Given that you're applying for a communications job, a position requiring excellent communication skills, it's especially important to write a compelling cover letter that showcases your abilities. For each job application, your cover letter should be customized and highlight your relevant skills and experiences as they relate to the specific position.
What to Include
Start with an attention grabber. Point to leadership roles and advanced skills right at the beginning of the cover letter to catch your reader's attention from the start. “I'm writing in response to the communications manager position you have advertised" doesn't say much. Instead, try something like, "My experience securing international press coverage for large healthcare clients makes me well suited for the communications manager position that has opened with XYZ Corporation.” This kind of statement grabs attention. Use the company's job description to identify and call out your relevant skills.
Show that you’ve done your homework. You should research the company you’re applying to and show them that you've done it by referring to their mission statement or other information you’ve discovered about them. You might say, “As assistant communications manager at ABC Company, I helped to introduce the theme of global responsibility to our branding, inspired by how your executive leadership at XYZ Corporation has championed corporate philanthropic commitment to international relief efforts.”
Use numbers when possible. Offer quantitative examples to demonstrate your achievements. Employers love to see bottom-line results. Did you increase your predecessor’s PR placements by 50%? Did you increase web traffic to your previous employer's website by 40%? Or, did you raise $1.5 million in donated funds for a nonprofit organization? Illustrate your accomplishments with numbers, math makes your point.
Be specific about your skills and strengths. Illustrate your strengths with detailed descriptions. Don't describe yourself as a team player or people person, these terms are cliché and overused. Instead, go for detailed descriptions such as, "I'm a seasoned communicator with experience working on international PR campaigns to convey a cohesive brand across all marketing channels."
Follow that up with a concrete example such as, "When I worked on rebranding the marketing for our largest healthcare client, I coordinated communication throughout the client's international offices to create unified media materials."
What to Avoid
Repeating your resume. Your cover letter should enhance your resume, showcasing the high points and painting a richer picture of who you are. Additionally, while a resume is straightforward, a cover letter should have some flair and personal touches along with a tone that's warm and speaks directly to your reader.
Focusing on your own needs instead of the employer’s needs. Cover letters are essentially marketing documents, and in writing one you should think of yourself as engaging in a needs-based sales tactic. What are the needs of the employer, and how can you fulfill those needs?
Using the pronoun “I” too much. Limiting the use of "I" to four or five instances in the entire cover letter is ideal. Your goal is to capture the employer’s serious interest by advertising what it is you can do for them, not by telling them what you want from them or what you're hoping to get from the experience.
Examples to Follow
Take a look at these cover letter examples for communications-related jobs to get an idea of how to construct a professional cover letter that will effectively sell your credentials to a hiring manager.
- Communications for Higher Education
- Communications Director
- Editorial Assistant
- Entry Level Marketing
- Public Relations
- Social Media