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Take a (Paragraph) Break

When writing a cover letter, or even your resume, you should remember that text is, surprisingly, a visual medium. It’s not as mimetic as, say, film, television, or painting, that’s true.

It's not a painting, either.
This may not be a pipe, but it’s closer than “PIPE.”

But you still glean information from text just by looking at it, not reading it at all. Here’s what Stephen King says in his book On Writing:

Grab a novel–preferably one you haven’t yet read–down from your shelf. Open the book in the middle and look at any two pages. Observe the pattern–the lines of type, the margins, and most particularly the blocks of white space where paragraphs begin or leave off.

You can tell without even reading if the book you’ve chosen is apt to be easy or hard, right? Easy books contain lots of short paragraphs and lots of white space. Hard books, ones full of ideas, narration, or description, have a stouter look. A packed look. Paragraphs are almost as important for how they look as for what they say; they are maps of intent.

When someone opens up your email, do you want them to think it’s easy, or hard? Remember, they’re probably very busy, and have enough hard tasks to accomplish in any given day. Your email should not be one of them.

But your PA resume is meant to look packed. You want to overwhelm the reader with all of your amazing and impressive credits. Breaking it up with “responsibilities” and “accomplishments” makes your resume look easier, simpler… and less impressive.

You don’t want the AD or coordinator to look at each and every show you’ve worked on; you want them to see a solid block that translates to “EXPERIENCED.”

Easy cover letter, hard resume– that’s the goal.

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