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Write A Killer Cover Letter

Keep It Short, Make It Sing and Torpedo The Typos


Business people working at desk
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A good cover letter is an important part of a job application in any field, but in journalism - where great writing skills are essential - it's critical to have a cover letter that'll leave 'em impressed.

So here are some steps you can follow to write a cover letter that'll knock 'em dead.

Keep It Short

News stories should be short, sweet and to the point - so why not your cover letter? Editors don't have time to spend poring over a cover letter the length of a Tolstoy novel. So keep it to a single page.

Make It Bright and Snappy

Your cover letter, along with your clips, will be the first example of your writing the hiring editor reads. So create a bright, snappy, punchy (fill in the adjective of your choice) letter that will be a breeze to read and show off your writing skills at their best.

In other words, use the skills you've already learned in newswriting when crafting your letter. Use short sentences, written in the active voice, with strong verbs. [h3}Use Broad Brushstrokes

Outline in broad terms what you've done so far career-wise, but don't get bogged down in nitty-gritty details like exact dates, etc. Think of your cover letter as an extended lede.

Pique Their Curiosity

Give highlights of the most marketable things about you and your career, but don't give everything away in the cover letter. Pique their interest so that they'll want to know more in the interview.

Make It Clear Why You Want to Work There

Do some research about the place where you're applying, then sprinkle your letter with references to some of the things you've learned. Make it clear why you want to work not just anyplace but at that particular place.

Convey Enthusiasm

Whether you've been in the news business a few months or a few decades, your cover letter needs to convey your love of journalism and your excitement about doing the work. Make your energy and enthusiasm jump off the page.

No Typos, Please

Nothing sinks a job application faster than a cover letter with misspelled words, bad grammar or just plain awkward prose. After you've written your letter, check it and check it again to make sure it's absolutely word perfect.

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