Cover Letter Basics to Help You Land an Interview

Craft your letter with care.

We all know your resume has to be on point when you’re applying for a media job, or any job for that matter. But don’t discount the power of a cover letter. It’s the supplemental document that gives a recruiter or hiring manager a first look at your writing skills and personality — and it answers any lingering questions your resume might present (that long gap between office jobs was due to family leave, but in the meantime I kept up with the industry by doing X, Y and Z).

One important thing to avoid is cranking out the equivalent of a form letter that you send out to every company on your list.

Your job search can also be thought of as a high-stakes dating game. Companies aren’t looking to recruit just anyone. They want that special someone who has all of the qualities they’re looking for, and then some. And customizing your cover letter to the specific job is one of the best ways to convince the company you’re the best fit for the position. So steer clear of one-size-fits-all cover letters, especially since their generic tone is evident to most hiring managers and often perceived as lazy attempts by job seekers.

For more, including how one applicant won over a hiring manager with his letter, read: The Keys to a Winning Cover Letter.

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