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Web Designer Cover Letter Guide & Tips

Alongside the resume, one of the first things that a hiring manager will look at is your cover letter. This is a brief summation of the most important parts of your resume and a professional introduction and solicitation of the job opening. It will be used to narrativize the rest of your job materials and to essentially tell the hiring manager how they should read the rest of your application. This makes it incredibly important to get right, and if it isn’t done well, it might compel hiring managers to read the rest of your materials through a lens that doesn’t highlight their strengths.

How to Write a Web Designer Cover Letter

A good cover letter will be fairly succinct, no more than a single page, and it will contain a great deal of information. Some information, such as your contact information, the name of the job you're applying for and a narrative of your own qualifications, will go in every job letter. For Web Designers, you may also find yourself using the cover letter as a way to guide your reader through elements of your resume, portfolio, or other job materials that can improve your odds of getting a callback for more materials or an interview.

Contact Information and Salutations

Despite it feeling odd or quaint, the cover letter of a job application is still technically a letter and should include a professional greeting, a statement of your intent to apply for the job and your personal information, usually formatted as if you were writing a letter. This is an important part of the process, signaling that you hold a measure of professionalism and that you understand how to present yourself to a prospective employer. This section can be incredibly short but it should not be cut in any context. In addition, it is good practice to use letter templates when applying to multiple jobs, but one of the easiest errors to make is to fail to update the job title in the section of the letter, which can stand out as a problem.

Introductory Paragraph

Once you’ve told the hiring manager or committee who you are as a person, it is time to start telling them who you are as a designer. This is going to vary from one designer to another, you want to sell them on the kind of unique style and voice you have in your designs and what skills you are able to bring to the table. This will be the section of the letter where you lay out the key points for why you are most qualified to work in this position, and it will be the logic that guides the reader through the remainder of the letter and the job materials as a whole.

Professional Background

You’ll want to use the letter as a space to highlight and contextualize important aspects of your resume. You won’t want to just list everything you’ve done since that is what the resume is there for. You should instead use this time to highlight the elements of your professional background that shaped your voice as a Web Designer. If there was a particularly rewarding project that you worked on or a particularly challenging period in your career, you can use this space to foreground that.

You should also use this space to name the kind of work that you are most comfortable with, and that best describes your style. Hiring managers are going to be seeking out talented people who can produce work that is in line with the style of the studio or firm that is doing the hiring. Naming your style and your influences is a great way to quickly communicate whether or not you would fit in well in the organization.

Educational Background

Like the professional background section, you’ll want to dedicate a bit of your letter to explain where you were trained as a Web Designer and how that training shaped your work. You shouldn’t just be listing off things here, either. Instead, use this space to tell a story about how your training shaped your passions as a designer, taught you how to address certain problems, or how you were guided to a specific aspect of the design process. You can also use this space to discuss the finer points of your advanced training, particularly if you are applying without a college degree. As with the work experience section, this is a great place to highlight specific designs in your portfolio that you are particularly proud of or to tell quick stories that highlight elements of your design process.

Conclusion and Professional Signature

You will want to conclude your cover letter with a brief summation of your qualifications, particularly those that don’t easily slot into other sections of your letter. You can talk about the experience you have leading teams of designers, soft-skills training that you think is relevant to the job, or simply make an appeal for you being a good fit for the specific firm that is looking at the letter. This should be brief, but it is important that you use the end of the letter to direct the hiring manager to read the rest of your job materials in a specific, deliberate manner. You should also sign the letter, physically if at all possible, simply because it looks good from a professional perspective.

5 Web Designer Cover Letter Tips

Writing a cover letter can be daunting at first blush since it is unlike any other genre of writing you are regularly asked to produce. You need to jam a great deal of information and be rhetorically persuasive into a very small space. However, there are some general tips that can help make the process less painful.

Use a Letter Template

One of the best ways to write job letters is to have a generic version of your letter on hand that can be tailored to the job you are applying for. This serves two primary purposes. The first is that it saves time and energy by giving you a basic document that you can modify to suit the needs of a given application. The second is to make it easier to make the letter unique to a given job application since you will have placeholders available for the parts of the letter you think are more malleable.

There are two steps to the generic letter-writing process. First, you need to map out the kinds of things that you think will be generically applicable to any job you are applying to. This will include things like your personal contact information, aspects of your work and education history and parts of your concluding sign-off. The second step is to identify where you can imagine altering or shaping the letter to suit the needs of your application. For example, these changes can vary from simple things like the order of paragraphs to more complex revisions, like changing the focal point of an anecdote, depending on the nature of the job listing.

