Welcome to day two of our cover letter clinic. Yesterday’s clinic was such a success. Thank you to everyone for your wisdom and insight. I’m sure by the end of the week, we’ll all have killer cover letters.
Let’s get it on.
To whom it may concern:
I am a mother of two children under twelve, and a woman with many passions. With constant challenges in my life, I am forced to find new and creative ways to keep my family whole and healthy. I write a parenting column for (withheld), a city magazine. I have had my work published in my local city paper. I have written and sold many articles, with many different word counts, and deadlines, on a variety of topics for one of my current employers, Article Authors. I have sold the rights to them, but can provide excerpts if desired. I am in the process of writing a children’s book of affirmations, inspirations, and meditations. I recently began my own column called Unconventional Reality that celebrates the differences in all of us. Moving from the big city of Miami to the heart of the Midwest gives me many perspectives to explore. I have been working in Healthcare for the past eight years, and I am in the process of completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Education. I feel I can make a valuable contribution as a writer and a mother to your magazine.
Please feel free to review my website at (withheld to protect writers identity) . I can be reached by e-mail, at (withheld). I am including two samples as directed. If more of my writing is needed for the consideration of this job, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank You greatly for your time and consideration.
I think your letter is too personal. Many stay at home parents or people in difficult situations like to detail their plights in their cover letters. I can’t speak for others, but I find this to be a big turnoff. When I worked in human resources every time our boss received a cover letter with a sob story she’d call out “Oh cry me a river…listen to this guys” and while one of our co-workers mimicked a violin, she’d read it aloud. Now I’m not saying she wasn’t mean about it (and thankfully I didn’t work for too long in that department) but every time I read an article with too many personal details, I’m reminded of my brief stint in human resources. Without trying to sound callous, I really don’t think anyone cares. They want to know you can write.
Something else, if you’re putting your family situation first in your cover letter, the client may see it as you always putting the family first. Now, this is the way it should be of course, but your client wants to think he’s first. He doesn’t want to think you’ll be dealing with your children and family problems and then make time for him.
Yesterday someone suggested listing your achievements with bullet points, I think that would work well here.
“Some of my noteworthy clients include:
- (Name Withheld), a local parenting magazine
- Name of the newspaper for which you wrote
- Article Authors
- List of other clients “
I’m not so sure I would mention how you wrote a variety of articles with different word counts because that’s a given. No one writes the same exact thing every time. Plus, your bulleted list shows your versatility.
If you have links to articles you wrote, regardless of who owns the rights, do list them on your cover letter. You’re also allowed to scan the article and attach it if the client accepts attachments. You wrote the article and you’re allowed to use it in your portfolio. It’s also none of the other person’s business who owns the rights. If you can’t provide a sample, don’t mention it at all.
I want to add that anyone looking to hire wants to know first and foremost how his business can benefit by bringing you on board. I’m not seeing much of that in the cover letters. Sure, it’s about selling yourself, but it’s also about proving you’ll be an asset.