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Media and Communications

WRITING COVER LETTERS Deconstructing the Job Advertisement

WRITING COVER LETTERS Deconstructing the Job Advertisement


Deconstructing the job ad is so
important to writing an effective job application cover letter. So many
people don’t do this. They do read the ad but then they put it away, and then they just start writing about themselves saying all these kind of things that may not
relate or be important for the application. Or they send out a
generic cover letter that they’ve been using for years that they’ve maybe just
updated a couple of times over the years but really you need to take a step back
and deconstruct that job ad. And so in this lecture I’m gonna talk about
specifically how to do that. I’m gonna show you how to do that in Microsoft Word. So here
in Microsoft Word I have copied and pasted in the job ad for a position called
Manager of Brand Marketing. So I brought that whole ad in as you can see, and some of
this stuff is going to be important. Some of it is not that important, and so
I’m gonna start to strip away all the stuff that’s not important. I do not need
this. I don’t need this title, the summary of the position. Now of course the title of
the job is really really important. So in this position Warner Brothers Home
Entertainment seeks a Manager of Brand Marketing for the Marketing Department.
So what I do with that is I hit enter and I make this a point form. So I say
that’s a piece of information that I may need. And then I do another point form
and I look at this and say, well, under the direction of the Director Brand
Marketing blah blah blah you know this position will help define and execute
the next generation of innovative physical and digital gaming. And then I turn to the next sentence, and so now it’s gonna get into the responsibilities of this Manager
position, and this is interesting, right, so they talk about being responsible for
long lead planning and management of assigned portions of the global marketing
plans and strategies for the toys to life product Lego dimensions. So we’re
getting into more detail here. This could be useful and so I can go through and I
can start to cut up this ad into these little notes, you know, little point form
notes. It talks about how this manager position in the lingo, in the business
lingo, common today interfaces with these divisions,
including public relations and so on. So this may be important to us later when
we’re writing this cover letter. And then it talks about also interfaces with
people who license different things, approvals, collaboration. So right there I
have kind of stripped it apart. Now, I don’t know anything about brand marketing. I haven’t
been in a position like that so I don’t necessarily have examples from my own
experience that I could throw in, but maybe you do, so for that job that you’re applying for maybe you can see these little points as a spark that maybe I can talk
about how I have been involved in the next generation of innovative physical
and digital gaming. So what I would do now, you know, once I’ve stripped this ad
apart I would put a space here and I would just start writing. So I mean I’m
not in this field but let’s say I’m gonna make this up so I could say that I defined and executed a new game for the
PS 3 system launched last year that sold one million copies. So do you see how I have responded to this. This is the conversation with the ad that you need
to have. So we can go through this. They talk about job responsibilities, I don’t need
to have that in my text file, but they talk about, okay, they want somebody who will collaborate with internal and external partners to support the
development of a comprehensive long leading global marketing roadmap. Some of this is kind of business lingo you may have to kind of decipher what they mean, but if you’re in this business you know if you’re already in marketing you would
know what a lot of this means and maybe this sparks an idea about something you
would want to talk about in the cover letter. They talk about coordinating
between game teams, defining yearly creative packaging, maybe you’ve done
something in your company to deal with creative packaging campaigns, that kind
of a thing, and then it has down here job requirements. We don’t need that.
You’re not going to talk about in the ad some of these things. You’re not
going to talk about you have an MBA or an MA. That’s gonna be on your resume. A lot of this stuff that comes in the bottom of the job ad is simply the
things they’re looking for, the basics, so five plus years experience in product
marketing. You’re not gonna say in the cover letter I have 5 plus years experience in
product marketing and just leave it at that. I mean you don’t want, you want to
expand on that you want to give more information, but this could provide a
spark. So you might say that last year I developed and completed a marketing
campaign for Product X in my role as Brand Manager. This involved managing a
team of 20 professionals to market and advertise Product X. So you can talk
about these kind of ways and so that’s the spark provided by this text from the
job ad, and that gets you thinking about things you can talk about. So I could go
through any of these. I mean some of these you would see excellent analytical
verbal and written skills with experience in metrics-driven decision making. Oh, so they’re really interested in metrics. So you could write something like, I applied
the latest metrics, whatever that is I mean I don’t know what those are, X, Y, and Z, to the Product X campaign, and this helped monitor sales. And so on. So you can go on and talk about these things. Things like
requires some travel, I mean, you’re not gonna talk about that in your cover letter, they’re just warning you that you may have to get out of the office and go far far
away and deal with that. Later in this course I’ll talk about this idea of
skills, so here they’re asking for computer literate in Microsoft Word
Excel and PowerPoint. A hint or preview of a later lecture is that I’m gonna argue you
do not talk about this in the cover letter unless you have something very
original to say about it. So you do not say in the cover letter I know how
to use Microsoft Word Excel PowerPoint. Your resume will mention those
things likely depending on the style of resume you’re using. Now going through
and responding to these things you may find that you have nothing to say about
some of these points from the job ad. And that’s fine, if you have nothing to say about it, you don’t have to be comprehensive. The cover letter is one page unless you’re a mid-career or late career person you can go to two pages, but if your talking about 1 page, there’s no way that you can talk about all of these things in the job ad and what would
be I guess about 200 words or 250 words. So you’re going to have to pick your spots. You’re going to have to decide which part of this ad is most important. What do
you think is most important here to talk about, and also from your own experience
what can I say about my experience that relates to some of these points from the
job ad because you may have one or two major successes in your career that
relate directly to some of these points from the job ad. So you’ll want to focus
on those. If you try to focus on everything in the job ad, say you know
I’m the complete player here, I’m the complete, ideal candidate, then you’re gonna run into a problem because you don’t have enough space. So pick your spots.
Pick a few of these points and expand upon them greatly and then maybe for some of the other things that come up like Microsoft Word, other
things, make sure that’s mentioned on your resume. But the cover letter is not
designed to be comprehensive. It is not an encyclopedia of your life. It’s only a
highlight of some major things that relate to the job. So that’s how you
deconstruct one of these job ads to make sure that you’re conversing with it,
you’re speaking with it, and then the hiring manager will know that you read the ad,
that you read it carefully, that you’ve shown how you are a good candidate for
this position.

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