Monday, June 28, 2010

Cover letters: flattery will get you nowhere

A while back a News Director got a typical letter from a job applicant, saying, "Your news team has a long history of providing an excellent product to the viewers, and I'd like to be part of that team."

One problem. The station was a start-up, and had never been on the air.

(Cool! A cover letter from the future!)

I've received hundreds of cover letters over the years with similar sentiments. People who have never set foot in the state suddenly know of your station's:

-Commitment to journalism
-Top quality product
-Excellent news team


Do these people acquire this knowledge by osmosis, or are they astrally projecting themselves into your newsroom?

Unless you've grown up in the area or spent a good deal of time in the market, telling a News Director how great his product is just doesn't make sense. Blowing smoke is more transparent than a politician, and makes you look like a brown-noser.

Leave the flattery out of your cover letter. ND's just roll their eyes when they see this kind of stuff, and it doesn't help you one bit in your quest for a job at that station.

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