Sample Letter.001

Why This Letter Works

1. It’s skim-able. Even a 5-second glance at this letter will yield a lot of information: the name of David’s connection to ABC (Susan Lee), the ways in which David is qualified for the Project Lead position (the bullets), and the reasons why David is interested in ABCa and the open job (he’s interested in educational publishing).

2. It focuses on skills and experiences, not degrees. While David’s PhD in literature will probably make him especially attractive to this particular employer, he uses the letter to emphasize his actual ability to do the job. In doing so, he recognizes that a PhD in and of itself will be insufficient evidence to convince ABC that he will be an effective employee. He knows that employers want to hire smart people with a proven track record of getting things done.

3. It’s genuine. David’s letter is succinct, but it isn’t cookie cutter. It’s filled with details that reflect the amount of time and consideration David invested in getting to know ABC before he submitted his application. His tailored bullet points, for example, indicate that he thought carefully about his own qualifications vis-à-vis the requirements for the position. He explanation as to why he’s applying also shows that he understands ABC’s mission. Finally, the reference he makes to his conversation with Susan Lee about ABC suggests that his interest in the organization was strong and genuine enough for him to proactively seek out more information.

4. It’s intriguing. Rather than going into great detail about how he is especially qualified for the Project Lead position, David writes just enough in his letter to encourage the reader to look at his resume. For example, he doesn’t elaborate on where he went to school (let alone what kind of “graduate degree” he has) or where he gained his project management or teaching experience, because he knows that these details are best left on the resume. Instead, he uses his letter to make the argument that he has the interest and overall qualifications to do the work.