Sample Cover Letter

(See some important notes below this sample.)

123 Malibu Way
Apt. 324
Malibu, CA 93065

November 4, 2013

Mr. John Jones
Personnel Manager
WXYZ-TV
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 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.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

.

Mary Elizabeth Smith

enc: résumé


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 student's cause.
 

Notes on cover letters:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 references.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?"
  7. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 competitors.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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