👹 Debunking The Cover Letter Myth.

Many applicants have a negative view of the infamous 'Cover Letter', however, there is also a widespread misunderstanding of their purpose.

A Cover Letter Is Not A Love Letter.

By far, the most common misconception is the belief that a Cover Letter is meant to be a showcase of desire to join a studio. To many, the Cover Letter conjures images of desperate-for-a-job applicants putting themselves in a position of submission, trying to convince an organisation of their worth through words of admiration for their culture and/or products. It's no wonder applicants have so much contempt for this document.

The good news is that what a Cover Letter is meant to be, is almost the opposite. They are not about exposing what value you see in the company, but about bringing attention to what value you hold that will help improve the business. When looking at it this way, it rapidly becomes clear that 'how much an applicant likes a company's products' is simply not a valuable commercial asset compared to a myriad of other attributes that could be highlighted instead.

Furthermore, Cover Letters provide a unique opportunity for those in less visually-grounded disciplines to be given a platform to stand out, and can also be a highly effective way to demonstrate critical written communication skills. Especially in a post-Covid world with a higher emphasis than ever before on both remote and asynchronous work, the ability to effectively communicate over text has become more essential than ever before.

<aside> ⚠️ Even though you and your skillset will not necessarily change between positions, Cover Letters should be individually tailored to each employer to allow you to maximise the correlation between job requirements and the specific points of value you select to showcase.


Expressing Your Value.

Before diving in, it is important to realise that above all, the Cover Letter is a document of persuasion. With that said, it can be effective to use principles from Aristotle's Rhetoric as a three-piece foundation for the piece.

The three pieces can be outlined as follows:

🌽 The Greeting Labyrinth.

Starting as early as the very first line of a Cover Letter, applicants are already faced with the painful process of figuring out just exactly who to address the letter to.

Formatting Fallacies.

Many sources recommend that you embark on a literal investigation, scouring through various networks to find out who exactly will be receiving your Cover Letter, so that when the time comes, the person reviewing your application will feel it is personally addressed to them. These sources also recommend that if you can not find this information, that you should opt for the generic "To whom it may concern". The former is a complete waste of your time, and the latter is simply not very good advice.

First and foremost, in a studio setting, there is a quasi certainty that your Cover Letter will be read by at least two people: A member of HR/Recruitment, and the Hiring Manager. With this in mind, relying on a single name in the greeting already falls apart, with at least one person being left out, defeating the purpose of the entire exercise to begin with.