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Cover letter tips for Intro Emails for Jobs

Please Don’t Make these 4 Cover Letter Mistakes

With so many PR internship and fashion PR job listings coming through our job board (and oh so many resumes of soon-to-be PR graduates in my inbox), it seems like a good time to pen a short article with several common cover letter mistakes. Most of these hold true for any email you may be sending that is essentially asking someone to give you something you want (a job, knowledge, a business connection, gold Fendi heels).

Using To Whom it May Concern (it's concerning)

If you can't take the time to figure out a contact name, there's really no reason for the recipient of your cover letter to read any further. With LinkedIn, Twitter and dear old Google, there's really no reason why you can't find and use a person's name. Even if you are sending a general "no idea if you are hiring but..." type email, and only have an info or hello email, address it to the CEO.

Telling me what I can do for you (that's not how this works)

Instead of explaining what a great opportunity this job would create for you, focus on explaining how your experience directly applies to the roles and responsibilities listed in the job description. If you are looking for an internships or entry-level position and have little to no experience, focus on the character traits (with evidence/examples) that you possess that would benefit the office. If you are a stickler for detail, color code your calendar and have been editing your small town newsletter since you were 12, I want to hear about it. If you worked at a high-end spa where you were responsible for scheduling and confirming more than 100 appointments a day and making a kick-ass cappuccino at a moment's notice, tell me about it.

Your cover letter should make me absolutely convinced you are someone I want on my team.

Writing an essay (creates unnecessary work for both of us)

A cover letter should be no more than 3 short, carefully edited paragraphs. Use subheads and bullet points to make it easy for me to scan the highlights of your accomplishments.

Sending a Miss America moment (soapbox not required)

Save any emotional hyperbole, impassioned speeches and long-winded takes of passion, desire and perseverance for late night deep talks with your besties. I do not need your life story, or your current stress levels or challenges. I do need to feel like you are potentially capable of solving my challenges with competent, enthusiastic solutions.

Your cover letter should not read like the beginning of a novel, love story, creative writing assignment or multiple Pinterest inspirational quotes strung together. Instead answer the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Why should I hire you?

Ah, that feels better. In contrast, a great cover letter is personalized, personable and focuses on the amazing gifts and talents you bring to the table. Focusing on results, creative thinking, and using straightforward business writing is absolutely key toward moving out of the trash can and into the interview pile. Good luck!

PS: For a few more ideas on how to write emails that get a response, check out our Pitch Templates for Job Seekers and this article for new grads looking to land that first PR job.

Photo Credit: Victor Bezrukov

Holidays

Brush up on these 5 Email Marketing Best Practices (Before the Holiday Rush)

The leaves may be just beginning to change colors, but green and red should be the colors du jour when it comes to end-of-year planning. The holiday season is a crucial time to not only secure those holiday gift guides, and throw an epic holiday party, but to also connect directly with prospects through strategic email marketing campaigns.

The first step when planning a seasonal marketing campaign is to be clear about your business goals, and how email marketing can support those efforts. Whatever your primary objectives, thoughtfully produced content will be well-received during this busy time of year, so before hitting “send,” consider incorporating these 5 tips for success.

Go for a design upgrade

If it’s been more than six months since you’ve updated your email template it’s time for a change. Spruce things up by reworking the layout, adding banners to the sidebar and swapping out imagery or social media icons. Email marketing is extremely visual, especially in the fashion industry, so make sure that all imagery is updated on a regular basis and maintains a clear brand message.

Create a content calendar

Save your sanity during the holiday season by planning out email marketing campaigns in advance. Take the first step by creating a monthly content calendar to outline key initiatives for the holidays and strategically organize them by week. Content calendars should also provide high-level visibility of other communication outlets so that key messaging can be cohesive across all channels.

Get creative with subject lines

According to a recent consumer study by SalesForce.com, 64% of people say that they open emails based on the subject line alone, so make it count. You want the subject line to be attention-grabbing while also generating curiosity, so get creative in order to see those open rates soar. Benefit-oriented words like “sale” or “free delivery” have been shown to create higher than average open rates, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love free shipping when shopping a sale online?

Be concise

Emails should be scannable and easy to digest. Use imagery and strong copy to peak reader interest and then save space by strategically linking to your website or blog. This allows you to enhance emails by adding in relevant content without taking up excessive amounts of space. Dense emails are a “don’t”, it’s time to cut the clutter.

Test different looks

Just as it’s important to shake things up when it comes to your wardrobe each season, the same too can be said about your email marketing campaigns. Don’t be afraid to experiment and do something different every once in awhile. Maybe you share a video in the body of your email instead of the usual text, or perhaps you forgo the text all together and garner interest with a nothing but a bold, beautiful image instead. T

Have fun with your campaigns, track the results and make adjustments accordingly.

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Welcome to the Fashion PR Haute Shop

When I was nothing but a young thing, pouring over Sassy, obsessed with every episode of House of Style, one of my favorite daydream activities was to imagine my own boutique concept. First, there was Basics, my third-grade mall solution to the seemingly impossible - "I just need a white/red/black skirt/shirt/" problem since semi-solved by the likes of American Apparel. Then I dreamed of a small store on State St. in Santa Barbara, where champagne would flow and my gray cat would perch in the window. And on and on it went. While at fashion school I envisioned a multi-layered store where each floor was designed to and inspired by one of the four elements.

Then, after many years of helping clients with their products, and expanding into digital products through PR Couture, I had a good-old a-ha moment that I could still feed this dream by simply reshaping it into a part of PR Couture and creating a small online boutique filled with fashion PR and publicist essentials.

Over the past year I have been working with small business owners to collaborate on small runs of shirts, cards, pencils, prints and more, and this week I'm proud to announce that the Haute shop is open, the merchandise is in stock, and I'm loving the chance to play with physical inventory after working in the digital space for so long.

I hope you spend some time poking around the new shop! Let me know what you love and what you'd like to see!

A few of my current favorites are:

Our special launch code ends tonight so shop now! Please spread the word among your PR friends - here's a tweet you can use!

Hey PR Girls,@ launched a new shop just for you! Save 20% w/ code HauteLaunch (orders $40+). Ends tonight!

 

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me a note.