"Do"s and "Don't"s when writing cover letters.
Employers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications through casting services every day. It's very important therefore, as in any other industry, that your cover letter sells you in the best possible way - after all, you want to give the employer a reason to glance at your CV over everyone else's.
- Tailor your cover according to the type of work.
- Sell yourself. What training or skills do you have that are relevant? Have you done that type of work in the past? The whole point of the cover letter is to highlight the work on your CV that will help you get the role, so that the employer doesn't have to pick through your whole CV to find it for themselves.
- Read the brief thoroughly. You don't want to miss out on mentioning something specific they ask for - you also don't want to ignore a very important requirement that you don't meet.
- Chek you're speling. You could be Sir Ian McKellen, but you'll look more like Dirk Diggler if you can't put a sentence together. It's a good idea to write your actual letter in a program like Word or TextEdit which can check spelling and grammar as you go along. You can copy and paste it in when you're done, but...
- Be careful if you're 'Copy and Paste'-ing.
- Include any information the employer has specifically requested. Whether it's contact details, showreels, languages or whatever, you MUST make sure it's in there. If it's not, it's likely your application will simply be rejected as soon as it's opened.
- Be realistic.
- Ignore the employer's requirements ('I know I don't fit the bill, but I thought I'd apply anyway /in case you have any future projects'). If you're not what they're looking for then you're not going to change their minds. It may sound harsh, but this is a complete waste of your times and theirs. They may remember you, but only as someone who doesn't listen to what they're told, so they probably won't want to work with you in the future.
- Say 'my experience speaks for itself'. Right now it's saying 'I'm too lazy/arrogant to outline why I'm suitable'. This doesn't signify you'll be a terrific person to work alongside.
- Apply for something when you can't make the dates. If the employer hasn't given you a timeframe then fair enough, but don't assume that they can (or will) adjust their schedule to accommodate you. They're more likely to find it extremely annoying.
- Get too chatty. A little personality is fine, but remember you're a professional writing to another professional, so leave the text speak and smilies on Facebook.
- Send it until you're happy. Realistically you only have one shot at cover letters, so make sure you're 100% sure that it's the best you can do before hitting 'send'.