Sample Cover Letter
(See some important notes below this sample.)
123 Malibu Way
Malibu, CA 93065
November 4, 2013
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
As you can see from the
enclosed resume, I will be graduating with a degree in Television
Production from Smith University in June of 2014. 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 ad.
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) position.
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 the résumé.
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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 workers.
- 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 chances.
- 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
- 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
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 --
- 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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