In the world of employment, first impressions can be based on many things – one of them is how you represent yourself on paper. Knowing how to describe yourself appropriately, and in a good light, can be crucial to getting in the door.
Cover Letter Samples
To learn the details of writing cover letters for specific music positions and to view sample cover letters, check out our Musician’s Cover Letter Handbook.
Before you begin writing a cover letter, carefully research the organization looking for aspects that make them stand out – mission statement, projects, outcomes, set-up, etc. What interests you about this organization? In addition, look carefully at the job announcement for specific words that you can highlight in your materials – skills, experiences, certification, etc.
In general, cover letters inform the employer why you are suited for a position. Cover letters do not explain everything from your résumé. Instead, they highlight related information you want potential employers to notice. Select a sample of experiences and demonstrate how they helped you develop skills and readiness. Connect the dots for your readers so it is easy to understand how your experiences are related to the open position. In addition, mention something specific about the organization to make a personal connection with reader, showing you have fully researched the job.
Format and length
Keep your cover letter brief and to the point – 1 to 1.5 pages in length – with 4-5 short paragraphs. Make sure the cover letter has your own personalized header at the top (use the same one on your resume) and address the letter to a specific recipient including their name, position, and address, as shown in the example to the left.
Prose and tone
Keep your prose professional and engaging. The cover letter should compel the reader to take a closer look at your résumé or CV by highlighting your best and most relevant experiences or accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to make positive statements about yourself, but do so in an appropriate, relatable manner.
✓ Read sample cover letters before you begin
✓ Avoid starting too many sentences and paragraphs with “I” statements
✓ Keep your conclusion somewhat short, ending with your interest in the specific position/school/organization
✓ Consider including your signature as a cropped image just to further personalize your letter
✓ Send your materials as PDFs so that no formatting will be lost
For examples, see the Musician’s Cover Letter Handbook