If you're applying for a communications job, a position that requires excellent communication skills, it's especially important to write a compelling cover letter.
Each cover letter you write for a communications role should showcase your abilities and experience. It also should be customized—yes, that means writing a new letter for each job application.
By creating a targeted cover letter, you'll be able to highlight your relevant skills and experiences as they relate to the specific position, as well as show your understanding of the company.
Here's what you need to know to write a cover letter that'll grab the attention of hiring managers.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
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.
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 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.
Be specific about your skills and strengths. Illustrate your strengths with detailed descriptions. Don't describe yourself as a team player or people person since 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 When Writing a Cover Letter
Repeating your resume. Your cover letter should enhance your resume, showcasing the high points and painting a richer picture of who you are.
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.
How to Format a Cover Letter
When it comes to cover letters, there's a very specific style and format required. You'll want to be aware of these guidelines for cover letters, including:
- Length: Stick to a page at most—a few paragraphs are all you need.
- Fonts and font size: Go with a professional font, in a standard, legible size. Stick to standard margins, too.
- Follow general business letter guidelines: Start with contact information if you're sending a printed out letter (or attaching a Word doc or PDF cover letter to your email).
- Proofread carefully: Spelling someone's name incorrectly, having wonky formatting, or other small errors can discredit your application.
How to Format an Email Cover Letter
For emailed cover letters, include your contact information below your name in your email signature. Your subject line for emails should be your name and the job title. Include a salutation, followed by the body of the letter, and a polite close.
The body of the email should kickoff with details about why you're writing (mention specifics about the job title and where you saw it listed). Then describe your experience, achievements, qualifications, and what you'll be able to provide if hired.
Communications Cover Letter Examples
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
More Cover Letter Examples
Here are more examples of cover letters for a variety of occupations, with templates to download.
FOLLOW THE RULES. There are set guidelines for writing a cover letter — make sure to keep them in mind as you write your letter.
PERSONALIZE YOUR LETTER. If you send the same letter in with every application, you're not getting the most out of the space. Make your letter relevant to the company and role at hand.
MAKE IT ABOUT THE COMPANY, NOT YOU. Yes, hiring managers want to get a sense of you, but their biggest priority is to hire someone who will advance the company's goals and bottom line.