When your short-form writing expertise revolves around power-packed imagery and less-is-more language, a marketing cover letter might seem like the most lackluster medium for showing prospective new employers what you can do.
Nonetheless, cover letters remain a widely accepted way for job applicants in virtually all fields to reach out to their next potential employer. How can you take advantage of this opportunity to get your creativity noticed? How can you capture your marketing genius in 200 to 400 words?
Resume.io is the right place to turn for expert advice and support. Our job-winning resources include a wide selection of occupation-specific writing guides and free cover letter examples.
This writing guide, along with the corresponding example of a marketing cover letter, will show you how to:
- Appreciate the importance of a cover letter
- Structure your cover letter to include all the necessary components
- Convey the value of your marketing skills to maximum effect in each cover letter section: header, greeting, introduction, body and conclusion
- Showcase your marketing accomplishments and their relevance to the new position you are seeking
- Understand and appeal to the psychology of what makes someone hire a marketing professional
- Avoid the most common cover letter writing mistakes made by job seekers in all occupations
Why you need a marketing cover letter: what are the core considerations?
You might think that writing a cover letter — sometimes called an application letter — would be second nature to a marketing specialist. But the nature of modern marketing finds some job seekers in this occupation ill-equipped for the task or preferring to skip it altogether.
With a portfolio of online work samples to your credit, it may be tempting to try more creative ways of grabbing a hiring manager’s attention.
Given the dazzling variety of modern marketing approaches and proliferation of social media, in addition to more traditional methods, the clichéd requirement of creativity for a marketing professional has never been more important.
Unlike a lengthy Twitter thread, every word of your marketing cover letter could very well be read carefully — a possibility that many marketing experts may find incredibly exciting.
This is not the “splatter some paint on a canvas and call it art” kind of creativity. To make the most of their time and resources, marketing professionals need a laser focus on their customers and a paint-by-numbers approach to getting their message out there in varying ways. Each medium requires a different version and delivery of the desired message, and each audience has different preferences for consuming their information.
Conveying this “rational creativity” must be at the heart of any marketing resume and cover letter. It might be art with a surgical precision and a dispassionate analytical eye, but it is still art. Getting people to feel what you want them to feel is a key business challenge. You need to go beyond saying “I am creative.” After all, that is not very creative in itself.
Describe some of your successful marketing projects that have required a wildly creative approach. Talk about results that will make the reader wonder how you make them happen. Give readers a sense of magic and wonder when reading your cover letter. If your dream employer wonders, ”Wow, how did this marketing whiz do that?” the impact of your creativity will be implicit.
Create a portfolio website with some of your projects
While your marketing cover letter definitely won’t allow enough space to elaborate on your creative exploits, this is the place to awaken the recruiter’s interest in discovering more. Make it easy and inviting to visit a website that provides more detail about your work.
You can link to social media campaigns, display visuals and share some of your longer-form writing samples. This accompaniment to your resume and cover letter descriptions can really bring your expertise to light. As an online portfolio, this type of website need not be complicated —– just a one-pager with images and some links.
While creativity is essential and relatively easy to demonstrate in your marketing cover letter, it is not enough to set you apart from other job candidates. Organizational skills and effective communication lie at the core of every great marketing professional’s asset mix. The nature of marketing means that doing more is always possible, but it's easy to fall into the trap of being a busy fool. Taking on too much and not delivering on any of it will result in a hot communication mess that confuses rather than inspires.
Assuring future employers that your communication and organizational strengths will prevent this from happening is imperative. So sprinkle descriptors that center around communication and organization throughout your resume and cover letter. Although cover letter real estate is at a premium, a sentence affirming how much you value these attributes is well worth it. Saying so explicitly leaves no room for lingering doubts in the hiring manager’s mind before scheduling an interview with you.
Looking for additional inspiration for cover letter writing? Check out our other marketing-related cover letter examples and writing guides:
- Digital Marketing cover letter sample
- Marketing Manager cover letter sample
- Social Media Manager cover letter sample
- Writer cover letter sample
- Marketing Coordinator cover letter sample
- Event Coordinator cover letter sample
- Public Relations cover letter sample
- Event Manager cover letter sample
- Marketing Assistant cover letter sample
- Brand Ambassador cover letter sample
- Copywriter cover letter sample
Best format for a marketing cover letter: what it should look like
The structure of your message will help determine its impact, which is why appearance matters when you create a marketing cover letter. While conveying as much creativity as possible, it should follow a conventional structure consistent with the recruitment process itself. It makes sense that hiring managers will have certain expectations of where to find certain information.
