Applying to an online game writing job? Better make a good first impression! The query/cover letter is the e-mail you send to a publication that introduces yourself, outlines a brief history of your work experience, and convinces them you’re writer for the job. Here are a few common mistakes freelancers make when crafting cover letters for online job openings. Avoid them and you’re one step closer to a perfect query!
Focusing on the negatives – A perfect example of this is the all-too-common “I’ve never written anything exactly like what you want, but…”. Know what else you haven’t done? Lived in a dome on the floor of the ocean. Nobody cares about what you can’t or haven’t done, especially not employers. If you see a phrase like this in your query, get rid of it.
Displaying a lack of confidence – Similar to the above, this is commonly seen in phrases like “I’m not sure I’m the right fit for this position, but…”. You know what? You’re right. Go find a game writing job elsewhere.
Too short/too long – As a general rule, your query letter for a freelance journalism job should be around 250 words. A little over is fine, a little under is better, just don’t deviate too much. Editors don’t have time to read a novel from every applicant, and if you only write a sentence or two, it’s obvious you didn’t take time to prepare your query.
If..then statements – You should never query a game review site and say something like “If you’re interested in hiring me, just e-mail and I’ll tell you about my experience”. No. No no no and no. Why would anyone be interested in hiring someone like that? Also, what do they even know about you?! Send a potential employer the information they need to know how good you are. Wow them with your awesomeness right up front!
Not following directions – Did the ad ask for a 150 word writing sample attached in jpg format? You should send a 150 word writing sample attached in jpg format. Not 151 words, and not a png file. Read the ad carefully and follow all of the directions.
Talking only about themselves – Sure, this is your query letter, but in order to sell yourself to the employer, you need to show how familiar you are with their site. Read some of their articles, find out what style they prefer or which games they love/hate. Working these things into your cover letter will go a long way to getting you the job.