Sample Cover Letter
(See some important notes below this sample.)
123 Malibu Way
Malibu, CA 93065
November 4, 2014
Mr. John Jones
1234 Paradise Rd. Peoria, IL 45678
Dear Mr. Jones:
As a native of central Illinois, I
have long been familiar with your leadership in news. When I saw your ad
in Broadcast Programming, I immediately decided to write.
As you can see from the enclosed
resume, I will be graduating with a degree in Television Production from
Smith University in June of 2015. I feel that this academic preparation,
together with the invaluable experience I've had at KABC in Los Angeles,
qualifies me for the position of field producer that you outline in your
I will be coming home to Pekin over
the Christmas vacation (Dec. 19th to 30th) and would very much like to
talk to you about employment at WXYZ-TV.
I will call the third week in
December and try to set up an appointment. I am very much looking
forward to talking to you.
Mary Elizabeth Smith
Notes about photos and references:
Photos are generally not included in
résumés unless you are applying for an on-air (in front of the camera)
In most professions the term
"References on request" is typically included at the end of the résumé.
However, in broadcasting, where jobs tend to be filled rather quickly,
references and their contact information are often listed at the end of
Generally, you will want a variety
of people listed: previous employers and associates, and possibly a
minister, priest, rabbi, or teacher. Be sure to get permission from each
of your references before you list them. It is also a good idea to give
each of them a copy of your résumé so they can keep it handy.
As a professor, I've often gotten a
telephone call from a prospective employer about a student I had in the
past. Although that student may want to think that I can remember
everything about him or her, an awkward silence on the phone while I try
to remember the specific student, doesn't help that student's cause.
Notes on cover letters:
- Personalize the letter to the company
involved. Find out who the Personnel Manager is or the person in charge
of hiring for this job, and address your cover letter to them. This
information is often available on the Internet. Mention one or two
things about the company -- an award they won, a recent acquisition, or
a person you met who works there.
- Get to the point quickly. Mention the specific
job you are interested in and then give two or three reasons why your
background qualifies you for this job. This is not a time for modesty!
Focus on why you are uniquely qualified for this job, and, if possible,
cite personal success examples. Don't overlook volunteer work,
especially if it's relevant to the job you are seeking.
- In the cover letter or personal interview
don't cite problems with employers to justify why you want to leave. Not
only is it unprofessional but it raises a red flag about you.
- In some cases you may want to mention your
general salary requirements. By doing a bit of research on the area, you
should have an idea of how much it will cost to live there. You don't
want to find yourself in a position of having to take a weekend or
after-hours job just to pay for groceries. You might say, "My salary
requirements are in the range of $xx,000." Then as things move along you
can negotiate a more exact figure. Sometimes a new employer will provide
funds for relocation; sometimes not.
However, it's often best to avoid money issues on a résumé.
- State the fact that you are available for a
personal interview. Give your e-mail address and phone number. Mention
that you will follow up with a phone call to offer any additional
information they may want. (This may mean that they will have to keep
your résumé handy.)
Notes on Interviews:
Be aware that the first phase of the
interviewing process may be an in-depth phone interview. Don't be
caught off guard.
Think this through carefully (using the points below as a
guidelines) and possibly even have some notes handy.
If the call comes at an inopportune time, say that that
"you are just on your way out the door for an appointment," and then
negotiate a better time for the call.
Today, many interviews are conducted by web-cam. You can
find information on this here.
- If you are fortunate enough to be granted an
in-person interview, find out everything you can about the company
before arriving, especially things they will be proud of. If you can,
talk to someone who works there, or has worked there in the past.
- Arrive on time and dress appropriately.
Although you may find that workers there dress casually, unless it's an
unusual company, for the employment interview men are expected to arrive
in a coat and tie and women are expected to dress in a professional
manner. Once you are on the job, you can take attire cues from other
- Keep it positive. If you let the interview
drift into negative areas, these things will tend to "rub off" on you as
a candidate. You want to come across as a positive, optimistic,
energetic person. At this point, a large part of the decision on a
specific candidate will rest on personality. Although you may be
understandably nervous, avoid vaporous chatter. Keep the conversation
calm, pleasant, and focused. If you have letters of recommendation,
bring them with you and offer to give them copies.
- Be honest. Employers need people they can
trust. Being caught in a lie or "stretching the truth" will almost
always get you rejected. Prospective employers are alert for these
things, and they often check with the people you've listed as
- Be prepared to back up and elaborate on
everything in your cover letter and résumé. This is generally where the
personal interview will start. Prospective employers are especially
interested in "gaps" in your employment history. What happened during
this period? Couldn't you find a job? Were you in rehab; in jail;
fighting depression? They have to cover the bases on these things.
Terminating employment is difficult and employers don't want to take
- Be prepared to handle the typical questions:
"Why do you want to work here? "What are your primary strengths." "What
would you say are your weaknesses?" You may be asked about recent
developments in the field and the trade publications you read. In some
cases you may be asked about recent books you've read, movies you've
seen, or travel. Other questions are, "What are your ultimate
professional goals? "What do you see yourself doing in five years?"
- Follow up the interview with a letter thanking
them for the opportunity and offering any additional information they
might need. Remind them again of your unique qualifications for the
specific job and the various ways you can be contacted.
Keep in mind that:
- It's easier to find a job if you have a job.
Unless they are just getting out of school, employers are suspicious of
people who are unemployed. This means that you should not quit a job
until you find a new one.
- Don't accept a job unless you feel you can
stay there for at least a year. People who rather quickly move from job
to job represent employment risks.
- Investigate a company or employer before
accepting a job. If the company has a high rate of job turnover, watch
out. Moving to a new job involves time, effort, and expense. There may
be things lurking below the surface that can make your new job
unpleasant, or even impossible. Generally, a prospective employer will
give you a week or more to make up your mind before accepting a new
position. Talk to present and previous employees if possible -- even
- If you accept the job, get everything in
writing: salary, starting date, job description, and any moving expenses
that will be covered. The company may suddenly be bought out, or the
person who hired you may be transferred, promoted, or terminated. You
don't want to be stuck after you turned in a two-week's or month's
resignation notice from your old job.
- If the new job takes you to a new living
location, give yourself time to get fairly well settled before your
first day on the job. First impressions are important, and you need to
be able to focus on new people and procedures.
Before accepting a position you may want to study
over Handling a Job Offer.
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