Cover Letters

The hardest part of applying to jobs? Cover letters.

Getting the resume up to date (1x): 30 minutes
Making sure reference list is okay (1x): 20 minutes
Looking up a job, reading requirements: 10 minutes
Wondering if this job is right for you: 15 minutes
Writing a cover letter: 1-2 hours
Actually applying: 2 minutes

Sure, there are more time-intensive things. The phone interviews and actual interviews can last for an hour or more. But they happen at an elevated point in the whole process: when things are looking good. When you’ve been contacted because the company has seen something in you.

When you have to write a cover letter, especially for a company you’ve never heard of, you need to do research. Find the person who might handle your letter. Become familiar with the products the company has. Learn what makes the company unique.

If I wanted to work for Square-Enix, Nintendo, or Atlas, it’s simple. I’ve had such a long history with those companies that a cover letter can practically flow from the heart. But when it’s a small, up-and-coming studio with a couple live mobile games, it’s harder. As much as I believe I have something to offer those companies, I know that the amount of research I need to do is loads more.

The hardest part is applying for companies in which you lack some of the requirements for the position. Because while a cover letter might be the thing that brings your strengths to the attention of the company, there’s also a chance that the company will never see it when they find out you lack in some key area. And spending hours on a cover letter nobody will see is a tough proposition. Never mind the fact that some position might be filled and the job remains on the board accidentally or a company might only be hiring internally, and your cover letter means nothing to them.

But, not writing one is even worse. At least a cover letter does boost someone’s chance. Guess I’d better get on this next one…

If you can’t tell, I’ve been applying to jobs recently. Wish me luck.

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