Resumes, Cover Letters and Reels

Cover Letter

  • Always include a cover letter. Many managers won’t look at your resume or application without a cover letter.
  • Don’t bury the lead! Tell the manager IMMEDIATELY what job you’re applying for and why they should hire you.
  • Be concise. The manager is judging you by your writing ability regardless of what job you’re applying for. Keep it short.
  • A single typo may cost you the job so proofread like 20 times, step away and proofread again after a few days. Then do it again.
  • Format your cover letter properly. One page only. Most cover letters should follow traditional formats, but you may want to be creative depending on where you’re applying. Ex: applying for BuzzFeed? Write a listicle and SEO headline to match their branding.
  • The hiring manager isn’t looking to help someone who needs a job. It’s your responsibility to tell the person reading your cover letter why they need you. They don’t care about what you want. Their job is to make money. How will you make them money? 
  • They also probably don’t care about your childhood because they’re running a  business, not a daycare.
  • Never write “I believe.” Are you the best or not? They don’t care if you believe you’re a great fit. Are you the best… or not? If your cover letter doesn’t exude confidence, start over and do it right or you’re wasting your time.
  • Add references at the bottom. Include their name, title and contact information.
  • Proofread again.
  • Don’t be overly formal, you’ll sound young and inexperienced. Don’t call people “Mr.” or “Ms.”
  • No one wants to read your essays or your thesis. Unless you’re applying to work at a college, work examples means content that will help the manager see what type of worker you will be. You won’t write a thesis at your news job so leave that out and focus on relevant examples like websites, articles, videos and infographics.
  • Follow every single application instruction precisely. This is a test. It’s usually pass or fail.
  • I never had a news/TV boss who cared about my GPA or the classes I took. They want links to videos, articles, Twitter followers, number of tweets, analytics, anything that will make them money. Quantify your skills.

Here are two different example cover letters. This one is generic:

Jeanette Abrahamsen cover letter example.jpg

This one is for a specific job:

Jeanette Abrahamsen cover letter example 2


  • One page only (a CV can be longer if you’re applying for an academic or health job, for ex).
  • Put your name, phone number, email address, website URL, Twitter handle and YouTube channel at the top of the page.
  • Reverse chronological order (most recent stuff goes on top).
  • Use keywords the manager put in the job listing. Most employers don’t actually read all resumes submitted for a job opening. Some managers will only look at the top 10 percent that scored highest on keyword automation. This is why a Word doc is so important. Some software won’t properly identify keywords in a PDF.
  • Tailor each one of your resumes to fit the job you’re applying to.
  • You can make a pretty resume for the interview, but for the application, submit a traditional Word doc so you ensure the computer software properly scans it.
  • Don’t be wordy. Don’t use complete sentences. Use bullet points. If you use periods at the end of your sentences, make sure it’s consistent.
  • Don’t waste your space with an objective.
  • Proofread again.
  • Keep it short.
  • Your skills section should be a list of the equipment and software you can use like WordPress, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc. Don’t add things like Word because that’s like writing that you know how to turn on a computer.  If you list it, make sure you actually know it. Think you can speak Spanish because you got a B in seventh grade? Your boss might make you do a report in Spanish on live TV, so think twice before adding it to your skills.

Here’s an example:


Here’s what my resume looked like when I was a senior at USF getting my undergrad degree:Jeanette 2009 resume jpg.jpg

Demo Reels

Depending on the job you’re applying for, managers may ask for your reel. These are the most common types of reels:

  • Reporter/Anchor reel
  • Producer reel
  • Videographer/editor reel

A reporter reel should start with the very best (most creative/active) stand-ups. Stand-ups should be about 5-10 seconds each, edited quickly back to back for about a minute or two. If you have anchor desk videos, you can add a few seconds of those, just make sure the best are first. If you have lots of stand-ups and lots of anchor desk video, you can also cut a separate reel for each. After the stand-ups, you should add your very best pkg (the entire pkg). Then add your second favorite pkg after that so the hiring manager can scroll through video from one URL.

A producer reel is a short montage of your best shows like a bunch of little trailers back to back. Some managers don’t want to watch producer reels. They’re more likely to ask for several A-blocks so they can judge stacking, pacing, story choice, flow, writing, etc.

Here’s an example of my old entertainment reel:

A few years back I stopped making producer reels. Instead, I submit a YouTube playlist for my newscasts like this:

That way I can tailor the playlist to the specific job. Looking to hire me to work at the Food Network?

How about a health show?

Need a promo producer? I’m your gal:

Or, are you just looking for a producer to drive ratings with teases and good opens?

Another less traditional option is an “about me” video that starts like a reel like this:

While we’re here, let’s check out how I customize my YouTube channel to increase my chances of getting a good job:

Videographer and editor reels

Website Portfolios

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