What Is a Cover Letter?
- An opportunity to highlight two or three specific experiences that directly relate to the job description and company
- A letter addressing why you’re a good fit for the specific position at the specific company using similar language on their job description and website
- A letter highlighting two or three of your most significant accomplishments and explaining their relevance to the position you are applying for
What Is a Cover Letter NOT?
- Your resume in paragraph form
- A generic letter for any job you apply for
A Cover Letter Should Have Two Goals:
- Stating your interest in the specific position and company
- Explaining why you’re the best fit for the specific position and company
To write the cover letter, use the model: Skill (the skills you possess), Example (proof that you have that skill), Connection (connection between the Skill, Example to Job and what the Company cares about) to organize the content. The content of each cover letter you write should be customized to the needs of each employer to explain how they would benefit from you, specifically, in the role.
Before you write your cover letter, assess the employer’s requirements and needs, mission, and programs or products they create. Look at the job description, research the company’s website, and try to gain as much information as possible to help focus your letter on an employer’s interests and ensure the position is a good fit for you.
A cover letter is like a puzzle: in preparation for applying to many roles, you need to create the puzzle pieces. In a separate document to edit and update frequently during the job search, identify all the skills you might need for any role you would apply for (project management, teamwork, copy editing, etc). Under those skills, write bullet point examples of a time when you used that skill. Then, create a paragraph based on that example by sharing a quick overview of your experience with that skill and what the outcome was.
Use a Formal Salutation
- Personalize your letter to the hiring manager you’re writing to. Use their name and the company’s name whenever possible.
- If you cannot find a name, use “Dear Internship Coordinator” or “Dear Hiring Manager” to be as specific as possible.
Organize Your Information
- Highlight your most relevant experience to lend strength to your letter.
- Include your personal information (name, address, email, phone number).
- Check your work carefully for grammar and spelling. Have someone else proofread it before sending and read it out loud to yourself to ensure it sounds professional.
- Single space within your paragraph and keep the formatting clean and simple.
Show Your Interest
- Tailor your cover letter to the reader to show that you are interested in the organization and have done your research.
- Give concrete examples of your skills and abilities. Write about them in the context of how they will help you excel in the position.
- Highlight two or three of your most significant accomplishments and explain their relevance to the position you are applying for.
- Remember to keep your sentences and paragraphs short and brief!
*If applying via email, copy your cover letter into the body of the email. You do not need the date and headings, but ensure you include your contact information below your name. Additionally, attach a PDF version of the cover letter with the formal date and heading. Be consistent with dates.
Cover Letter Template (as an Attachment/PDF)*
mary_roberts [at] emerson.edu | 617-824-9113 | Boston, MA | linkedin.com/in/mroberts
April 16, 2023
Dear Ms. Smith,
First Paragraph (Why are you writing?; ~2–4 sentences): Hook: How do you connect with the
organization/what they do? Why do you want to work for them in particular? Why do you want to
work in this industry? Try to tell the reader a bit of your story, in 1–2 sentences. Be sure to mention the position and company name; include why you are drawn to this company (if not included in your hook). Give the name of the person who referred you to the company, if appropriate.
Middle Paragraphs (Why are you interested? What do you have to offer?; ~5–9 sentences): Pick 2–3 job responsibilities from the job description and provide examples and stories where you have experience. This section is your sales pitch. Use keywords from your industry, company website, and from the job description to make it unique to you and the role and company. It’s your opportunity to show the value you will bring.
Connect the dots between your experience and the position requirements. In the 2–3 experiences demonstrating your qualifications, elaborate on them through an example or story, but you should not be reiterating your resume in paragraph form. Be sure to be specific and to the point. This space is also great for elaborating on why you are interested in this specific internship/job. For an internship, it is OK to mention what you hope to learn if they ask.
Final Paragraph (What is the next step?; 2–4 sentences): Reiterate your skills and then add a sentence demonstrating a Request for Action. Ask for the next step (conversation/interview). If any logistical information is asked for (e.g., your availability, where to find samples of your work), include it here.
Thank you for your consideration.
Cover Letter Example (as an Attachment/PDF)*
Sample Job Description
Development Associate, Press Play Entertainment (entry level)
Press Play Entertainment is an industry-leading management, production, and finance company based in Beverly Hills, California. Founded in 1998, the company has produced and financed over 40 films earning eight Academy Award® nominations, an Academy Award® win, and a Peabody Award win. In television, the company has produced several series including an Emmy-nominated series, and has set up projects domestically and abroad. Press Play’s management division represents a curated list of highly successful actors, writers, IP creators, and directors from all over the world.
This entry-level position is a good fit for someone who wants to get their feet wet in the entertainment industry. As a hybrid production and management company, we are able to offer a unique and multifaceted look at the various elements involved in the creation of television and film.
- Script reading and script coverage
- Assisting executives with various projects (research, development, etc.)
- Shadowing executive assistants
- Demonstrate strong administrative skills covering front desk
- Face time with executives
- Presenting scripts that you have read in company meetings
- Learning the necessary skills to excel in the world of film and television
- Able to be flexible; resourceful; and thrive in a fast-paced, changing, and growing environment
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Strong organizational and multitasking skills, with attention to detail
- Comfortable working collaboratively with team members at all levels and sharing thoughts and ideas
- Ability to work independently and be a self-starter
- Possess a natural curiosity - when presented with information, takes initiative to figure out the “whys” and the “what's”
- Possess a strong interest in the business-side of the entertainment industry
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must be willing to work in Beverly Hills, CA
Please send a cover letter and resume to hr@ pressplayentertainment.com by August 15 for full consideration.
Sample Entry-Level Cover Letter
jane_smith [at] emerson.edu | 617-824-9113 | Boston, MA | linkedin.com/in/jsmith
July 31, 2023
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am sending you my application materials for the development associate position at Press Play Entertainment, as advertised on Emerson College's Handshake page. I have been an avid watcher of your shows like Extreme Design Take Over, The Late Show with Kelly Conner, and your films like Lost in London. Reviewing your website and your commitment to equity in the entertainment sector with initiatives like your Women in Film competition and your Diversity Writers Room summer internship program, I am further committed to the possibility of working with an organization whose values align so closely with mine.
As a production major at Emerson, I served as vice-president of the Emerson Women in Film Festival for two years, where I worked with our campus identity groups to enhance the amount of student women of color filmmakers participating in our film festival. My script development internship with Global Scope Productions allotted me the chance to hone my skills at script coverage and presentation delivery to both our domestic and international clients, and I feel comfortable engaging with Press Play’s staff and client base at any level.
While a student worker at the front desk in the Emerson College Career Development Center, I always provided high-quality customer service and demonstrated my curiosity for problem solving and offering help well beyond basic front desk coverage. I feel strongly that my passion for the work that you do and my skill set would make me an ideal candidate for this role.
I look forward to discussing my qualifications and desire to work with Press Play entertainment with you further. Should you have any question about my qualifications do not hesitate to contact me at 617-xxx-xxxx or jane_smith [at] emerson.edu.Thank you in advance for your time.
For guidance and more personalized questions, contact your career advisor.