What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that traditionally accompanies your CV when submitting an application to work in Digital PR. It is essentially an additional layer of information to help the business learn about you, your background, what you can do and why you believe the role is a good fit.
It enables individuals to sell themselves in greater detail than they can in a CV, all whilst explaining how your particular experience, skills and abilities match neatly with what the employer is looking for. They are typically a page long, but you should be wary since some agencies specify that they should be longer or shorter than this.
We've created a guide to help you create the perfect CV.
How to structure a digital PR cover letter
Part of writing the perfect digital PR cover letter is understanding how to structure it since this is key to ensuring you get all of the important information in your letter whilst also meeting the formalities required.
Paragraph one: Opening & introduction
Throughout the first paragraph, you want to address the hiring manager directly and set out why you are writing the letter, which particular position you are applying for, where it was advertised and your notice period. You should also very briefly introduce yourself within the introductory aspect of your letter.
Paragraph two: Your skills & experience
Within the second paragraph, you want to explain how your experience and skills are relevant to those listed in the job description and the specific digital PR role you are applying for. When doing this, you should give clear and concise examples to support your claims, since this will provide you with the opportunity to showcase your achievements and skills whilst also demonstrating your suitability. The key thing to remember is that this will be reviewed alongside your CV, so go beyond what you mention there.
Read our glossary to understand key job description terms.
Paragraph three: Why do you think you’d be a good fit?
Now that you have listed your skills and experience, you want to go further in explaining why you feel that you would be an asset to this particular team, at this particular company, for this particular role. At this point, you should draw upon aspects of the job description to clearly demonstrate that you meet their criteria. Here you may also want to explain why you are attracted to this particular role and why you want to pursue the position at this particular business or agency.
Paragraph four: Conclude your letter
To conclude your letter, you will first need a closing paragraph. These tend to be very short but are used to thank the hiring team for their time and consideration before saying that you are looking forward to hearing back from them in the near future.
After closing it like this, you should formally sign off with your name.
What is a digital PR hiring manager looking for in a cover letter?
An Engaging Opening: When looking through countless cover letters from applicants, hiring teams want you to distinguish yourself from other candidates early on, since this will suggest to them that you are worth finding out more about. It will also demonstrate that you have the essential skills required to sell yourselves and your story in minimal words, something you will need to do well as a digital PR.
In particular, we recommend luring the reader in with your first sentence, or first few sentences, since this will set a tone for the rest of your cover letter and make your application memorable.
In fact, Reboot’s Managing Director, Shai Arahony, says that:
"Digital PR is all about getting your work to stand out of the crowd. A cover letter is your opportunity to demonstrate this ability to the interviewer. You should treat it as a content baiting opportunity. Ensure the first sentence has a great hook to lure us in and encourages us to read the full cover letter. If you manage to do that successfully, it will most likely overshadow any other shortcomings in your education or work experience on the CV itself."
Passion and Interest: Recruitment managers will look for clear evidence of an interest in the field and a willingness to learn from applicants. In order to succeed in Digital PR, or a digital PR agency, you need to be proactive, passionate and well-read in the field.
A good way to demonstrate this through your Cover Letter is to discuss specific campaigns that have attracted you to the field, particularly where these are from the company you are applying for.
Evidence of Relevant Experience: Hiring managers will also want to see proof of relevant experience noted throughout your CV. However, you need not worry if you have never had a digital PR based role before, since many of the skills and experience involved can be picked up from other roles, and many good digital marketing agencies will offer exceptional training to teach you the ropes anyway.
If you need to have experience managing a team, you don’t necessarily need to have been a digital PR manager in your last role. Instead, it can be something as simple as having completed a leadership role as part of a university society, or working as a supervisor in retail, for example.
A Desire To Work For The Company: One of the biggest things a hiring manager looks for is a genuine desire to be a part of their business. For example, you need to show a strong understanding of their values, their field of work and the kind of services that they offer.
You can show a genuine interest in the company by completing lots of research beforehand and discussing this in your cover letter. For example, what kind of clients do they work with? What kind of environment do they work in? How big is their team? What awards have they got? Is it a collaborative environment? How do they present themselves on social media?
The Required Skills: As with any job, recruiters will expect to see evidence of your required skills throughout your cover letter. For example, if you are expected to be familiar with research, you may want to explain a time where you had a particularly successful research project and how you executed it. Similarly, if you need to demonstrate effective communication skills, discuss how you have developed these in previous experiences, such as in an earlier role.
Many of the required skills for Digital PR roles are transferable, which means that you have developed them in other jobs and when completing other tasks. When describing why you will be a good fit for the role within your cover letter, be sure to give these examples and explain their relevance to the position you are applying for.
Creativity: Digital PR is an exciting field to work in and requires that you show plenty of initiative and creativity to succeed. Therefore, it is often a good idea, mainly where companies have expressed their openness to the idea, to craft a creative cover letter and CV. There are plenty of creative CV ideas out there, but it is important to make yours original and memorable to hiring staff.
Naomi Arahony, the Managing Director of Reboot’s believes that creativity is key when creating a cover letter or CV:
"Many CV's look generic, so we look for a stand out CV and Cover Letter that grabs our attention. I would avoid using templates, unclear fonts or long formats. Instead, be creative, individual and to the point. We are looking for your personality to shine through and this has to be reflected clearly in order to be noticed, particularly in the digital PR field where creativity is a must-have skill.”
Consider what the company stands for, what kind of documents they are familiar with, what kind of campaigns you can draw upon and what their branding is like to inspire your cover letter and CV format.
Here’s some advice from our Creative Director, Abby Chinery, about making the perfect cover letter when applying to work in Digital PR at Reboot:
"Many candidates do not consider their cover letter to be very important, and consequently do not spend a lot of time on it. This leads to their cover letter being overlooked by employers since it is often so clearly rushed, and carbon copied from job application to job application.
When you consider that employers must sift through hundreds of cover letters, you soon understand the importance of making yours stand out. For me, I like to see signs of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – whether that be with the design of the cover letter or, even better, the content.
As a marketing agency, we aren’t looking for stuffy, corporate cover letters – rather I’d prefer to see real reasons why they think a career in Digital PR appeals to them, examples of when they’ve had to be creative in the past – and importantly that they have a firm understanding of what we do here. I’m not only looking to get a feel for whether they’d be able to do the job, but I also want to see a candidate’s personality shine through their cover letter too, this will help me gauge whether they would be a good cultural fit here at Reboot.”