Cover Letter Before and After

What goes into a Cover Letter? Take a look at our overview for a step-by-step guide as to what goes where

Revision of your materials is essential to your success as a job applicant. Take a look at our examples below to see how you can improve your materials and test your knowledge of putting together successful job application materials. 

Before Cover Letter Example:

Look at the example below of a cover letter that needs some revision. What do you think could be improved about this cover letter based on the example above?

Dear Marco,

I write to express my interest in the marketing assisant at your company. With my past experiences and future goals, I am an excellent candidate for this position.

I have a PhD in the History of Visual Art and Culture from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I have taken classes in the history of Japanese Visual Culture, Asian-American Art, and the intersection between political theory and art. I was also an intern at the Carmel Valley historical society.

I would like to make use of my PhD in a community arts setting such as at your organization.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Job Applicant

What is working and what could be improved?

  • This letter reads like a standard message that has been mass mailed to many companies. There’s nothing specific about the company (what is the company? This writer doesn’t mention it) and why this person wants to work there. There’s also nothing specific about what skills this person brings to the job. The skills this person does mention are attributes that are probably (and should have already been) mentioned on their resume.
  • Likewise, this letter has little personal style in how it’s written and doesn’t communicate any enthusiasm for the company. You have an entire page for your cover letter—try to use it as much as you can.
  • On a more logistical level, there needs to be a date on this letter. Also, when you address who you’re applying to you need to address them by Ms./Mrs./Mr./Dr.—not by their first name alone. But it’s great that this example is addressed to someone specific rather than simply “To Whom it May Concern.”
  • It seems like this applicant may have a lot to offer this position but they haven’t gone in-depth enough to uncover why they would be a good fit for this position and why they’ve applied in the first place to this specific organization in this specific role.

After Cover Letter Example:

Look at the example below after some changes have been made. What differences do you notice between this one and the last?

January 12, 2021

Dear Dr. Marco Riloto,

I write to express my interest in Marketing Assistant position at the Asian Visual Arts Department at the Vancouver Center for Culture. I am a great candidate for this position because of my knowledge of Asian visual culture, communication and teamwork skills, and passion for community arts. My resume and writing sample are also attached in this package.

As a recent graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz’s History of Art and Visual Culture’s PhD program, I am aware of not only the merits of your particular collection but also the larger conversation surrounding Asian visual arts on the western North American coast and can bring this expertise to our marketing. I can uniquely assist your department and translate the cultural importance of your collection to a larger audience through marketing and online content. In addition to my academic work, I have also worked for two years as the marketing intern at the Carmel Historical Society where I have coordinated in a team with museum managers, curators, and funding sources to brainstorm publicity ideas and created online content. While I can work in a team, I can also work alone as well. For instance in the same position, I often worked with Adobe, Scalable Vector Graphics, and Canva on my own as well.

I am interested in this position for several reasons, but most of all I am driven to apply for this position because of my passion for Asian art and bringing communities together. Since I first visited your museum during the first year of my PhD program I have been inspired by your museum’s mission. The Vancouver Center for Culture’s commitment to maintaining a diverse and eclectic museum with rotating museum exhibits that focus on underrepresented artistic cultures in the West compliment what I most believe in as an arts enthusiast and motivated me to work on my doctoral degree in the first place.

It would be a delight to be able to bring my interest and passion for Asian arts and experience in marketing to your department so that I can help more visitors discover your museum. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and I look forward to speaking with you in the future.

All the best,

Job Applicant

What is working and what could be improved?

  • This cover letter has improved several aspects of the previous letter. In this cover letter we can see more of the applicant’s enthusiasm and we better understand what this person has done in their past experiences that make them a solid candidate for this job. The candidate also reveals information that a resume does not share such as the candidate’s personal and vested passion for Asian arts and their ability to work both in a team and on their own. LIkewise, the applicant has also included a date and properly addressed to whom they are applying.
  • Furthermore, this letter also has a much greater style and persuasive effect than the previous letter.
  • While this applicant would still want to proofread this letter and share it with a colleague or friend for their thoughts, this letter is a substantial improvement and attempts to follow our tips for creating a compelling and engaging cover letter.

Do you need help with your application materials? Make an appointment with one of our Career Counselors today!