Workshop Wednesday – January 29, 2013

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 Workshop Wednesday 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 social media internship with a sports merchandise company.


Title Social Media Internship
Organization Name

Dear Coach [Jones]

So a few things right off the bat. First, I’m not sure what the portion between the date and the salutation is all about. If you want to reference what you’re applying for, it should look like this:

Re: [Organization Name] Social Media Internship

Second, be sure you either put a comma or colon after the salutation.

I am interested in the Sports Media internship  advertised on Sports Networker. My resume is enclosed for your review. Given my related experience and excellent capabilities I would appreciate your consideration for this job opening. My skills are an ideal match for this position.

Instead of a generic opening like this, try personalizing it a little. Say, “Given my related experience in [X]…” or “My skills in [X] and [Y] are an ideal match…” in order to grab their interest from the beginning.

My Qualifications:

I do not like headings in cover letters. Others might disagree, but I don’t think they belong in cover letters. Save them for your resume.

I am currently studying sports management at University of Phoenix and already possess a sports coaching certificate from University of Miami. I am looking to leverage my practical business experience of top level customer service as well as my interpersonal communication skill set in the sports industry.

How do I know you have practical business experience – and what does that even mean? What is top-level customer service? (And top-level should be hyphenated here.) Were you greeting customers at the front desk of a hotel? Answering phones in a customer service center? I have no idea. What is entailed in an “interpersonal communication skill set”? I say this all the time – do not throw around adjectives in your cover letter. Show don’t tell.

Along with my drive to get further involved in the business of sports. I bring a track record of volunteering at both [youth sports organization] s as a youth coach as well as an official at local youth leagues.

The first sentence in the last paragraph is a fragment. You should have a comma there instead of a period, or you’ll need to reword.

What did you do as a volunteer? I should be able to see on your resume that you held these positions. Use this space to pick out a skill or experience from volunteering that applies to the job for which you’re applying.

I am currently a sports writer intern for [Company Name] my duties is to write one article per week of current events in sports. I also aquire an internship for [Company Name] as a sports writer. A blog for the fans with current events in the sports industry. I write one article per week.

A couple of issues here. First, the first sentence needs to be reworded. Maybe: “I am currently a sports writer intern for [Company Name], where my duties include writing one article a week on current events in sports.”

Second, “aquire” isn’t a word. The third sentence really should have been set off within commas as a nonessential clause in the second sentence to describe that company.

I appreciate your taking the time to review my credentials and experience. Again, thank you for your consideration.

Jane Doe

First and foremost, my advice is to use the spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word, and also have at least one friend read over your letter. I opened this in Word and it caught almost all the grammar problems and did catch the one spelling problem.

Second, It’s tough for people to see on here with my comments, but when I opened your letter I immediately discounted you because of the formatting. It didn’t really following the proper formatting for a professional letter. If I were reviewing hundreds of these letters for a position, I might not have even bothered to read your letter. If I had read your letter, I wouldn’t have hired you based on the spelling and grammar issues. Even if you have the best background in the world, those will get you cut from the pile quickly, especially for a social media internship where you will presumably be creating written content.

The other thing that stands out to me is that you’re applying for a social media internship and haven’t mentioned one thing about social media. Are you even on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc? Do you have any experience relevant to social media? Even if it’s as simple as using your own Twitter feed to promote the writing you’re doing for the sites you mentioned, mention it. Otherwise, this looks like a generic cover letter you send to everyone.


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