According to author Nick Hornby, "The secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress." The same could be said to be the secret of writing good cover letters!
Since the writer of this next sample letter is applying for the position of Content Editor, she especially needs to show strong editing skills in her letter. Read on to see if Leila successfully compresses her cover letter into the most persuasive points.
Cover Letter Sample for Content Editor Position
1709 Broderick St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
May 1, 2016
Mr. Ernie Sanders
Chief Marketing Officer
55 Valley Road
Palo Alto, CA 95014
Dear Mr. Sanders,
I was pleased to find your posting for Head Content Editor with Globex Tech on MediaBistro.com. I’ve been following your company for the past several months and would be thrilled to contribute to its mission of engaging IT content with global reach. As a Content Editor with CloudArk, I possess both the editorial expertise to grow readership and the leadership experience to manage a team of writers. Please allow me to highlight my skills as they relate to your stated requirements.
As a Content Editor with CloudArk, I have
- Effectively managed a team of five writers; led bi-weekly strategy meetings; assigned topics and projects and maintained editorial calendar.
- Increased blog readership from 1,000 unique visitors monthly to 50,000 unique visitors monthly in eight months.
- Produced several viral campaigns with over 10,000 social media shares.
- Oversaw creation of a bi-weekly newsletter and daily maintenance of social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Demonstrated excellent writing, editorial, and marketing skills and thorough knowledge of trends in IT industry.
- Maintained productive and positive relationships with coworkers characterized by open communication, creative support, and mutual respect.
I’m inspired by your mission to create informative and accessible IT content and have several ideas for editorial directions that I’d love to discuss. I will call you on Monday to see about arranging a meeting. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or email. My professional resume and portfolio of writing samples are attached. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Leila sounds like she's had a lot of success as a Content Editor. Will a position as Head Editor be next?
Content Editor Cover Letter: The Breakdown
Leila chooses to present her skills and experiences by bullet point in her cover letter. This list format allows her to pare down her qualifications to the essentials and present them in a clear, easy-to-read manner. While you can write out your cover letter, a format like the one Leila uses can also be an effective way to stick out from the crowd.
Leila customizes her letter by stating at the beginning that she's been following the prospective company for some time. She gives specific examples of her experiences and uses data to quantify her accomplishments. She also conveys enthusiasm with her proactive call to action at the end of her letter, saying that she'll call on Monday to set up a meeting. This language can be useful for some jobs, though applicants should carefully consider whether the hiring manager might perceive it as pushy.
Overall, Leila has produced a clear cover letter that highlights her professional achievements as they relate to the new job. The bullet point format allows her to cut down unnecessary wordiness and get straight to the heart of what she wants to say.
In addition to the bullet point format, Leila also uses traditional headers in her letter. Should you add those headers to your cover letter, too?
A Note on Format
While the sample cover letter above uses a traditional format with headers and a signature, your cover letter doesn't necessarily have to. If you're sending your letter as a Word attachment or hard copy, then these headers are a nice touch, especially if they match the formatting on your resume.
Lots of organizations, though, expect you to send your cover letter in the body of an email or a text box on their application websites. As both of these modes tend to use plain text, you usually don't need to dress up your cover letter with headers or any extra formatting. You can just start right in with the salutation.
If you're not including your email and phone number in a header, then you should probably make sure you add it in your conclusion. Make sure the hiring manager can clearly see how to contact you.
Once you've figured out formatting, you can focus the rest of your energy on filling your cover letter with impressive content!
Care for another sample? Click here to read a cover letter for the position of Customer Experience Representative with an eyeglass company.
Are you looking for more cover letters? Check out our full cover letter guide with writing tips and five more samples.
If you're writing a cover letter, you should check out our cover letter template. This guide has tips for format, structure, and foolproof phrases, and it leads you through each step of the writing process.
It’s a good time to be a job seeker: U.S. job growth is strong, unemployment is on a steady decline, and openings are at an all-time high.
That doesn’t make the search any less daunting. Differentiating yourself from every other job seeker on the market is no small feat, and the monotony of filling out online applications can make the task downright exhausting. That’s where a killer cover letter comes in.
Done right, a great cover letter is like a secret weapon for catching a hiring manager’s attention. Next to your resume, it’s one of the most important, underutilized tools at your disposal.
Here are some cover letter writing tips, and a free, downloadable template, to make yours stand out.
Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for — just like your resume. Study the job posting carefully, and make a quick list of any essential qualifications.
“Job seekers really struggle with what to say on a cover letter,” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “Taking a second to think about why you’re applying, and why you’re a good fit for the company, makes the process a lot easier.”
If you’re adding a cover letter to an online application, use a business letter format with a header and contact information. If you’re sending an email, it’s OK to leave out the header, but be sure to provide a phone number (and an attached resume, of course). Make sure you’re clear about the position you’re applying for.
Avoid nameless salutations — it might take a little Google research, and some LinkedIn outreach, but finding the actual name of the position’s hiring manager will score you major brownie points. “Do not start a cover letter with, ‘to whom it may concern,’” Holbrook Hernandez says. “It concerns no one.”
2. Tell a Story
To grab a recruiter’s attention, a good narrative—with a killer opening line—is everything.
“The cover letter is a story,” says Satjot Sawhney, a resume and career strategist with Loft Resumes. “What is the most interesting thing you’re doing that’s relevant to this job?” Use that to guide your letter.
Ideally, the story that drives your resume will focus on a need at the company you’re applying for. If you’re a PR professional, maybe you have a list of clients in an industry the team wants to break into. If you’re in marketing, a successful promotional campaign might be the ticket in. “A hiring manager wants to see results-driven accomplishments with a past employer,” says Holbrook Hernandez. “If you’ve done it before, you can deliver it again.”
If you have a career gap or are switching industries, address it upfront. “If there’s anything unique in your career history, call that out in the beginning,” says professional resume writer Brooke Shipbaugh.
(Here’s a downloadable sample.)
3. Use Bullet Points to Show Impact
Hiring managers are usually slammed with applications, so short, quick cover letters are preferable to bloated ones, says Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of human resources at job site Indeed.
“Make your cover letter a brief, bright reference tool,” he says. “The easier you can make it on the recruiter the better.”
Bullet points are a good tool for pulling out numbers-driven results. Job seekers in creative fields like art and design can use bullets to break down their most successful project. Those in more traditional roles (like the one in the template), can hammer off two or three of their most impressive accomplishments.
4. Highlight Culture Fit
It’s often overlooked, but a major function of the cover letter is to show a company how well you’d mesh with the culture.
As you research a potential employer, look for culture cues on the company website, social media, and review sites like Glassdoor. Oftentimes, employers will nod to culture in a job posting. If the ad mentions a “team environment,” it might be good to play up a recent, successful collaboration. If the company wants a “self-starter,” consider including an achievement that proves you don’t need to be micromanaged.
The tone of your letter can also play to culture. “The cover letter is a great place to show [an employer] how you fit into their world,” Shipbaugh says. “Show some personality.”
5. End with an Ask
The goal of a cover letter is to convince the person reading it to make the next move in the hiring process — with a phone call, interview, or otherwise. Ending on a question opens that door without groveling for it.
“You have to approach this with a non-beggar mentality,” Sawhney says. “Having an ‘ask’ levels the playing field.”
Related: What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2018