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  1. #1
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    Cover Letters from Hell

    Why is it important to develop your verbal/written communication skills along with your visual ones if you want a career as a professional artist? In the first place, they often go hand in hand, as you can see from the posts here at CA. Good artists tend to be good writers, even (especially?) those who aren't native English speakers. Secondly, in today's world your first, and often your only, contact with potential clients/employers will be in written form. One Chicago ad agency was so flabbergasted by the cover letters they were getting with résumés that they started posting select excerpts on their site.
    Some examples:
    "Who's better to spew out incite, than a college senior ... ?"
    "I also have a degree English which serves me well in editing text for poor grammer or typos."
    "I also want to obtain a deeper understanding of how Advertising firms."
    And of course...
    "I am seeking a new position as i have recently been laid."

    Much more (complete with snarky comments) on the site, along with this bit of advice:
    An error-free letter is now so rare that the minimal care required to send a letter with zero defects, combined with a few crisply written simple declarative sentences, will, alone, guarantee a respectful reading of a résumé.

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron


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  3. #2
    Ilaekae's Avatar
    Ilaekae is offline P.O.W.! Leader, Complete Idiot, Super Moderator
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    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    ...and people wonder why I closed my company (and had five lawyers just to defend me on assault charges when it was open...)
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    ...and people wonder why I closed my company (and had five lawyers just to defend me on assault charges when it was open...)
    Were you running a muscle-for-hire operation?

    Those quotes are priceless.

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    At the place where I work at we just finished hiring some new graphic designers. After placing a few ads the responses started to pour in. The very first one that I opened and read had a link to a portfolio website that didn't work and an attached resume done in Word that was BLANK. (Just a stark white blank Word document)

    I didn't even bother reading the cover letter.

    Thanks for that link...i'll have to read it during lunch.
    My Sketchbook :: Phantasmagoria
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  6. #5
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    Hahaha, I'm relieved that I wasn't on the list.

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    oh man, I better start working on my writing skills......

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    Me fail english? Unpossible.

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    Hi all

    I do see a lot of CVs daily, and grammar doesnít bother me. I would give the job to the better artist, not the one with nicest most well written CV

    Well I have to admit one of the reasons I donít post much is the fact that my grammar and spelling is terrible. I am afraid of the intellectual elitists looking at what I have written rather than what I have drawn.
    I had the joy of attending the worst school in the North East of England, which I know is no excuse but when you have students smearing shit on walls and the consent threat of violence you donít particularly want to be there.
    I didnít do any exams and as for further education I was lucky enough to gain an unconditional entry into Art College and then went onto University to study illustration.

    Iím 32 now and have spent the last 16 years as a fulltime artist and I still donít know the difference between they, their, there. I once read a Judge Dredd comic strip and wondered why he called some one a mechanic; it wasnít for years I realized he was calling them him a maniac
    Iím never going to be a writer and if I do send art samples out I tend to keep any covering letter basic and straight to the point.

    I do consider myself successful as I havenít once had to have a normal job. Buy normal I mean non art related . And I do ok; Iím not a starving artist by any means. I can hold a conversation with most people but I canít write for shit

    I know what your saying but I really wouldnít let mistakes in grammar put me off hiring an artist if his skills where good. I find verbal and social skills more of a plus than they writing ability.

    This has all being written with help of spell check otherwise you would be laughing your socks off by now


    http://www.myspace.com/carterworld

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    So some people right bad?


    Supposably, I guess.

    Edit: Lee, while no one on these boards is perfect in their execution of the English language, there's an obvious difference between those who respect their readers (and at least try) and those who do not (and just throw in vast fields of text-speak and l33t-isms).

    And for a job, just rereading something out loud would highlight most of the obvious errors. It's all about how much someone cares about communications.

  11. #10
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    In a few years, I anticipate this cover letter to be on this list.

    "I'm an EXTREMELY passionate artist/equestrian/conceptual artist [deep/eternal passion!] and can get any job that I want to. So I gues I'm already hired! Can I bring my horse to the studio? I need to make at least $30,000 a year to feed him [he's sooooooooooooo pretty and we have infinite/eternal bonding!] but lol every artist makes that much!"

  12. #11
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    Lee,

    There's nothing wrong with your post, and no reason you should be self concious about posting more. It's well thought out, respectful of the audience, and straightforward. Obviously, a message board is a less formal situation than a job inquirey, and nobody's going to jump down people's throats for the occasional typo, misspelling, or awkward sentence.(If they were, I'd be just as screwed as anyone else.)

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steph Laberis
    In a few years, I anticipate this cover letter to be on this list.

    "I'm an EXTREMELY passionate artist/equestrian/conceptual artist [deep/eternal passion!] and can get any job that I want to. So I gues I'm already hired! Can I bring my horse to the studio? I need to make at least $30,000 a year to feed him [he's sooooooooooooo pretty and we have infinite/eternal bonding!] but lol every artist makes that much!"
    Bullseye!

