality in your cover letter soon.

The best advice I can give you, however, is to use your cover letter to SHOW and not tell. Check out this post with examples of how to do this. Also, see last week’s Workshop Wednesday for a cover letter that did a great job with this.

If you want an inside peek at how hiring decisions are made, check out this post I wrote after hiring my summer interns.

I also encourage all of you to read through all the Workshop Wednesday critiques. Pretend you’re hiring someone. Which letters stand out to you, and why? Sometimes the easiest way to see flaws in your own cover letter is to see what your competition is doing.

Letter republished with permission from author.


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