Let’s look at the best format for structuring your marketing cover letter to include these components:
- The cover letter header
- The greeting
- The introduction
- The letter body
- The conclusion
- The signature.
In addition to this marketing-specific guide, Resume.io shares further advice in our comprehensive guide to writing cover letters - it is worth a read.
The cover letter header
As previously suggested, certain aspects of your marketing cover letter should remain mundanely practical. Just as you would include contact details at the end of a blog, your cover letter header must contain all the required information should a reader want to connect with or find out more about you.
Resist the urge to be overly creative in the header; stay away from fancy fonts or other means of attracting more attention than necessary.
But do keep in mind the header's useful dual purpose — giving readers a few seconds of mental headspace to collect their thoughts and get ready to digest the cover letter's main messages.
Goal of the cover letter header: A practical formality for identifying you and making it easy for the recruiter to learn more and follow up.
The cover letter greeting
In the same way that effective marketing messages reflect your understanding of the target audience, a successful marketing cover letter demonstrates your best effort to address the recipient as directly and personally as possible.
The traditionally formal “Dear Mr. / Ms. Surname” is still the greeting of choice. But if you are unable to find out the name of the hiring manager or HR contact, writing “Dear Company Name Hiring Manager” or “Dear Marketing Position Hiring Team” is preferable to the colder “To Whom It May Concern.” Marketing is a people-first occupation, so injecting personalized warmth into the greeting is a good way to start off your letter.
Do your research and consider the corporate culture of your future employer. How would you imagine their clients being addressed in formal communications? That is the tone that you should be seeking to strike.
Goal of the cover letter greeting: Make the right choice of targeted personal connection to set the tone of your letter.
Dear Ms Berger,
The cover letter introduction
Marketing professionals know that first impressions count. The people reading your cover letter introduction anticipate you will be bringing out the big guns in these first couple of lines, so make sure not to disappoint.
If you fail to write anything impressive, or at least engaging, in your cover letter introduction or resume summary, then the reader’s interest will likely wane rapidly. Grab the attention of hiring decision-makers and come up with something that puts you in a favorable class of your own.
Provide a snapshot of an award-winning marketing campaign or the messaging that you helped a famous brand to reinvent. Pleasantly surprise potential employers with an accomplishment that they might not have thought was possible, so their imagination runs wild. Make them wonder what else you might be capable of achieving.
Pick the one career story that you want to talk about most in your interview and then package it in an irresistible cover letter introduction.
Goal of the cover letter introduction: Make it impossible for the recipient to stop reading or stop thinking about your potential value to the employer.
Having surveyed over 8,000 pet owners in a previous role, I understand that it doesn’t matter whether you own a tarantula or a turtle: what animals need and what their owners think that they need can differ wildly. How pets make people feel is one of my obsessions and something that I explore with the 52,000 subscribers on my weekly blog. Understanding customers - both animal and human - is central to my marketing success.
The cover letter middle section (body)
The body of a marketing cover letter must send a couple of clear messages about the writer’s ability to communicate powerfully and effectively. Neither style nor substance can be compromised in this showcase for your marketing talent in action.
If the reader doesn’t come away thinking, “Yes, those are the reasons why I will hire that person,” then your cover letter has fallen short in the middle section.
With so much to say about your career, the discipline it takes to do so sparingly but effectively in your cover letter is a tall order. Stick to your two most relevant and impactful stories that will make your future employer sit up and pay attention. Tell them with emotion and leave recruiters wanting to hear more in an interview.
Do hint at your soft and hard skills within each story you tell. Sell your achievements and experience where possible, but don’t let the detail detract from the message. Be clear about what you want to say and why you want to say it.
Goal of the cover letter body: Convey your understanding as a marketing professional that how you write something is almost as important as the content itself.
In the Marketing Manager role at Chewy, you will need someone who has experience delivering monthly new ranges with engaging communications and viral marketing, someone who can write articles to rank at the very top of the Google listings and who can help pet parents to realize their dreams of making their little darling’s life that little bit more pleasant.
My five years at Petco were rewarding; but I am now moving to Dania Beach and hope that this speculative letter and resume might spark some interest. Judge me on my results:
- Increased toys and grooming traffic by 320% and conversion rate from 9% to 16%.
- Wrote over 80 articles and moved our average Google ranking from #7 to #2.
- Compiled product marketing strategies and tactical roadmaps for all categories.
- My award-winning “pet parenting” blog drives significant traffic for my employer.
Analytical decision-making and meticulous research are key to signposting success in an industry where emotions can cloud judgement. While I have worked my whole career in pet care, I do not own a pet myself as I believe that dispassionate thought is at the heart of making great marketing decisions. Having said that, I have a soft spot for bunnies.
