5 common cover letter mistakes you MUST avoid
The cover letter is perhaps the easiest piece of writing you will ever submit to anyone but – despite this – time and time again actors, directors, dancers, musicians and many other TV, film and theatre creatives just get it so wrong, putting off employers or connections and ruining their chances of being taken seriously.
Here Mandy News walks you through five common cover letter mistakes that you can easily avoid.
Spelling and Grammar
This is elementary but absolutely crucial. Your cover letter gives your reader their very first impression of you. A brilliantly written letter with impeccable English displays ability, attention to detail and professionalism. If spelling, grammar and/or punctuation are difficult for you then invest in a class or ask a reliable friend, family member or contact to help you.
And for crying out loud, do NOT use text speak. It is completely unprofessional if u no wot we mean? lol
That's just for starters though!
Make sure from the outset that the context of why you're sending your email/cover letter is clear – preferably in the subject heading! Are you applying for a specific position or role? Are you following up on a prior conversation? Are you cold-emailing to introduce yourself or find out about potential new opportunities?
More likely than not the recipient is very, very, very busy and will need to know instantaneously who you are, what you want and why you're emailing. Make your purpose clear quickly.
Your CV and/or work links should really be doing the talking for you. No extremely busy person wants to receive a six-page letter outlining why you became interested in your craft and how you'd really love to do it for a living even if those reasons are important to you (unless they've specifically asked for it!)
Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
As with text speak – see above – being too chummy or jocular in your cover letter can do much more damage than good. "Hey hey hey Shirley! Nice weather we're having, eh? I don't mind it to be honest. Where was I? Oh yeah, me! Well this is me here and I'm a funny little bunny (or so I'm told)."
You get the picture. Keep it professional. There will be plenty of time for nonsense down the pub when you're working together.
Even the greatest minds are capable of making the mistake of not including the attachments or links referred to in their cover letter. Do double, triple and quadruple check your email to ensure all promised attachments and links are present, otherwise, you run the risk of piquing interest from your recipient without them being able to view your CV, showreel, film, website or work in general.