I’ve been reading quite a few cover letters lately and there’s one thing I’m not sure most job seekers are ever told; your cover letter is more important than your resume.
When I read the cover letter I want to know what makes you different from other prospective BookEnds team members. What makes you stand out and, frankly, why BookEnds.
In many ways, resumes are universal. I’ll get to see your job experience and that may or may not tell me if you’re a good fit and of course I’ll see your education (put it at the bottom of the page as far as I’m concerned), but it tells me nothing about you and whether you’d fit into the BookEnds world. For that I rely on your cover letter, in much the same way I rely on the query letter before even reading an author’s manuscript. Based on the cover letter I will make the decision to even read your resume. Boy, I wish I had this information when I was fresh out of college.
My cover letter advice is to get personal, get real, and dig deep. If your cover letter is the same for every job you’re applying you’ve made a mistake and failed in your research. I don’t want to know why you want to be an editor (I’m not even hiring editors), I want to know why you’ve been inspired by BookEnds. I want to get excited to meet you and I want to see your personality shine through. Of course the cover letter should be professional, but business casual, not stiff three-piece suit professional. This is publishing where we value personality and creativity and we want to see passion.