3 Job Queries I've Used To Successfully Get In The Door (Warning: I Am Super Fake, But You Know, Job Queries)

Did you know I have a lifelong passion for zoos and conservation? Why, just read my cover letter!

Jul 30, 2013 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

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This is what I look like in an office job in 2005. "Culture of excellence" and "best practices," yo.

After writing about networking emails, I've had several requests to see my actual sample cover letters and follow-up emails.

Well, my friends, you are in luck. I have applied to just about every job on the planet depending on my current level of happiness or unhappiness in my personal life. Like, say 2003. I didn't get divorced until a few years later, but what was I doing as a married woman in Chicago? I was applying to a job at a zoo in LA, that's what! I scoured my outbox to find a few examples of cover letters and follow-ups that worked well for me over the years, and here you go. Three vastly different letters that also show the weird trajectory of my career.

But -- all three led to responses back, and the third even led to a breakfast meeting that ultimately led to a job offer. Actually, I think it was ignored, honestly, but then I sent another email that said, "If you are alive and you are around and you have time, I'd love to see you. I'll be in New York Friday through Sunday. Let me know what works for you." Persistence. Sometimes it pays off. Now here are three very different ways I pimped myself out.

#1 The Fine I'm Totally Stretching My Interest In This Topic To Get An Interview Cover Letter.

Dear NAME: Just as the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association maintains the highest standards for its editorial publications, I strive for excellence in all of my work--from newsletters to magazines to annual reports. With a passion for producing publications and a lifelong love of zoos and conservation, I am confident that I would be a wonderful fit for the Associate Editor position.

In my current role as Senior Writer/Editor for Northwestern University's development operation, I act as managing editor of the biannual magazine for donors while helping to write and edit the biannual newsletter for alumni and friends. My duties also include serving as managing editor of the annual report, overseeing content development for the Web site, and producing extensive stewardship and ad-hoc publications writing.

Previously, I worked as a writer and editor for Northwestern's medical school, where I contributed short articles to the employee newsletter and in-depth feature stories for the quarterly magazine for alumni. Additionally, I have substantial experience as a Web consultant and a newspaper reporter with stints at The Des Moines Register, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, and The (Ft. Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel.

With extensive knowledge of the publications process and a commitment to high-quality writing and editing, I want to put my expertise to work for an organization that is even closer to my heart. Having grown up in Southern California, I can imagine nothing better than to help the Los Angeles Zoo thrive.

It is clear from reading about the Maggie Awards for "Zoo View" and "Zooscape" that your publications team produces compelling, top-notch work while supporting the Zoo's mission to "nurture wildlife and enrich the human experience." Like the Zoo, Northwestern is also involved in a multi-year construction plan to advance its status as a world-class institution. Along with my resume, I have attached a recent article about these infrastructure projects from Northwestern's biannual donor magazine, "Of Good Report."

In addition, I have included two articles from my work as a newspaper reporter: a short news story about the Blank Park Zoo from The Des Moines Register and a longer feature story on Rasmussen's disease from The Washington Post. With the ability to write in many different voices and tackle complex topics with ease, I know that my skills would help continue the tradition of award-winning publications you have established for GLAZA. While I am based in Chicago, I understand your need is immediate and would gladly fly out at my own expense to discuss this opportunity further. As a native San Diegan, I visit California frequently. In the meantime, I can be reached at (773) 235-8453 or by cell phone at (773) 220-5255. Best regards, Mandy Stadtmiller

#2 The I Loved Everything About Meeting In Person And I'm Going To Name It Specifically Follow-Up Cover Letter.

Dear NAME, Thank you for the interview today and for your quick follow-up with the strategy document. I greatly enjoyed meeting you and learning about The Nature Conservancy’s plan for achieving mission success. After speaking with you and reading the strategy document, I have a clear understanding of your team's vitality to both the Conservancy and the overall mission of Conservation by Design.

In particular, I am impressed with the your exceptional emphasis on best practices, brand identity, and measurable outcomes. I would love the opportunity to contribute to this culture of excellence as a Conservation Writer within the organization. Many thanks again for your time today. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Best regards, Mandy Stadtmiller

#3 The I Actually Have A Personal Relationship With You So I'm Going To Write Like A Real And Funny And Weird And Authentic Person Follow-Up With Inside Jokes And All.

NAME, I've been waiting to buy a few September wedding plane tickets until I hear from you -- and I'm fine continuing to do so -- but I thought it would be worth checking in to find out if I am still a candidate for the position. Before you answer, let me reiterate my strong desire to help not only the NY Post in its quest to boost overall readership and response but also journalism in its larger quest to find commercially viable alternatives for the term "moist labia."

I am positive I could help you realize your vision to make the paper even more of a must-read than it already is. Just think of Gene Weingarten. One of the reasons he is so beloved? He's the guy who discovered Dave Barry. He'll always be The Guy Who Discovered Dave Barry. Me? I'll always be famous for my modesty. Hope all is well on your end. Take care, Mandy

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Want to see more examples? Do you too share a passion for zoos and conservation? Are you ever going to be able to look me straight in the eye again now that you've looked into the darkest depths of my best practices-touting, measurable-outcome-slinging, ever-boastful, miserable soul? Do you want to punch me in the face? After re-reading these, I sure do.

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