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Things That Don't Make Sense: Copywriters without Cover Letters

If you head over to Nebo’s Careers Page you’ll find we have Copywriter listed under the “Ongoing Needs” section. Sometimes we’re looking for full time help and sometimes we’re just looking for freelancers to pitch in on certain projects, but the fact is there’s always a place here for great writers. And you can imagine that, with the listing staying up all year round, we get a ton of resumes.

But we’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently in a lot of our submissions: copywriter applications with no cover letter.

Guys, seriously. Your cover letter is our first impression of you, whether it’s in the body of the email or in an attached document. If the best (or only) sentence you can come up with is, “I’d like to be considered for the Copywriter Position,” or worse, nothing at all, that doesn’t bode well for your ability to, you know… write. That’s like being a designer with a resume typed in Comic Sans or a web developer that still non-ironically hosts his blog on Xanga.

As baffling as the blank email is, though, it still might be slightly preferable to the overly elaborate cover letter that’s full of verbal gymnastics designed to impress and convince us how witty and edgy you are. The blank email at least hints at a sort of quiet confidence in your portfolio. The showy cover letter is full of wonky stories about how you eat your eggs with a spoon or that one time you had a dance-off with Jonathan Taylor Thomas at a bar in Manhattan, but it doesn’t really tell us why you’d make a great copywriter.

We get it. We know it’s tough out there because the rules have changed -- there’s no handbook on how to apply for jobs in an industry that values creativity and out of the box thinking. Play it too safe and you’ll miss the boat. Swing for the fences and you might strike out. With that challenge in mind, we’ll leave you with this:

The best applications we get are brief, show enough personality to keep us reading, and are ultimately centered around the candidate’s qualifications rather than their quirky background or worldview.

Is it a tough tone to nail? Definitely.

Hey, no one ever said it would be easy.

Written by Evan Porter on March 4, 2014

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Hmmm, never thought about it that way. Definitely glad that you were honest about what works for your agency. There's a lot of noise out there, whether from headhunters, coaches, or even blogs, that pushes the agenda of showing your creativity in such a way that it can't be denied! It's nice to see the flipside of the coin. Thanks for the post!

Written by
Evan Porter