News flash! Cover letter gets student an interview!

Megan Cassidy shared her “before the makeover” cover letter in class this morning.

We didn’t show you the rewrite because I was trying to cover so much ground too quickly. Here’s an excerpt:

Dear Ms. ______,

On an uneventful Thursday earlier this semester, an exasperated Missourian editor held up a sheet of paper and asked our newsroom a rhetorical, defeated question: “Why didn’t we know about this?!”

It was a printout of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article from that day about University Hospital’s internal medicine residency program being placed on probation for failing to adhere to national guidelines. It was a bona fide scoop about the University of Missouri — clearly our turf.

After having my emails and phone calls ignored by officials, I drove up to the hospital with a vague plan for a charm ambush. Upon arrival, I persuaded an administrative assistant to (literally) slide me a sheet of paper that named a former chief resident who “ran the program into the ground,” as she put it.

After telling the media relations officer’s assistant that I would wait until he was “back from a meeting in a few hours” he mysteriously showed up 20 minutes later and consented to an interview.

I gathered facts and discovered errors in the rival article. But I was also able to find out the specific reason for the probation – something that hadn’t been shared with any other reporter who’d called that day, my editor told me later. From my research on the accreditation website before I left for the interview, I was also able to question the officer on a contradiction he had made about the timing of when the probation could be lifted.

It’s not the only time in this semester at ColumbiaMissourian.com that I have used my powers of persuasion, energy and focus to get a story. I refuse to talk around an issue and make sure I have used every online and traditional resource before drafting my official questions. I am proficient with researching via social media, ProfNet and myriad other sources.

Prior to returning to graduate school, I worked as a writer/editor for the education section of Vault.com, a career information website. I have additionally written more colorful content for American Cheerleader Magazine and BulldogReporter.com.

I would love the opportunity to put these research and writing skills to work with the editors of National Geographic. I have traveled as extensively as my budget has allowed in the past few years and view NG as the gold standard of deep international reporting and photojournalism.

I am available for an interview or to provide writing samples at your request.

Here’s the beauty part: She sent the letter yesterday. Today she got a call for an interview.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to News flash! Cover letter gets student an interview!

  1. Asif Lakhani says:

    Congratulations, Megan. Your letter is entertaining yet informative and clearly showcases your writing talent. Best of luck to you in your interview.

    My only question is at the end where you said you’re able to provide writing samples at request. Did NG not ask for them beforehand? Is that common with a lot of publications?

  2. Ben Frentzel says:

    Again, the story rocks! I kept reading because it was suspenseful, interesting and lead me to desire the conclusion. Nice job.

  3. National Geographic, wow! Best of luck. That job would be amazing.

  4. Wow! I’m so excited for Megan! Even the honor of having an interview is an accomplishment to be proud of. With a cover letter like that, it’s no wonder they wanted to talk to her!

  5. kebedefaith says:

    I’m in shock. Way to go, Megan!

  6. Dustin says:

    Congrats, Megan! NG is awesome.

  7. rosiedowney says:

    What a great letter! I am really impressed with Megan’s tenacity in going after her dream job. Quite an inspiration 🙂

  8. Aimee Gutshall says:

    Great job Megan! I like your cover letter. Giving them an example of how you perform as a writer was excellent.

    I noticed at the end of the cover letter you added this:

    I would love the opportunity to put these research and writing skills to work with the editors of National Geographic. I have traveled as extensively as my budget has allowed in the past few years and view NG as the gold standard of deep international reporting and photojournalism.

    My only question: Should we try in cover letters to point out more extensively why we think we would be a good fit for their company (like stated above) or should it be more about ourselves as writers?

    Just a little food for thought!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s