Game Journalism Business Basics

How to write a cover letter to get your dream game journalism job

If you're looking to break into video game journalism, your resume and cover letter are two of the most important tools in your arsenal. They're the first contact you'll have with a prospective hiring manager/editor, so if you nail it, you're halfway there.

Cover letters are an elevator pitch for...well, for you! They tell potential employers the most important things about you, including your personality and work experience, and will make or break your chances at landing a job. A well-written cover letter can show that you're serious about video game writing as a career.

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General Advice about Writing a Cover Letter

When writing a cover letter for a video game journalism job, it's important to tailor your letter to the specific position you're applying for. Make sure to highlight any relevant experience or skills you have that would make you a good fit for the job.

The goal of a cover letter is to get the reader to want more. You don't do that by giving them all of the information they need, you just give them what's relevant and exciting and let them fill in the blanks. This is especially crucial if you're just starting out in freelance game writing.

Think of it like the beginning of a mystery novel where a shadowy figure darts behind a curtain. It's the "glint of something shiny in his hand" that makes us want to know more. Was it a knife? A lighter? Better keep reading to find out.

 With cover letters you drop a few choice words and let the hiring manager conjure the rest. You even say phrases that are actually in the job post you're applying to. Don't think of it as writing about your experience: it's describing the person a hiring manager wants to hire through the lens of your experience.

 Cover letters are short, punchy, and filled with information that invites questions. Think from the hiring manager's perspective and make it as easy as possible for them to justify interviewing you and eventually hiring you.

How to Structure a Cover Letter

Intro - Your name, contact info, and a brief line saying hello.

 1st paragraph - 3-4 sentences

  • A high-level summary of your experience. Just hit the most impressive stuff that's directly relevant to the job you're applying to. If you're applying to a game reviewing job, mention the opinion pieces and news articles you've written, but focus mainly on the reviews.

 2nd paragraph - 2-3 sentences

  • Pivot from talking about you to talking about the job. Specifically, why your experience fills needs the hiring manager has in mind.

 3rd paragraph - 1-2 sentences

  • A short closing paragraph. Tell them your resume is attached, that you're open for an interview at their convenience, and thank them for your time.

What to Include with Your Cover Letter

Did the job opening ask for writing samples and a resume? Send writing samples and a resume. Did it ask for a 150 word cover letter and nothing else? Send a 150 word cover letter and NOTHING ELSE. Hiring managers know they can get more information if they want/need it. Your job is to show you read the job post and are ready to work.

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