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How to Write a Good Entry Level Cover Letter for a Writing Job

This is something every job hunter should know how to do. Unfortunately, many people avoid this step because they think it’s only relevant if you’re applying for an administrative position, but it goes beyond that. The key to a successful application isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.

The truth is, if you want to write, you’re going to have to go out there and make some contacts. Now the trick is, how do you write a cover letter to do that?

Whether you’re applying for an entry level position or you’re looking for your next step, having a good cover letter is essential. Answering the following four questions will help you establish a good rapport with the hiring manager and stand out from the crowd. Better still, take a look at our sample cover letter for Jobs 101-200 and see how we answered these questions to get a writing job at one of the best companies in the world!

1. What Is the Purpose Of Your Cover Letter?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself before you start writing. What is the purpose of your cover letter? It is critical to understand the reason why you’re writing this letter to begin with, and the answer to this question will guide you in every aspect of the letter. If you’re not sure what to write, ask yourself what makes you special? What do you offer that the other candidates do not?

The more you establish from the get-go, the less you’ll have to go back and rephrase- especially if you are trying to create a smooth transition from the first to the second paragraph. This brings us to our next point.

2. What Are You Trying To Achieve?

The next step is to establish a clear goal for the letter. Are you trying to convince the reader that you are the best candidate for the job? Do you want them to offer you the position? Is the position available and you just need to nail your application? Maybe you’re even trying to convince the employer that they made a mistake not choosing you for the job. Whatever your goals are, make them very specific and measurable. For instance, if you want the reader to offer you the job, then you should set a goal of at least getting a callback or an interview. 

The more you can communicate to the reader upfront, the better your letter will be structured and the more they’ll be able to relate to what you’re writing. In the Sample Cover Letter we’ve provided for you, we established that our sample letter writer’s goal was to convince the employer that they made a mistake not choosing her for the writing job available at Google. She wanted the position and set a measurable goal of getting at least one interview or a callback.

3. Who Is The Reader?

The third step is to identify who the reader is. This might be the person who is reading your cover letter, a hiring manager, a human resources employee, or even your future boss. Knowing this will help you determine what kind of letter to write. If you’re writing to the person who is going to decide your fate, then you should aim for maximum impact.

An example of a bad reader is a hiring manager who is reading your covering letter and decides that they already have the perfect person for the job and doesn’t need to read your letter. This is called a “slamming the door” letter because, effectively, you’re being told that they don’t need your services. While this might be frustrating, you must understand that it is not your call to make. If you want to write a good letter, you need to write it for the person who has the power to offer the position. In our example, we’re assuming that you’re having trouble finding a job, so you’re writing to the hiring manager at Google. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re sending a resume to an employer, then they are the reader. If you’re emailing it to someone inside the company, then that’s usually who you’re writing to, but it could be a different person, depending on the structure of the organization. For example, if you’re applying for an internship through an email, then your writing should reflect that. Your resume should already have the basics- like your name, email, and phone number- so all the letter does is flesh out your skills and how you’ll fit into the team. 

4. Does The Job Fit Your Career Goals?

The last step is to determine whether or not this job is a good fit for your career goals. The main issue here is that you want to make sure that the role is something you’re passionate about. The purpose of your cover letter is to convince the reader that you are the best candidate for the job, so it’s natural that you would want to make sure that nothing gets in the way of you achieving this goal. Let’s say that you’ve been searching for a job for a while and finally landed on Google’s website. You read the description for the writing job and notice that it matches everything you’re looking for. The only problem is that you’re not sure whether or not you’d be comfortable with living in San Francisco. The truth is, you don’t really care that much about the location, as long as the role is something that interests you.

The point of this step is to help you avoid any potential downsides to the job. If you don’t think that the role is a good fit for your career goals, then it might not be the best idea to pursue it. Why? Because, ideally, you want to end up somewhere that you feel passionate about, and this job might not be what you’re looking for. You have to remember that, at this stage of your search, there is still hope that you can find something that fits your career goals. So, instead of worrying about whether or not this job is right for you, worry about whether or not you’ll find something better. 

In the end, your cover letter is an extremely important part of your job search. So much so that even experts like James Tutor and Drew Carew, from Learn How to Write a Memorable Cover Letter, advise that you should write multiple versions of your letter, in the hopes of landing something that’s going to work. To make it work, though, you have to put in the time- something that many people avoid out of fear of it wasting time. Plus, you have to be willing to learn and grow with the company even if you don’t end up with the position you initially applied for.