Cover letters. As dreaded as a visit to the dentist. You’re not sure if anyone even reads them or you feel woefully inadequate writing them. 

  1. People do read them! 
  2. You might be writing them wrong. 

Consider this: a job posting is an expression of pain. They have specific gaps that they’re looking to have filled. Your job is to communicate you understand their pain and can alleviate their suffering (kiss that corporate ouchie). 

[.c-insight]💡 Hiring managers want to understand: [.c-highlight]your level of expertise[.c-highlight], [.c-highlight]core competencies that align with their needs[.c-highlight], and [.c-highlight]your desire to be part of their team[.c-highlight].[.c-insight]

The basics of a cover letter: 

  1. Validate with Resume Math 
  2. Show your Impact
  3. Solve their Pain
  4. Be Personable

Here’s what a hypothetical recent graduate’s cover letter might look like. Marissa isn’t apologizing for being a grad - instead, see how she talks about her student experience through the lens of “here’s what I’ve done!”  

1. Validate with Resume Math 

  • Don’t waste their time by dancing around your skill level or years of professional work. Make that part of sentence #1. 
  • DO NOT BURY your skill level in paragraph 4. I will have thrown your cover letter aside by then. 
  • DO NOT claim you are an expert if you’re not - your four years in college does not mean you have four years of game design experience. 

[.c-paper]Hi! I’m Marissa, a recent game design graduate from the University of AcmeRoadRunner. My area of concentration was combat design and I’m writing to express how my skills, education, and enthusiasm for boss battles makes me a great fit for your team as a Junior Combat Designer.[.c-paper]

2. Show your Impact

[.c-paper]During my program, I worked on 4 digital game projects and 3 analog game design prototypes, working with classmates across disciplines. Our projects ranged from short, iterative game jam games to our six month capstone project entitled Silly Squid, Go Home, You’re Drunk. I iterated and improved on my previous design concepts, integrated tester feedback, and learned how to collaborate with others within complex project constraints.[.c-paper]

3. Solve their Pain

This is where you can really stand out - most applicants will throw resumes at application portals but if you can show you’ve read and can speak to their needs, their pain, you’re ahead of the game. 

[.c-paper]With regards to your Junior Combat Designer role, I excel at: 

• Design
: I developed enemy design archetypes, designed key combat mechanics, balanced enemy and player abilities for our capstone project.

• Technical skills: 1 year experience with Unity; familiar with Google Sheets, Perforce

• Teamwork
: Our six month capstone project had 25 students; I worked closely with other designers, programmers, and our production team and advisors remotely and in person. 

• Feedback
: It might be cheesy to say this, but I like feedback. It helps me get better and I’m excited to continue learning how to be a better designer.[.c-paper]

4. Be Personable

There’s a fine line between gushing and saying what they’ve heard a million times - you’re passionate. 99.9999% of applicants are “passionate” about games. Every applicant has a story about what games mean to them. 

[.c-paper]That scene in Bloody Mary’s Revenge where the player battles Scary Mary, the mirror twin of Bloody Mary - that was brilliant. The gameplay was well balanced and while it was tough, it was fair. That game inspired me to become a combat designer. I would love an opportunity to work on the sequel with your team; All Saints Studio sounds like a great place to be and I love that the studio has a great internship and early career program. 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 


Email | Phone Number | PortfolioLink[.c-paper]

For other examples and career resources including portfolio tips, job searching, networking best practices, check out #JeansJobTips on Twitter. 

Good luck!