We were asked to review a proofreading course student’s job application the other day. Their cover letter was 529 words!
Many employers would be put off if they received something this long, even if it did list some amazing skills and experiences. We tell our proofreading course students that a good cover letter should make an employer say: “Wow!”, rather than: “Crikey, do I really have to plough through this?”
We advise that 120 words are plenty, especially if you are applying for a job in proofreading, copywriting, media or journalism. Employers will expect you to have a brief, focused writing style, and expect to see evidence of this in your application.
The same applies to your CV. Slabs of text are off-putting, so you may have to group some of your internships / stories / experiences together rather than list them individually. Or even better, create a page on your blog that deals with your CV in a little more depth.
Remember, you will be up against people with strong creative and design skills. You may beat them hands down in terms of experience, but you need to match them in terms of design, content and presentation.
The design of your CV is equally important when you are applying for jobs in media, communications and proofreading.
You must be prepared to spend several days getting your CV and cover letter right. You may need to produce up to four drafts before you arrive at a final version that is up to standard.
That might sound daunting, but your CV and cover letter are the most important things you will ever write.
And if you can not be bothered to put in the effort, the job will simply go to someone who can.
See our proofreading courses