Advice Clinic

How To Write A Covering Letter

15th March 2019

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The ability to scrawl your autograph onto fans’ body parts is not the only writing skill that will help you get ahead in music. If you’re gunning for a non-performance role – anywhere from a record label to a music marketing agency – then a great covering letter is the first toe towards a foot in the door. Here’s how to land your dream interview and avoid the dustbin.

Keep it concise

A standard job application will also include your CV, so you don’t need a deep-dive into your employment history in the covering letter. Essentially, all you’re doing here is introducing yourself and giving the headlines of why you have the skills, experience and personality to ace the role. Leave them tantalised and your prospective employer will be itching to flip over to your CV. Any more than an A4 page and they’ll turn your life-story into a paper aeroplane.

One size doesn’t fit all

It’s a colossal pain to tailor your covering letter for every job application you send out. It’s also absolutely essential. No two roles or companies are the same, so study the job advert and research the firm, then tweak (or transform) your covering letter to amplify the areas of your skill-set that suit that specific post. You wouldn’t write to Download Festival on Hello Kitty notepaper, and the same principle applies here.

Show some personality

This is showbiz. You don’t have to write in blood or include polaroids of yourself sinking Jägerbombs, but don’t come across like an applicant for a local mortuary. Every firm has an ethos and office culture, so look at the website, follow the Twitter feed, pick up the vibe and make yourself sound like someone they’ll want around. Without getting too stalkery, find the social media profile of the person who’ll read your letter, gauge their personality and adapt your covering letter.

Avoid the howlers

Led Zeppelin and Def Leppard can get away with typos. You can’t. If your covering letter – or CV – are sprinkled with inaccuracies, they’ll assume you’re the sort of person who’ll add a zero to a band’s royalties and bankrupt the record label. After you’ve written and checked the letter, leave it alone for a day, then come back and check it again. And if you know you’re a klutz, get a literate friend to do it for you.

Author

James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.