Ad newbie and job searcher Dan Culhane recently asked for advice on cover letters - to pen or not to pen? What to say?
Short answer: Absolutely write a cover letter.
If you're lucky your resume hits the inbox of someone who needs help. Who is short on time. Who needs the services of, well, you. So, don't expect her to do the work of reading your resume and applying it to her needs. Just tell her who you are and how you can help...
Advergirl's five rules for effective cover letters:
- Stay brief: We're an email-addled industry. We want bullets and conversational style and an ability to get to the point. Don't feel compelled to write a page. Or even print on a page. Just write brief and smart.
- Be relevant: If you have a cover letter template, you're doing it wrong. Drag it to the trash can and empty. If you really want the job, check out the agency. Write - I just saw the amazing work you did for Lowe's and I want to be a part of it. Understand the agency's position in the marketplace. Know their work. Tell them how you can add value in the year ahead.
- Think personal: To whom it may concern concerns me. You have Google. Find a contact. If the agency's Web site doesn't list staff members, use the URL to find them. For example, say you want to work at SBC Advertising. URL-sbcadvertising.com. Google @sbcadvertising.com until you find someone who used their work email in a chat room on a blog on their resume and talk to her.
- Worry the details: Even as a diva of typos (I occasionally cringe when I read old posts), I'm still completely turned off by cover letters and resumes with horrible punctuation, blatant misspellings and 'your' instead of 'you're.'
- Go accessible: Send an email attachment. Send a link. Show your Web site address. Make it easy to pass on and easy to learn more about you. Speaking of which - please check out this manifesto on your personal online brand. Lots to know.
And, then get out there and get a job, people, you can't just sit around reading pedantic blogs all day.