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

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    I just don't have it in me to find these "wow people write so bad" -listings funny... just really depressing. For one that people actually have such trouble writing, but also because there is always that one example I just can't get.

    ...and these always make me appreciate good teachers even more, for having the patience to teach… and, uh, still not ridicule anyone quite as publicly as this?
    Now, I bet they see some really wild sentences!

    I think I'd fall in to the "Thesaurus"-trap... but because my English teacher actually encourages us to use the biggest words we can come up with.

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    Steph, that's just priceless

  16. #15
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    Message boards can be great places to hone your writing skills. Just don't cut corners. Take seriously every sentence that you write; and as Elwell said, respect your audience.
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.

  17. #16
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    did i miss something? was there supposed to be a link to the site with your post, Tristan?

  18. #17
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    Amish
    click on the underlined section at the end of the paragraph. (in Elwells post)

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    It seems like it would be common sense to spend 5 minutes to spellcheck your cover letter, when you spent a couple months making your portfolio.
    * Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *



  20. #19
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    That link is great. I have [ deep passion ] for the writing of horses trampling over rainboew mine.

  21. #20
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    Heheh, great thread!

    Here are a couple of great things my husband has heard at his (computer) job recently.

    Case#1
    Manager: ...Sure, just bring in your résumé.
    Guy: Why?

    Case#2
    Guy walking in: What up, bro? You guys have jobs?

    Case#3
    Guy walking in: So do you have to have experience to work on computers?

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  22. #21
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    hmm, for some reason the link is not showing up in Firefox.

    got it with safari.

  23. #22
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    Haha, some of these are great.

    I think we should all follow Coro's example... u know what i mean?

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmishCommy
    hmm, for some reason the link is not showing up in Firefox.

    got it with safari.
    That's bizarre, i posted it with Firefox and it works for me.
    Here it is out in the open: http://www.killianadvertising.com/coverletters.html

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

  25. #24
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    LOL! That's why I always have two diffrent people read my cover letters,before I send them out.
    2011 Sketchbook

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  26. #25
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    i think all i can say is ouch. i'm speechless. probably from laughing.
    Sketchbook

    Sketchbooks of inspiration:
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    Always think about:
    lighting! design! perspective! proportion!
    And (self)motivation is still everything.

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    alright, here's my two cents: i didnt read every single post, so i may be repeating something, but correct grammar and exceptional writing skills are very necessary to communicate in the business world... ANY business world. if you [or a company] consider yourself to be a 'professional', then you must communicate as a professional. it's hard to take serious someone who speaks, thinks, acts, or expresses themselves as a 13 yr. old would.. unless you happen to be a certified genius [which most of us aren't ]

    we have customers from all over the country involved in my business dealings, and when we come upon a client/contractor that doesn't communicate appropriately, the initial mind-set in the office is "these guys don't knw what they're talking about.. they must be noobs, lets give them a hard time because they won't know any better" and we laugh at them.

    then there's the customers that scare us with how much presence and intelligence they have and we MUST reciprocate that to them in order to be respected as a business.

    when you're in company of friends and familiars.. speak any way you like.. who cares. but in a profession, be a professional... and learn to communicate accordingly.

    there's a noticable difference in someone who speaks correctly... and someone that talks good - JAG
    it's only after you've lost everything, that you're free to do anything..

  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steph Laberis
    In a few years, I anticipate this cover letter to be on this list.

    "I'm an EXTREMELY passionate artist/equestrian/conceptual artist [deep/eternal passion!] and can get any job that I want to. So I gues I'm already hired! Can I bring my horse to the studio? I need to make at least $30,000 a year to feed him [he's sooooooooooooo pretty and we have infinite/eternal bonding!] but lol every artist makes that much!"
    Hahaha!

    Great link Elwell!



    0kelvin
    www.WhereIsMyEyeball.com My portfolio! Go check it out!
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    Well, even though I’m Swedish myself I’ve experienced both clients and contractors who’ve just amazed me with their abuse of the English language. But as people stated before me; what it comes down to is whether the person is polite or not. To at least spell-check your mail is a simple matter of respecting the recipient enough to try and make it easier for him/her to read it.

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    un.... -believable - JAG
    it's only after you've lost everything, that you're free to do anything..

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    Artists too often have a very disappointing attitude towards written/spoken communication. I'm not worried that much about typos and common errors - heck I make them all the time - but sometimes it seems like sentence structure isn't quite the thing today. It's horrifying how people struggle to explain the simplest of things.

    We were recently required to review fellow student's Visual Culture Essays. In one of the essays, the opening sentence had 5 errors in it, and was completely ambiguous. Disgusting stuff.

    The truth of the matter is, it doesn't matter how expressive your artworks are, if other people can't understand you then you're screwed.

    - d.

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