Missing the obvious

OK, you’re a writer.

You love words.

You know the difference between a colon, an em dash, a comma and a semicolon.

You can craft headlines and emails and missives and tweets and blog posts and press releases, meshing words together so mellifluously they drip like honey off a reader’s brain.

Or so power-packed, they stir someone to make that impulse purchase.

“I really liked your cover letter.”

Oh shucks, thanks! Twice now on my job hunt I’ve heard I have a well-written cover letter to introduce myself to a prospective employer.

Twice now it has left me surprised when prospective employers tell me that I would, in fact, be surprised by the number of poorly written cover letters they received.

Wait … what?

For the other positions you have open, right? For, say, a web designer or an admin assistant or someone who doesn’t actually make a living writing.

Nope. These are from people applying for writer’s positions.

Aye criminy, kids!

A cover letter is an employer’s first gaze at your writing, the reason you want to be hired by this company. It serves to highlight your accomplishments and the talents that will make you an asset to that company.

And to showcase your writing skills.

It isn’t just your resume and portfolio that do the talking.

Find a good ‘lede,’ the punch that will grab someone’s attention. (Don’t you dare start it off with ‘I am applying for the copywriter’s posizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.’ Anyone reading that will look at the wall and wonder how long it’s going to take for the paint to start peeling.)

Use the style and words you’ve used so many times already to sell products or services.

Because that’s what you’re doing. Selling.

But this time the product or service is you.

Of course, if you’re feeling a little lazy and you want to pay someone to do it for you, go here.

After all, I write a good cover letter.

I’m a writer.

1 comment

  1. I once helped to sort through cover letters and applications for a summer position that involved writing a user manual. Any cover letter or a resume with a typo immediately went into the “no” pile. I was astonished at how quickly that pile grew.

    An interesting pattern was a beautifully produced resum accompanied by an awful cover letter. So they’d hired someone to write the resume and did the cover letter themselves.

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