Author Topic: Resumes: Starting a cover letter  (Read 6305 times)

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megf

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Resumes: Starting a cover letter
« on: Sep 20, 2006, 08:05 pm »
Hello all,

I'm nearing the time when cover letters become my life-line... and am very curious about your favorite way(s) to start and move through cover letters.

That's a little vague - this is what I really want to know: what, if any, stock phrases work for you? Do you keep a basic letter on file, and do minor modifications for each application? What level of familiarity do you use when you are sending the letter to someone you know from a previous job?

Thanks in advance -

Meg
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:58 pm by PSMKay »

Rebbe

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #1 on: Sep 23, 2006, 10:24 am »
Cover letters are definitly tough to get started.  One place to begin is by stream of consciousness, write down everything you’d really like to say to a potential employer about your skills and experience, then go back and try to put those things into cover-letter-suitable language that will really sell you.  Save all of your ideas; they may not all work in one letter, but you could use them later in different letters.

I will generally use the same skeleton cover letter for several applications, tweaking the details as needed; but I also change the skeleton periodically when inspiration strikes or the basic facts have changed.

If I’m writing to someone I’ve worked with before, I usually still keep it formal (addressing them by last name), because you never know who else will be reading your letter as well.   But I would try to make more specific connections to how my previous experience with them will help me in another position at the same company.

Some stock phrases:
-In my current role as BLANK I have DONE BLANK
-My (insert wonderful trait), and (2nd wonderful trait) plus (another wonderful trait) make me an excellent match for this job’s requirements.
-During my time (with X theater or in X position), I did X,Y, and Z; this knowledge makes me an adaptable and resourceful BLANK...OR....these skills are readily transferable to a job at your theater
-My proven ability to X,Y,Z, makes me a strong candidate for this position.
-Blank, blank, and blank are among the many traits/skills I can bring to a job with your theater company.
-(Sentence about past experience) these skills will serve me well in a simmillar role at your theater.
-As a stage manager, I’ve been responsible for (insert 3 tough jobs).  Hire me as an SM for your theater, and you can expect the same level of (organization and attention to detail) that I’ve demonstrated in the past.
-My previous productions range from (classics/small shows) to (world premiers/casts of thousands).
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

MatthewShiner

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #2 on: Sep 23, 2006, 10:03 pm »
It is very important, IMHO, to keep the cover letter short, sweet and the the point . . .

1) How you found out about the job (saw a job posting, friend recommended me, cold resume)

2) Briefly outline the highlights of your skill.  Make sure to address anything that may have been in the ad.  (If they are looking for someone with 5 years experience on a certain contract, state that.)

3) Close the letter.


There are style things you can do to within the letter to make it sell, Rebbe pointed out some really good things.  I awlays look for some personal connection - "I recently saw a production of ", "So-and-so, a mutual aquinatance, said I should send you my resume", etc, etc.  Something other then "I saw you ad" or "I thought I would just send my resume to you in the off chance you are hiring."
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

smccain

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #3 on: Oct 24, 2006, 03:24 pm »
What is the format of a cover letter? That is what confuses me. I have no Idea how it needs to be laid out. Does anybody have a sample they are willing to share?
Sean

MatthewShiner

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #4 on: Oct 24, 2006, 11:06 pm »
I thought of posting my cover letter, but I am very proud of it, and it has evolved over the past seven years into something I don't want to share.  (How rude is that, I know.)  But in the end, the cover letter is part of getting a job, and in the end, I could be applying for the same jobs as some people on the list.

I think you can find many, many webpages that covers cover letters.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

smccain

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #5 on: Oct 25, 2006, 02:10 am »
I thought of posting my cover letter, but I am very proud of it, and it has evolved over the past seven years into something I don't want to share.  (How rude is that, I know.)  But in the end, the cover letter is part of getting a job, and in the end, I could be applying for the same jobs as some people on the list.

I think you can find many, many webpages that covers cover letters.

Thanks, but that doesn't really help. But, thanks anyway, I guess...?
Sean

MatthewShiner

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #7 on: Oct 25, 2006, 09:56 am »
also, a good article on giving your resume a face lift . . .

http://www.lifeclever.com/2006/10/24/give-your-resume-a-face-lift/
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

smccain

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Re: Starting a cover letter
« Reply #8 on: Oct 25, 2006, 04:32 pm »
Alright, thank you. That helps. I don't know what to trust online anymore, so what I was really looking for was reliable resources. Sorry if I sounded mean or bitter in the previous post. It wasn't intended to be. Ah, the wonders of mediated communication.
Sean

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