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What makes a bad UX writer cover letter

Learn why the traditional UX writer cover letter is holding you back and what to do differently to land a UX writer job.
bad ux writer cover letter
In: Job search

This is what a bad UX writer cover letter looks like:

bad ux writer cover letter

Looks like the traditional cover letter we’re all told to write, right?

Yeah, well that doesn’t work in today's day in age. With 100s of applicants, budding workloads, and everyone feeling fresh out of time, traditional cover letters aren’t going to get the time of day. So you have to make it worth their time of day.

A good UX writer cover letter:

  • Shows personality
  • Is actionable
  • Makes past roles relevant
  • Shows the passion behind your career
  • Shows what working with you will be like
  • Highlights your area of expertise
  • Has a call-to-action

On the flip side, a bad UX writer cover letter is:

  • Is strictly business
  • Isn't relevant
  • Is generic

Let me explain…

1. A bad UX writer cover letter is strictly business

As we learned in JB#11, your cover letter exists to convince the hiring manager you’d be a good fit for the team. And who is the hiring manager hiring? A person.

They’re not hiring a service provider. They’re not hiring temporary help. They’re looking for a human being they’ll talk to every day and help grow the career of.

So to convince them you’re a human worth hiring and investing in, you have to write a cover letter like a human worth investing in.

The poison to that success? Making your cover letter strictly business. If you only focus on the accolades of your career and familiarity with certain tools, you’re not just going to be repeating your resume, you’ll be blending into the crowd.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

bad ux writer cover letter

Not only is this vague and could be true of most entry-level UX writers, but it doesn’t add any human flair. It’s written very formally, and there’s no human behind it.

Now, compare that to this personality-packed section from the UX writer cover letter example in JB#12:

bad ux writer cover letter

Yes, this passage says nothing about UX writing, but we get to that. This shows personality to add color and flair to the mundane. It’s hooking the reader, so they have a reason to care about what we’re gonna say about UX writing.

2. A bad UX writer cover letter isn’t relevant

If there’s one thing you can master in your UX writer cover letter, it’s making yourself interesting and relevant to learn more about.

This isn’t the time to spill it all. That time will come in the interview. But right now, you need to pique the hiring manager’s interest, kinda how someone on a dating app catches your attention.

Applying to a fintech company and a total personal finance nerd? Weave in your knowledge of ACH. Applying to a fitness app and have experience teaching yoga? Highlight your fitness know-how. Don’t have any relevant experience? What gets you jazzed about the role?

You need to convince the hiring manager you’re worth knowing more about.

Online dating is the perfect analogy for this. For example, Anika’s profile here has a ton for us to latch on to and be curious about:

dating profile
Image credit: Profiled

Now compare that to R’s profile:

dating profile
Image credit: Vida Select

Not only is the profile so impersonal they didn’t even include their name, but there’s nothing to get excited about, aside from the fact that they’re proclaiming themselves to be semi-interesting.

Your cover letter works the same way. A cover letter like Anika’s profile gets the hiring manager excited. A profile like R’s has everyone swiping left.

3. A bad UX writer cover letter is generic

People are programmed to remember specifics. You might not remember the name of that Indian restaurant, but you do remember the killer spiced samosas and their spin on chutney.

You need to make your cover letter full of spiced samosas. How do you do that? Be specific, not generic.

Anyone can “have a strong passion for UX writing” But only a spiced samosa chooses to do UX writing because “UX writing can make good social, cultural, and environmental impact.”

Scan your cover letter. Anywhere you’re saying something true of 90% other to-be UX writers, find a way to make it specific or delete it.

Happy UX writing 🖖

Written by
Slater Katz
As founder of The UX Gal, my mission is to make learning UX writing fantastically-simple and landing a job easy. I've held UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, Verizon, Afterpay, & more.
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