Your Cover Letter is Your Customer Proposal in Business and at Work

As I shared my LinkedIn experience, strength and hope with attendees at last week’s Times Union Speed Career Roundtable, one roundtable participant asked me if I could share a best-practice cover letter.  I agreed, and committed to doing so in this week’s post.

First, I’d like to share a cover letter that I used many moons ago, when I applied to a job I didn’t subsequently get:

To Whom It May Concern:

In response to your search for a Senior Director, Advertising and Communications, enclosed please find my resume detailing my related experiences and skills.

I believe that you’ll find me both a relevant and competitive candidate for this position.  Should you have any questions, or if you would like to arrange a meeting at your convenience, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.



I didn’t get an interview, either – not surprising.  And here’s another past cover letter from years ago as well, however more recent than the one above – where I secured both the interview and the job:

Dear Ms. (insert name):

Attached please find my resume in consideration for the above-captioned position. Upon learning of your organization’s vision and mission, I am particularly pleased to submit my candidacy for your consideration.

Upon review of my Human Resources, Change Management, Project and Operations Leadership experience and accomplishments as they dovetail with the requirements of your (insert title) opportunity (particularly my experience in developing and implementing complex systems, process improvement and HR / Recruiting project plans in matrix environments with consistently successful results), I believe that you will find me to be a more-than-competitive candidate for this position, immediately able to make a contribution to the success of your organization. 

I believe you will find my consulting experience to be of value as well:

  • Distribution, Operations and IT project development, planning and  implementation
  • Vendor and budget management
  • Process improvement facilitation and implementation
  • Performance management and evaluation
  • Employee communication and involvement programs
  • Team-building, assimilation and facilitation
  • Executive / Management / Employee coaching
  • Vision / Mission / Goal facilitation and development
  • Facilitation of strategic business planning retreats
  • Workshops / trainings / presentations
  • Executive / Employee Counseling
  • Employment Mediation / Conflict resolution.

If you have any further questions about my background, please feel free to contact me using the information below or contained within my enclosed information.

Thank you in advance for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.



Why was the second cover letter the better cover letter? A few reasons, among several:

  • I knew the name of the decision-maker, and addressed the cover letter directly to her;
  • I did my research on the organization and on their job opportunity, and included information on how I would immediately meet / exceed their business needs;
  • The focus of the cover letter was on how I could help the organization, as opposed to how the organization could help me.

However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have only secured two post-college jobs in the traditional manner of submitting a well-crafted cover letter and résumé, competing with many other applicants for consideration.  The best jobs of my career so far have been secured through the mutual goodwill of my wonderful network, where I have been recommended as a candidate; or where an organization has been recommended to me to join – in all instances, where the job was not advertised.

Is it important to have a great résumé and cover letter at the ready?  Absolutely.  However, be prepared to develop a customized proposal (e.g., cover letter / thank-you letter) of how you will meet / exceed your prospective employer’s (and/or customer’s) needs before and after you meet with them via an interview process.  

How will you prepare the cover letter / thank-you letter (proposal) to meet your prospective employer’s (customer’s) needs to win the job (sale) in business and at work?


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