Too often I hear people my age and younger complain about how outdated and antique the cover letter is. In an age suffocated by texts, twitter, and tinder, we have become accustomed to gaining a lot while saying very little. Unfortunately, that same type of minimal communication is the worst habit I see carry over when it comes to job-seeking.
First impressions are everything, and a cover letter is the initial step in introducing yourself to possible employers. Arguably more important than the portfolio itself, the cover letter provides you a chance to put your best foot forward and set a standard for conduct.
I have received “cover letters” from potential designers that consisted of nothing more than, “Hi, here’s my port. Thanks.” Like for real, that was it. Employers are not going to spend the time on people who aren’t bothered to spend time on them.
With that being said, no employer wants to read a novel about everything you’ve ever done. Keep it short and to the point, while making sure you are presenting yourself appropriately and professionally. Below is an outline that you might consider when applying for your next design job via email. For those who like to design their cover letter separate from the portfolio, simply place the info from number four in a different place.
Hello (person, do your research and try to find a name. If not, stick with “Hello,”)
- In the first paragraph, start with your name and a short introduction about who you are. This should only take one to two sentences.
- The next paragraph should include info from the job posting itself and a quick explanation about why you think you would be the perfect fit for the job.
- Finish up with a paragraph providing any more info they might need and a thank you for their time. Kiss up but don’t lay it on too thick.
- Links to portfolios and websites should sit below your signature with other contact info.
Keep in mind that even though the time you’ve already spent searching can be overwhelming, taking the additional time to put together a strong cover letter will be well worth it. Good luck and happy job hunting!
Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.
Written By: Anni Lubiens
Edited by: Alex Reich
Photo Credit: Jan Kahánek