We received a generic cover letter over Facebook messenger this weekend from a would-be writer, rife with errors that broke my heart (and proved that the sender doesn’t read this blog as much as she should). Here’s how we responded.
Hi Ms. Kathleen,
Thanks so much for writing! Unfortunately, we’re only just receiving this message now. Some advice for applying for editorial jobs in the future:
- Look up email addresses or Twitter handles in addition to Facebook accounts. Because of Facebook’s message settings, companies don’t always have notifications of new messages, which explains why we unfortunately received this over a year after you sent it!
- Customize your cover letters. While this one conveyed your skills and experience, nothing screamed out exactly why you’d be a good fit for TheGrindstone.com or The Gloss Careers—or even that you’d read the site. Tailor each cover letter and resume to the job for which you’re applying, even if it means just making minor tweaks or major changes. It’ll impress editors and HR managers, because if done well, it will also showcase your writing skills and ability to think outside the box. (I once got a job at a teen celebrity magazine by making my entire cover letter about how much I love Harry Styles of One Direction.) You’re in a creative industry, so be creative!
- Spellcheck! This made me cringe: “Adriana Trigiani Interivew.” Have another person look over your letter and resume—when you stare at it for so long yourself, it’s easy to miss small errors like that…but editors won’t. It pains us!
That said, thank you so much for reaching out and best of luck with your job search. You may find our site a helpful tool for that!