Workshop Wednesday – October 10, 2012

Each Wednesday I randomly select a cover letter sent in by sports job seekers and critique the letter. (Sorry this one is Thursday – I had a procedure on my hand yesterday and couldn’t type, unfortunately.) 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.

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.

Problem number one is there was no salutation in this letter. There was a header and date, but no salutation. At the very least, you need “Dear Sir or Madam”, but going the extra mile to find out who to address it to specifically is even better (although not always possible).

I don’t like “long sought after career” as it sounds like you’ve already been turned down a hundred times. While that may be true, you don’t want to imply it. We know you’ve always wanted to work in sports – so have 99 percent of the applicants.

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.
  • 4 years financial analysis, procedure writing and processing experience with The Bank of New York Mellon and Bank of America.
  • Time efficient with strong analytical thinking skills developed though project management and team leading experience.

Here we see some of the most common problems I see with cover letters. The first two bullet points are on your resume, I’m sure. Don’t waste time here repeating them. The third is far too vague. Anyone can say this. Show me, don’t tell me. I say this almost every week. Check out this post for some examples from real cover letters of how to show and not tell.

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.

John Doe

After reading this I have absolutely zero idea of who you are or what you’ve done. It’s generic and vague. On top of not telling me anything about you, it feels like a cover letter you use for every job for which you apply. It comes off as lazy. You haven’t given me a single specific example of anything you’ve ever done that translates to this particular job. Honestly, you’re already in my trashcan if I’m the one hiring for this position.

I’m being blunt, because it’s better for you all to hear this from me than send off dozens of these and wonder why no one ever calls. Your cover letter can make or break you. Your resume does not give you the ability to show off your personality. It also doesn’t always connect the dots. You might detail experience there that I didn’t consider could be applicable to the job I’m hiring for – so use your cover letter to show me how it translates.


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