The cover letter conclusion and signature
As with any marketing message, it is important to anticipate the impact on your audience. The final lines of your marketing cover letter will last longer than any other part in the reader's memory, so it is vital to judge the tone of your call to action correctly.
It should sound self-assured enough to convey your belief in what you are saying, but it cannot verge on arrogance. Show this employer that you understand what the job entails and leave them with one final reason to give your resume a closer look.
Let the hiring manager know that you are available for an interview at any time. Maybe leave a link to your creative portfolio or just express that you are keen to work with this employer. Positivity goes a long way in starting off a relationship.
Finally, sign off with “Sincerely,” or “Best regards,” or "Best," above your name.
Goal of the cover letter conclusion and signature: End with a confident and powerful call to action that backs up your core messages.
If you are interested in finding out more, I would welcome an interview to discuss how I will inspire your customers and delight their pets.
Writing psychology – marketing cover letter tools and strategies
When a hiring manager is reading your cover letter, certain psychological buttons must be pressed for you to be considered an impressive candidate.
The following five aspects of your marketing experience should ideally come across:
- Customer focus: Understanding the needs and wants of your target customer is key to marketing. Your cover letter should show that you can apply the same analytical techniques in understanding the demands of the role in question.
- Creativity: Critical and creative thinking set the very best marketeers apart, as they always find the most optimal ways to get their messages out into the world. Find ways to highlight your innovative thinking in your cover letter writing.
- Data analysis: Data-driven marketing leads to the best outcomes. You gather and interpret the data, measure the metrics, come up with relevant insights and present the findings in a visually powerful way. Critical keywords in this regard belong in your marketing cover letter.
- Soft skills: Polished communication skills and a carefully honed emotional intelligence allow marketing professionals to get things done and influence others. Show that you can solve problems and that you are adaptable in finding solutions.
- Campaign management: Project management and delegation skills are key to making things happen. Your cover letter should convey how well you manage others to achieve your objectives.
Using pull marketing in your job search
The concept of “pull marketing” is common in a world dominated by social media. You build a strong brand and communicate your value proposition by attracting customers with compelling content. This generates demand, boosting sales and the number of loyal customers. In many ways, your cover letter and resume are your personal marketing collateral.
Your marketing cover letter may be read by a wide range of people you hope to influence to take action. You want them to call you and invite you for an interview. You want your marketing messages to steer interviewers in the right direction and prompt them to ask the questions you want to answer.
Pull marketing should elicit a reaction. In a job search context, it is the only part of the process that applicants truly control. You decide how your resume and cover letter look and you decide how they are written. The rest is a reaction to those communication media. That is why it is so important to get every aspect right.
To understand how to influence all potential employers, you must demonstrate solid market research skills. Make sure that you fit their plan rather than them fitting yours. You are in control of showing that you meet their requirements. Entice your next employer with every marketing trick in the book.
Mistakes to avoid with your marketing cover letter
While much of the advice in this guide is marketing-related, we should point out some of the basic mistakes that commonly appear in cover letters across all occupations. Of course, marketing professionals should avoid these at all costs.
- Overpromising is dangerous. Less-than-truthful descriptions of your marketing successes can lead to embarrassment at the interview stage, when you might be held accountable. Keep it real.
- Personalize without getting too personal. Rarely will you know the hiring manager personally, so don’t be too familiar in the cover letter. Be vivacious and eager, but err on the side of a formal tone and maintain a professional distance at this introductory stage.
- Don’t go mad with adjectives. Effective communication is perfectly possible without an overwhelming stream of adjectives to dilute the impact of your stories. Concise communication is critical in marketing. If you don’t need to embellish with adjectives, don’t.
- Pay attention to formatting details. The smallest mistake in marketing copy or delivery can last much longer in a reader's memory than the message. Make sure that there are no spelling, grammatical or formatting errors, as they will reflect badly on you.
Key takeaways for a marketing cover letter
- Show off your short-form communication skills with powerful messaging.
- Create a targeted “paint by numbers” career story for your cover letter.
- Don’t let practical essentials, such as contact information and other details, be sacrificed by your creativity.
- Ensure that you are pressing all the right marketing behavioral buttons.
- Make sure that your application letter is designed to “pull in" the right employers.
As an essential accompaniment to your marketing resume, an effective cover letter brings your dream marketing job one step closer. Resume.io can make the writing part easier with its cover letter builder and collection of ready-made and carefully market-researched templates in four design categories: Simple, Professional, Modern and Creative. Simply click on one you like and start writing.