Work Samples and Cover Letter- Tips and Tricks

Notes from a “How to Create a Work Sample/Cover Letter” Workshop by Grant Byington, writer extraordinaire:

Work Samples

  • 3 samples is the magic number
  • Beyond resume, first thing an employer requires to make a decision
  • Work samples are the “test drive” for the interviewer
  • In a screening process, they push the door open to interview
  • Keep a copy of work samples in an interview just in case
  • Short, self-contained work is the best kind of sample
    •    Can be read in one sitting
    • If it is formatted or designed, that is ideal
    •  If it’s in a magazine/booklet/brochure/etc, then that is awesome.
  • Have interesting, timely topic
    • Topics that relate to the past ain’t that great. Ones that are in the present are best
  • If something has been written that is applicable to a job that I’m applying for, include it
  • If something hasn’t been written, demonstrate that you can write that type of thing
  • Designed sample
    •  Your best choice
    •  Obtain permission from the person who commissioned the work
    •  If there is designed work, then have high-resolution files
    •   Print pieces ONLY if on website. Send URLs under separate cover
  • Formatted samples
    •  Still good choice
    • Use standard formatting
      •   1 inch margins
      • Calibri or Times New Roman 12pt
      •  Use header and footer for easy identication
    • White paper, black ink
  • NO:
    •  Hand-written work
    • Work in progress
  • Read stuff backwards to catch every word
  • Read it outloud
  • It is sometimes okay to show work done with a group

Cover Letter

  • Follow a business letter format
  • Why you’re writing someone
  • Refer to stuff on works and resume
  • And why you’re an ideal candidate for the job
  • Be personal without being too informal
  • Gives them a sense of what to do next about me
  • Have a call to action

Check out Grant Byington and his blog: http://www.grantbyington.com/