Improve Your Sports Career Cover Letter
The cover letter allows your personality to shine through, gives you the chance to promote highlights in your resume and introduce yourself, allows you to tailor your message to the individual employer, and gives you a chance to describe why you’re a good fit for the job. It is a powerful tool!
It is also your chance to display your communication skills and your level of commitment and enthusiasm regarding the open sports career position. Here are a few tips to give your cover letter a boost:
Personalize Your Cover Letter
Most suggest cutting down your resume to a single page, or at the very least shorten it. The cover letter allows you to offer specifics that may not show up on your resume.
If you earned all-conference honors in football and now you’re applying for a football coaching position, the cover letter offers you a chance to talk about that experience. While the resume may be reduced to, “Earned all-conference honors in football,” the cover letter allows the chance to talk about the reasons you were able to accomplish that honor.
If organizing is your strength, make sure that shows through in your cover letter. If it’s creativity, let that skill show through in a professional but stylish cover letter.
Target Cover Letter to Specific Position
Ideally, you should not have to make many changes to your sports career resume, but be prepared to make significant changes to each cover letter. A vastly different cover letter is often needed if one position you are pursuing is significantly different from another you are attempting to land.
Focus on the attributes that will help you be the best candidate for the position. If there is an advertisement or a contact indicates what the qualifications for the position are, review those qualifications and address each one. Focus on why you are a good fit for the job as you talk about your qualifications.
If you do not meet one of the qualifications, now is your chance to explain why the employer should make an exception. Suppose they are looking for five years of experience, but you only have three years. You may note, “While I have only coached high school football for three years, I played college football all four years and earned all-conference honors.”
Certainly do not lie or exaggerate, as you don’t want to start a job this way, risk losing the job over this issue in the future, or have this as a worry in the back of your mind.
Connections With Prospective Employer
If you have some personal connections to a prospective employer, be sure to mention those in the cover letter. It will allow people reading your cover letter to make that association.
Say you’re applying for a job with a minor league baseball team after graduating from college. While in high school, you worked with this team in concessions. Don’t assume that everyone will instantly recognize your name. Remember, positions change, and perhaps a person or two in the decision process may not be aware of your past service.
Perhaps your former boss, Mr. Smith, whose opinion is respected, has mentioned that you will be applying. Now when you mention your previous ties to the club, the reader may think, “Oh yeah, this is the applicant Mr. Smith told me about.” Also, use LinkedIn to discover connections to the company you may not be aware of.
So in college and your first few years out of school, you have piled up accomplishments working in the athletic department at a small school. You’re looking to move onto a new challenge and, to your credit, the list of accomplishments on your resume is a long one.
The cover letter offers you a chance to highlight a few of the accomplishments that best apply to the specific position you are pursuing. If you’re applying for a sports information job, you might write, “I received many honors in school, but one I’m especially proud of was being honored by the College Sports Information Directors Association in 2005 for …”
Request an Interview
Once you have concisely told the reader why you would be a great fit for the job, be sure to express your interest in meeting with your prospective employer. It again shows enthusiasm and will remind the reader to review your contact information.
Besides re-reading the cover letter yourself, be sure to have a trusted friend or two read the letter. If someone in the field you know can review the letter, even better. Encourage them to not only mark typos but critique your overall letter and suggest any ideas they may have.
Perhaps you will agree, disagree, or come to some decision in the middle. But you will be actively thinking about how best to communicate your experiences and qualifications. Remember, you are going to be writing different cover letters for each specific position, so carefully proofread each time.
Updated by Rich Campbell