Read the Job Description and Research the Organization

As basic as it sounds, it is very important to research the job you are applying for and craft your letter to best fit their opening. This can be very straightforward. If you are applying for a job opening that emphasizes that viable candidates will need extensive JavaScript experience, you should demonstrate that in your letter. If they say that coding responsibilities will be minimal, you shouldn’t emphasize your coding skills in the letter but should instead focus on other issues.

In some cases, more research and crafting will be required to maximize the effectiveness of a cover letter. Just as with the resume, you’ll want to work to ensure that your cover letter demonstrates the kinds of skills and design sensibilities that the firm, studio, or organization seems to prioritize in its design work. If they are a studio that primarily focuses on building webpages for digital marketing campaigns, emphasize your history with digital marketing. If they are primarily designing individual webpages for business start-ups, emphasize your experience working on smaller-scale projects. While it won’t always be especially straightforward, it is important to consider how you can shape a job letter to read as if you are only applying for that job.

Word Economy

A cover letter needs to cover a lot of ground in a fairly small amount of space. Cover letters should be no more than one single-spaced page, with two-page cover letters being fairly rare. This means that you are looking at only about 600 words to work with, and a lot of those words will be wrapped up in things like the introduction, the salutation, the conclusion, and the sign-off. Thus, it is vital to your chances at success that you don’t waste valuable real estate in the letter by being overly wordy or obtuse. If you want to make a point, you should be as straightforward as possible since you don’t want to mince words at this stage of the job application process. Sometimes, this is as simple as revising a sentence for brevity, and sometimes it can be as complicated as cutting an anecdote from the letter entirely because it would take too long to adequately set up

Don’t Apologize for your Other Materials

While it is good practice to use the letter as a way to guide hiring managers to read your other job materials, it is important that this doesn’t come across as apologetic or direct their attention to gaps and deficiencies in your work and training. If you are new to the field of web design, don’t make a big deal out of this being one of your first job applications. If you don’t have a strong background in coding, don’t draw attention to that, especially if the job listing specifically mentions coding. In some cases, this will mean passing over a job application because you don’t have the skills that an organization is looking for, but it is better to acknowledge this than to spend time trying to make your letter convince a hiring manager to read your materials for a job you aren’t really interested in or qualified for.

Get Feedback

One of the best ways to improve your job materials is through receiving professional feedback from experts who have gone through the process before. This is even more important when working in a genre of writing, like the cover letter, which you aren’t familiar with. The best way to go about this is to solicit feedback from professionals who have written and read these letters in the past and ask them to speak about their own personal experiences on the matter. This can be challenging if you don’t know any of these professionals. One way to get this kind of feedback is through a professional mentoring program, such as the one that you will be able to benefit from in any of Noble Desktop’s career certificate programs. These one-on-one mentoring sessions are a great way to ask questions of experienced Web Designers concerning all aspects of the job application process, including the writing of a cover letter.

Learn the Skills to Become a Web Designer at Noble Desktop

Students looking to build the technical skills they need to become Web Designers may want to consider the options available to them for professional training and skills development through Noble Desktop. These classes provide students with live training from expert instructors and include hands-on training and practical experience using real-world design samples. These classes are available at Noble’s Manhattan Campus or through live online instruction. No matter the delivery method, class sizes are kept small so students won’t have to compete with one another for their instructor’s attention. As a bonus, every Noble course comes with a free retake option, meaning you can take the class again within a year. This is ideal for students who want to receive more instruction and for students who want more time to gain hands-on experience that they can parlay into better job opportunities.

Students interested in becoming professional Web Designers will need a lot of skills training. For novices, Noble offers a Web Design Certificate program that will teach students how to use common web design software applications, how to code their designs in basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and how to use WordPress for more advanced webpage design. In addition, students enrolled in this class will receive one-on-one career mentoring assistance and professional development seminars, including portfolio-building exercises. This is an ideal course for any student who wants to start a new career in the field of web design. Noble also offers more targeted programs, such as the UX/UI Design Certificate program, which prepares students to design interactive interfaces for digital applications and products. This focused career-program de-emphasizes the importance of learning to code and emphasizes the importance of tactile user experience design.

Students who have a measure of professional training and are seeking to expand their skills may want to instead consider enrolling in one of Noble’s skills bootcamps. For example, in Noble’s Figma Bootcamp, students will learn how to use Adobe’s Figma software application to build interactive prototypes of web designs in order to test their functionality before beginning the coding process. This is an invaluable tool for any Web Designer to know how to use, and in a bootcamp, you can focus on learning individual skills to improve your own career standing.

Learn more in these courses

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