Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cashing In: How to Write a Stellar Cover Letter

Cashing In: How to Write a Stellar Cover Letter

Writing for the Workplace

Writing for the Workplace

Some people in the world today still don’t see how anyone outside of Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks can make a legitimate living as a writer. Well I am here to tell you, that it’s really hard. I found that out trying to work as a freelance writer. I was writing every single day and had quite a few followers and commenters, but I never saw any money above a few dollars. In a lot of cases writers have found that having a day job really helps. You see I love writing and if I could do it for a living I would, but a long time ago I got into the habit of eating and having a roof over my head so I had to find another way. One writing skill that is overlooked today is professional writing, specifically how to write a convincing and effective cover letter.

Getting a Job

Getting a Job

The humble cover letter, with these three tiny little paragraphs you can prove yourself to be a well-spoken and thoughtful worker with a knack for professionalism. The cover letter format is fairly straight forward and in fact is set up like many other professional letters. In the upper left-hand corner you place your contact information including your name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the date. Right below that you place the address of the company or business that you are applying to. If you know the name of the head of the human resources department use it, but if you don’t then use “To Whom to many Concern”.

First Paragraph- The Intention Section- The first part of the cover letter is what I like to call the “intention” section. For this part you are telling your potential employers what position you are applying for, in essence why you’re sending them a cover letter.

Second Paragraph- The Traits Section- In this section you need to outline the traits that you have that make you the most qualified for the position. You need to be sure that you tailor this section to suit the position. If the job you’re applying to requires you to be organized and detail oriented, be sure that the traits you write show that you have those abilities. This part of the letter will be the longest.

Third Paragraph- The Professional Sign-Off  – This final section is basically a form letter. You basically say that you’ve attached copies of your resume for review and would be willing to come in for an interview. Finish it by thanking them for considering you for the position. Some people say to end it by saying “Sincerely, (insert your name)”, but I think that is a bit too informal. I like to end with just “Respectfully, (Insert your name)”. At the very bottom of the page you list all of the things that you are sending along with the cover letter such as a resume and letters of recommendation.

SAMPLE COVER LETTER

Writer S. Cafe

656 Main Street

Writersville, TN 16638

(578)965-6577

(Insert email address here)

09/03/13

Company Name

57455 South Main Street

Writersville, MD 54657

To Whom it may Concern:

After many years of interest in motorcycle mechanics, it has become my goal to enter into graduate school and receive my Master’s degree in motorcycles. It is my wish, thereby, to apply for an internship within your garage.

Throughout both my high school and college careers I have assisted in garages and have learned both the mechanical and business aspects of the trade. During this work my skills with both interpersonal communication and organization have demonstrated themselves as highly constructive traits.

For your convenience, I have attached a copy of my resume for further review. Should you wish to schedule a follow-up interview I would be more than willing to make myself available at the earliest convenience, and can be contacted by either the e-mail or telephone number provided above. I thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Respectfully,

(leave this space blank for your signature)

Writer S Café

Enclosures: Resume

Today's Special

Today’s Special

Writing Exercise- The Anti-Exercise

I know this post was all about professional writing, but I can’t leave without giving you at least one writing exercise to get those creative juices flowing. Now for this exercise you need to think of someone you don’t agree with, maybe even someone you hate. What you need to do is to think of them and write a paragraph or two from their point of view. The trick is that you need to think from their mindsets and to not to be sarcastic or mocking about it. This exercise teaches you how to write characters who don’t think or act like you do which will help to keep your stories fresh and interesting.

I know this was a bit of a long post, but I hope you thought it was worth while. Feel free to comment or give me feedback. Bye for now!

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Filed under Cover Letters, Creative, Getting a Job, Ideas, Jobs, Professional Writing, Writing

How to Write a Believable Story: Being an Illusionist

How to Write a Believable Story: Being an Illusionist

Illusions to fool your readers

Illusions to fool your readers

When you’re writing, it’s kind of like you’re creating an illusion. It’s sort of like being an actor on the stage. Actors are illusionists at heart. With the costumes they wear, the voices they use, and the way they use their bodies they are attempting to fool the audience in the believing that they are their characters and that the world they live in, is real. Authors have to do the same things when they write. You have to, with a few well-chosen words, make the audience believe in your story and your characters. With some things that’s easier than with others. It’s really when you get into certain things like historical dramas, period pieces or fantasy that the creation of the illusion must go deeper. Say you’ve written a fantasy story, but the characters are so outlandish and the story is so bizarre that they sound incredibly fake, you’re reader probably isn’t going to get invested in it. Think about it, when you were reading a book didn’t it make the story have a greater emotional impact on you that you could almost see it? And when you can get your readers hooked emotionally, then you’ve got them in your pocket.

 

If you’re trying to write a historical drama one of the best things you can do to achieve the illusion of realism is research. Have you ever taken a class with a teacher who didn’t really know what they were talking about? It makes it a lot harder to learn when the person who’s supposed to be teaching you is learning the material right along with the class. The same concept goes for writing. If you’re writing about a specific era or even a specific emotion, then you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. I was writing a 19th century drama that was centered in England a while ago, so I had to learn as much about that time as I could. If I was going to make the reader believe in the 19th century world I was attempting to create would I have to make every aspect of that world as genuine as possible. If you need any help in the research department, I suggest going down to your local library and checking out the reference section. Also, read other authors of that era. For example, if you’re interested in the Gothic literature of the Romantic Era (late 1700’s – 1850) you might try reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or John Pollidori’s novella The Vampyre.  That leads me to another point, if you’re writing anything it’s a good idea to read other pieces of literature that are similar to yours. If you get blocked or just want some help generating idea might help you generate some more ideas.

Exercise of the Day:

Today's Special

Today’s Special

If you’re in a bit of a slump, one thing you can do to perk up those creative juices is watching movies and reading books. For this exercise you should pick one book or movie and pick a small character from that piece (for example, Meg Giry from “Phantom of the Opera” or Maria Lucas from “Pride and Prejudice”) and write a new story with that character as the central figure. This one’s really fun because you get the chance to create a whole new backstory for your character using just the little bit of info from the original story. Have fun creating and I’ll talk to you next time!

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Filed under Creative, Dialogue, Ideas, Writing