Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.17.42 PMWhether for a job or internship, a cover letter introduces you to a potential employer and offer a first impression. Your letter MUST make a connection and be concise, grammatically perfect, well written and professional in tone. This letter tells your prospective employer what YOU can do for THEM, not what they can do for you. So don’t bother writing about how much you’d like to work for the company because it will help you in the future. What do they care?

Show YOUR value. Explain why they should bring you on. Here’s a sample:

Dear, ______________________________________________

I am writing to apply for an internship in AREA OF INTEREST with NAME OF COMPANY. I’m a senior at The City College of New York, where I am majoring in XX.

As my resume indicates, I have completed major coursework including INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISM, SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES, AND PROSE WRITING WORKSHOP, among others. These hands-on classes provide me with a strong understanding of the demands of the profession, and the knowledge and skills to make a valuable contribution as an intern.

I have prior work experience having been a JOB TITLE for COMPANY. In this capacity, I brought my strong work ethic and professionalism to my employer. OR SAY SOMETHING THAT DEMONSTRATES YOUR PROFESSIONALISM.

In addition to my abilities and passion for this profession, I am hard working, ADD MORE PERSONAL QUALITIES HERE THAT DEFINE YOU.

I am especially interested in this internship because of NAME OF COMPANY’S excellent reputation for SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE COMPANY THAT BRANDS THEM, BASED ON THEIR WEBSITE COPY OR WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THEM

I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Please contact me via e-mail or by phone at YOUR NUMBER.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Your Name

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The Right Resume

Now’s the time to work on your resume. Here’s a template to download: Resume Sample Format 8 13

Here’s a good resume courtesy of my student Daniel Friedman. (Thanks Daniel!!!!)

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Why do I like this resume so much:

1. Clean, straightforward, easy-to-read format. The red is a nice extra. Makes it pop.

2. Has the good stuff at the top. He had me with the qualifications. Always start with a list of the skills and talents you bring to the party. They can be listed under “Qualifications,” “Summary,” or “Skills.” Be sure to list any social media proficiency–Twitter, Facebook, WordPress–as well as computer, audio and video skills if you have them.

3. Doesn’t have an “Objective.” Hate that. Don’t ever list an “Objective”–even if you’ve been told to do that. Objectives tell employers what you’re looking to gain from them. What do they care? Tell them what you have to offer.

4. Is specific. Have a resume tailored for each job or each industry. Daniel’s makes him look journalistic. He has another one that is shifted around and tweaked to make him seem more techie. I have one for academic jobs, another for book writing, one for health, one for LGBT, one for newspaper gigs etc.

5. His classwork is listed out. Daniel doesn’t have a ton of experience, but he has taken some journalism and communications courses. Those add weight to his resume.

6. “Media and Work experience are two separate entries. Daniel hasn’t had a job in media, but he has (unpaid) experience with the Campus and as a blogger–which is great. He also listed his CCNY web job…which is how he pays the bills. This shows that he’s held down a job, which HR may want to know.

Good luck! Daniel got an internship, that turned into a paying gig at a sports magazine using this resume!!! Now he’s working at Sports Illustrated as the NBA editor.

How Twitter Can Get You a Job

the-devil-wears-prada-funny-humor-feminiest-review-anna-wintour-shkA recent article in the New York Times discussed the skills necessary to help you get and keep an entry level media job. And unlike Andy, Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, entry levels jobs now demand more than just answering the phone, picking up dry cleaning and running to Starbucks. Increasingly, employers want and need assistants with social media skills. Yes, the Devil tweets about Prada.

And even outside of the magazine industry, growing numbers of all kinds of companies are looking for social media managers to handle communication and promotion through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest.  And some companies have stopped recruiting employees to handle social media. HR directors simply expect all new hires to have those skills. “We are seeing an increased demand for social savvy candidates across the business – from human resources to product to customer service,” noted Amy Crow in Quartz. She’s the communication director for indeed.com, the popular jobs website.

So what are the must-have social media skills? Here’s a list of things to know and do:

1. Get comfortable with the important social media platforms–Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Seriously, this is a first, basic step.

2. Learn to use social media in an effective, professional way–not just posting a picture of your dinner on Facebook or tweeting what you’re doing this second. Instead, understand how social media can be a promotional tool, how to find information and sources, how to tell stories in words and pictures.

3. Make sure your own blogs, tweets, posts and so on, reflect your strengths and talents. And, of course, be careful that you’re looking and behaving appropriately.

4. Write well. Improve your writing and avoid typos and grammatical errors, even in a 140-character tweet.

5. Take clear, interesting photos. An out of focus, boring photograph won’t attract eyeballs to pinterest or insta.

6. Learn video storytelling. If you can shoot and edit videos on a camera or phone and edit them to post on youtube or vine, you’ll be all the more marketable.

6. Manage your time well. Being a social media maniac–even an effective one–can turn into a time suck.

7. And remember what your most important assets always are: being hardworking, reliable and open to learning.