A reader recently sent me one of the best cover letters I’ve ever seen, and she nicely agreed to allow me to reprint it here in case it inspires anyone else.
Note: Don’t steal this letter or even parts of it. The reason this letter works is because it’s so customized to the writer’s situation and the job she’s applying for. The idea here is inspiration, not copying!
Here’s some background from the writer before we get to the letter itself:
I’ve been out of work (but doing freelancing) for the last several years since my company closed. My background is in marketing communications and project management. Found your blog several months ago and have been religiously following your advice on finding a job. Recently I came across a posting that sounded absolutely fantastic, except that it was obvious they were looking for an entry-level/newbie type who wasn’t going to expect to be paid very much. After checking the posting on and off for several weeks and mulling it over, I knew I was the perfect person for the job even if they didn’t know it — plus it was only 10 minutes from my house. I wrote the cover letter of the century and sent it in.
Got a call a couple of days later, and it was the guy from the ad who said, “You should know that you get the award for best cover letter ever.” We chatted for quite awhile and he asked for writing samples. A few days later I got the invite for a face-to-face, at which point I realized that this job would truly be the chance of a lifetime. We really clicked and while I could tell he was a little nervous about spending more money than he had previously decided on, he was definitely realizing what an asset I would be. The next day I got the formal offer! I was a bit concerned that any offer might be on the low side, but it was extremely fair and I couldn’t be happier.
There’s your background. Here’s the letter, with a few identifying details redacted.
As soon as I saw your posting for a ____, I knew it was the perfect position for me – and that I was the perfect solution for you. Let me explain further:
As you will see from the attached resume, I’ve worn a lot of different hats. As a freelancer I’ve run the marketing gamut. From e-blasts, public relations and web marketing to copywriting, video and print production, you name it, I’ve done it. I’m extremely motivated, organized and disciplined – you have to be to work from home – and, it’s important to note, never had a dissatisfied client.
While my official title at ____ was Project Management Coordinator, in reality I was known as the person who could do everything. Hats I wore there included copywriter, researcher extraordinaire, PowerPoint & Word guru and my favorite – She Who Must Be Obeyed (earned for riding herd on the account executives and graphics geniuses). We were a small company where everyone had to pitch in, and I thrived on the excitement of being involved at every level of every project.
No matter where I’ve been, I’ve produced topnotch work because I’m dedicated to making sure each and every piece stands out from the crowd. Whether it’s promotional work for external clients or internal corporate leave behinds, I pride myself on my ability to recognize and articulate a distinct voice for every project. And that’s not always restricted to the written word. I’ve also designed and produced unique promotional giveaways for various clients.
While writing is my passion, project management is my bread and butter. Keeping on top of projects and making sure all parts get to the finish line at the same time is one thing I do best. The ability to juggle projects and never missing a deadline didn’t just develop through my professional experience. It also comes from having three kids in four years – all with very different personalities, activities, schedules and demands. It was adapt or die trying. I’ve learned to budget my time and my assets, and most importantly, I’ve learned to be flexible and to get things done.
I know what you’re thinking – that yes, I am the perfect person for the job, but there is no way you can afford me. But I’m not in it for the money – well, I am, but it isn’t the most important thing. I’m looking for a position where my contributions count and my efforts are appreciated – and hopefully a long-term commitment. Benefits such as a short commute and flexibility mean just as much as salary to me. The fact that you’re ten minutes from my house is a big plus – and you’ll never have to worry that I’ll be late! So let’s talk soon.
So there you have it. So many things are great about this letter — it vividly paints a picture of Rebecca is and creates a compelling case for why she’d be great at the job, and I love the way she handled the salary question. Note that it doesn’t waste space by repeating what’s on her resume but instead adds something entirely new to her application overall. It’s also an example of how it’s okay to break the standard rules if you do it in a way that works — mentioning your kids wouldn’t normally be a good choice in a cover letter, but the way she did it here is perfect.
When I told Rebecca all this and asked for permission to post it, she replied:
I used to write very boring, run of the mill cover letters, but I found that once I started personalizing them – mentioning my kids in this one, had another one where I talked about how my parents were grammar and spelling hawks and drilled it into me – I really started getting a lot more responses. This one was really my best work if I do say so myself! :) I do have to give you total credit though. Your blog taught me to be interesting and creative with cover letters and also how to dance around the salary question. So very, very helpful!!!
Please go ahead and post it as inspiration. I know it will be plagiarized in part or whole, but I’m so happy to have landed my dream job with it that if it helps someone else so be it. I’m contributing to the greater good if even one person is inspired by it.
Now go forth with this in your head and write your own!