Here’s the Exact Cover Letter That Landed My Dream Job
Once upon a time, many years ago, I was happily self-employed and totally not looking for a job. Then I stumbled upon a post…
For my dream job.
It was a great opportunity. Literally everyone wanted it. I had no contacts at the company, so I knew that in order to get noticed I had to write the perfect cover letter.
So I spent the next ten days writing the perfect cover letter. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t perfect, I ended up sending it with a typo. But it still landed an interview, and ultimately, I got the job.)
Do you need to spend this much time on a cover letter? No.
Should you write one? Absolutely yes.
This applies, more or less, to any job that you’re seriously interested in.
Don’t just send your resume.
If you want the job, write a cover letter.
Yes, cover letters are a pain and an extra step. That’s part of the reason you should write one. Even if it’s not a requirement — perhaps especially if it’s not a requirement.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm about a job, share some relevant information about your background that isn’t included on your resume, and also to connect the dots between your experience and the requirements listed in the job description.
You don’t have to spend 10 days writing it, but you should write one.
What to include in a cover letter?
Your primary goal with a cover letter is to land an initial interview. This is why I suggest including a call to action — literally ask them for a first interview.
Some other tips for writing a great cover letter:
- Talk about what’s in it for them: Potential employers care more about what you’ll do for them than what you hope to get out of a job. (i.e. “I want to grow your company” vs. “I want to grow my career.”)
- Demonstrate enthusiasm: You don’t just want a job, you want THIS job.
- Expand on your resume: Go into more detail about what’s in your resume, or include things that aren’t on it. And tie it back to the job description, so the hiring manager can see why you’re a good fit.
- Ask for the interview: Include a call to action at the end of your cover letter, along with contact information.
The primary goal of your cover letter is to land an initial interview.
That’s it. That is the #1 goal of your cover letter.
Land an initial interview.
So don’t overthink it. Just express why you’re interested in the job (in terms of the employer’s interest), demonstrate enthusiasm, and ask for an interview.
Using templates can help. But I’ve found that a lot of cover letter examples you can find online are the kind of crap that start with “to whom it may concern.”
(Side note: if you didn’t already know, you should never start a cover letter with to whom it may concern.)
So I’m sharing this as inspiration for anyone who needs it.
Here’s the cover letter that landed my dream job.
It definitely works, because a friend of mine used this exact cover letter to land an internship at the same company.
I was expecting her to use my copy as inspiration, but she basically plagiarized the whole thing. Now, you can, too! Though depending on the job you’re applying for, that may or may not be the best plan.
Anyway, here it is.
Dear Yelp Team:
Thanks to a combination of serendipity, curiosity and the magic web portal that is Craigslist, I recently discovered that Yelp.com is hiring a New Orleans Community Manager. I would love to be considered for this position.
The prospect of working for Yelp, particularly in a capacity so directly related to my skills and experience, is VERY exciting. Forgive me, because I know you hear this all the time, but I have to say it: I am an excellent candidate for this position.
Really. I can even prove it.
Why me? Well, first of all, I meet all the job requirements you outlined. You’re looking for someone who has experience living and working in New Orleans? Check. This city has been my home for nearly 10 years. I have five years of post-graduate professional experience, all of it in New Orleans, and a proven track record when it comes to networking, event planning and community leadership.
Specific examples to back up these claims can be found in my resume. Here are some things you won’t learn from my resume…
Writing has been a part of my life since grade school; my first short story was published in a college literary magazine by the time I was a sophomore in high school. As an English major at Tulane, I perfected the art of writing 20 page papers in a single night, and, in my spare time, I wrote book, film and album reviews for several student publications.
Every job I’ve had since graduate school has involved a great deal of writing, as well. E-newsletters, web content, fundraising letters, membership development materials, grants and proposals. I’m an excellent copy editor, and have extremely high standards when it comes to quality of content. Put another way, I’m OCD about typos. And, if you haven’t realized it yet, I’m also good at writing super-long cover letters. (And epic emails. It’s kind of a bad habit.)
My first three years in the “real world” were spent raising money and organizing events for nonprofit organizations. This gave me an opportunity to build strong relationships with young professional and business associations — precisely the type of organization your New Orleans Yelp Community Manager needs to partner with in order to build a successful community of active Yelpers in New Orleans.
This is one reason I’ll be able to hit the ground running, and achieve dramatic results within a short time of joining Yelp as CM in New Orleans. I already have the relationships necessary to be successful as New Orleans Yelp Community Manager. This is one of several resources I can (and will) leverage to build a community of engaged, active Yelpers in NOLA.
Why do I want to work for Yelp? Great question. Let me count the ways.
I’m interested in people, small business, and disruptive technologies. I despise Foursquare and want to eliminate its use in New Orleans, and getting people to switch over to Yelp Mobile is an excellent means to this end.
The job description for the New Orleans Yelp Community Manager includes many of my favorite activities: Promoting New Orleans’ many fantastic restaurants, bars, events, and small businesses. Meeting new people and throwing awesome, newsworthy events. Building vibrant communities — both online and off. Writing compelling web content, useful reviews, and well-ce-newsletters that people will actually read. Defying gravity, or, as you put it, walking through walls. Sold. Where do I sign up?
These are all things you already know, of course, but the thing is, this is literally my dream job. The one that until two weeks ago, I was positive didn’t exist. Your website describes an environment in which I would absolutely thrive, and I would leap at the opportunity to become a rockstar member of the Yelp Team.
I could go on and on about this, but I’ve already taken up far more of your time than any cover letter reasonably should. Thank you so much for your consideration, and I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you over the phone for an initial interview.
You can reach me via email at [redacted] or on my cell: (xxx) xxx–xxxx. Please feel free to contact me anytime.
I can’t wait to hear from you!
In the meantime, see you on Yelp!
I’m 99% sure this cover letter even had a typo in it, but it still worked.
When I’ve been on the hiring side, my decisions were 100% based on an applicant’s cover letter.
I don’t even think I looked at their resumes.
Usually, the cover letter provides more than enough information to tell you whether or not someone is worth a phone interview.
Resumes all start to blend together once you’ve looked at enough of them. Writing a cover letter is your opportunity to shine. Convey your personality, show that you’re a capable writer, and make it obvious that you’re a great candidate who is actually interested in the position (not just a paycheck).
Still not convinced? Here’s another opinion:
There you go.
If you want a job, write a cover letter.
Hope this helps!