Don’t Write Alone | Shop Talk

Writing a Cover Letter for a Job in the Publishing Industry

For Application Week, Catapult staffers share some of their old cover letters in hopes of providing insight into applying for positions in the writing world.

This cover letter was written by someone applying to an internship position at Catapult. Some of the takeaways left in red annotations are that the letter is clearly written, without typos, but that it doesn't really provide any new information that wasn't on the author's resume already.
Cover letter for an internship position at Catapult

The document is a cover letter submitted for an editorial fellowship role at an unspecified general-interest magazine (the name of the magazine has been redacted from the letter). The letter describes the applicant's educational history, graduate education, and editorial experience. The typed letter has been annotated by the applicant in black ink, highlighting the aspects of the letter that provide strong evidence for skills relevant to the position and highlighting the ones that do not, and offering an overall assessment of the letter's effectiveness.
Cover letter for an unnamed editorial fellowship

The document is a cover letter in which the applicant asks to be considered for the role of Managing Editor at Catapult Magazine. In the letter, he describes his previous editorial role as a social media strategist and editorial lead at BuzzFeed Philippines, provides samples of the kind of work he has edited, and expresses an interest in joining the digital team at Catapult . The typed letter has been annotated by the applicant with handwritten notes in blue and brown ink, highlighting and commenting on the strengths of the cover letter, flagging the areas where the applicant might have been more specific, and offering an overall positive assessment of the letter's success and key takeaways.
Cover letter for a managing editor position at Catapult

This cover letter was written for an internship at Copper Canyon Press. Overall, the author expresses (in annotations written in purple pen) that they effectively demonstrated knowledge of the press and their current titles, but there were several instances in the letter that felt as if they were repetitive considering the resume that was sent in with this letter.
Cover letter for an internship at Copper Canyon Press

This cover letter was used to apply for a publishing and administrative position at Catapult. The author notes in typed annotations that while this cover letter did end up getting them the job, there are some things they felt could have been written more clearly. In particular, they flag that instead of sharing general familiarity with Catapult's book list, they could have picked one title to dive into more deeply and share a connection with. Additionally, they felt that a line at the end of the cover letter, which reads that books are the author's passion is very general and commonly expressed and they could have done a better job to be more creative and specific to themselves.

Cover letter for a publishing and administrative assistant position at Catapult