Think you don’t need a cover letter if you’re applying for a graphic designer job because your CV and portfolio will do all the hard work for you? Think again! Why? Because while your CV and portfolio are great for showing what you’ve done in the past and what you can do, it’s your cover letter that really gives an employer an insight into who you are as a candidate and why you’re applying for the job.
*On this page, you can find our top Dos and Don’ts for your graphic design cover letter – and when you’ve got yours up to scratch, don’t forget to check out our graphic design jobs page to see what vacancies are currently up for grabs.*
Just like your CV, your cover letter is your chance to show off your creativity – so don’t be scared to take a chance if you think it’s going to work in your favour. Have a look at the brand’s current graphics and branding and try and bear this in mind when crafting your cover letter. Incorporating their branding and style into your cover letter shows that you’re already familiar with their brand and style – and it also demonstrates that you already have the capabilities and desire to create graphics and associated materials for their brand.
Similarly, don’t be scared to switch up the format to reflect the role you’re applying for. For example, if the role involves making lots of leaflets and posters, why not create your cover letter in one of those formats? Again, if shows off your creativity and your knowledge of the role.
While it can be tempting to go all out and make outlandish claims in your cover letter, it’s important to stick to the truth – because lies always find you out at some point down the line – and normally at the worst possible time! If they’re looking for someone who’s an expert in Photoshop but you’re only really an amateur, then it’s not really a good idea to get your friend to create an amazing cover letter on Photoshop for you. Why? Because they’ll think you’ve done it – and you could end up getting an interview on the back of someone else’s talent.
Show Off Your Personality
While an employer is obviously going to look at a candidate’s skills and experience first and foremost, they’ll also consider a candidate’s personality to ensure they not only fit with the brand but the rest of the team too. That said; it’s a good idea to try and portray your personality in your cover letter to try and give the employer an insight into who you are as a candidate away from the office. Look at the words they use to describe their brand and if any of these fit with your personality eg. honest, reliable etc, be sure to stick these in your cover letter. Why? Because this shows that as an individual you’re already aligned with their values and you share a lot of their beliefs, which should help to show the employer that you’d immediately fit in with their company.
Mention Skills Or Experience You Don’t Have
As I mentioned earlier, it’s no good demonstrating techniques you don’t have on your cover letter – and the same goes for listing skills which you don’t actually possess. At the end of the day, if you’ve got no experience in creating outdoor display advertising then it’s going to become apparent pretty quickly if that’s what 99% of the role involves. While fibbing might land you the job in the first place, it could also lose you the job just as quickly – and getting and losing a job in a short space of time is going to be tricky to explain to a potential new employer.
Share All Your Ideas At Once
While you want to show an employer that you’ve got new ideas for their business and branding, you want to be careful not to give all of your ideas away in your cover letter – you want to give them a reason to meet you and find out more! That said; you could briefly touch on your thoughts in your cover letter – and then say you’d be happy to discuss these in more detail should you be invited to an interview. This shows the employer that you’re taking this application seriously and you’ve already thought about what type of work you’d want to produce should you get the role.
Pitch It Wrong
OK, so you might have an ultra-relaxed writing style which came in handy with your last employer – but if the brand you’re applying to is really corporate, then a casual cover letter isn’t going to cut it. While it’s important to try and portray your personality, it’s also important to show you know what the brand stands for and to pitch your cover letter accordingly. If in doubt, have a look at the brand’s website, current marketing material or even recent press releases to see how the brand and its employees describe themselves.