Career advice: What's your best cover letter tip?

posted 6 months ago in Career
Post # 16
7921 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

bluejaybride :  that’s perfect – usually you don’t know the exact individual but definitely tailored to the organization. You can absolutely say what you said here to show your enthusiasm! That you went to their site looking for ways to get involved and were excited to read about this position and then launch into why you’d be perfect for it. Assuming they also posted to job boards or with recruiters I’d be very pleased as the hiring manager to see that a candidate went out of their way to work for us rather than just any similar job. Good luck!

Post # 18
515 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Skip the video. Keep your CL to one, succinct page. Cover why you specifically will A. Be the best choice to interview, B. What you bring to the organization, and C. Why you’re uniquely qualified for the position. As someone who has had to read through hundreds of applicants, I’m certainly in no mood to watch a video (and usually those emails aren’t coming directly to me), or wade through a lengthy novella about your passions. Sell it and good luck! 

Post # 19
9857 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Slip a twenty in between the cover letter and your resume. 

Post # 23
642 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2020

Best advice for anyone – be short and sweet.  Don’t write a huge cover letter because chances are the hiring manager won’t read it closely.  And as for a video, I suppose you know your industry better than I do but that would not impress me personally.


Edit: 1 page max, but don’t write massive paragraphs either!

Post # 24
933 posts
Busy bee

Real advice: if this organization’s values align with yours, get on Linked In and offer to take individuals who work there to coffee or for a informational phone chat to pick their brains about changing career paths. See if you have any mutual connections and have those people introduce you if at all possible.  If you’re coming in with that much of a non-traditional nonprofit background (ie, not a Politics BS or Masters in Public Policy and no volunteer work on the office side of a non-profit), you’re going to need some inside help. Especially if it’s a prestigious org. 


I would send the video but cut it to 2-3 minutes tops. And no “caveat” in your cover letter, be unapologetic if you’re that passionate about this cause.


Cover letter –  1 page tops and the text should not cover more than 50-60% of the page.  Think 3 paragraphs, this is who I am & what I’ve done, and what I can do for you as the best candidate for this position.  


Resume – focus on your transferable talents & skills.

Post # 25
215 posts
Helper bee

bluejaybride :   “Wordiness is certainly my biggest issue. I have a LOT to say because I have built a lot of my life around this cause, and I’m deeply concerned that in cutting down my letter, I’ll end up omitting the thing that might have caught their interest. Since I don’t know which thing that might specifically be, I’m having a hard time narrowing things down. That’s said, I do know that the letter must be no more than one page. And if I do submit a video, it absolutely won’t be the 12 minute version haha. Thank you for your input, taken under consideration!”

You can say a lot with fewer words. Wordiness is about using too many words to say what you mean. For example, instead of the caveat you were considering, it could easily read, “I’ve attached a short video presentation. Please disregard if this is inappropriate.”

Post # 27
12134 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I echo the advice to skip the video altogether.  But if you insist, there’s a very good chance that any language about disregarding it if they want or not wanting to be disqualified on that basis would be absolute kiss of death. It shows insecurity and a lack of confidence. Beyond that, my attitude as an employer would be “who is she to tell me what to do or think about this?”

The video itself may also do you more harm than good. It wasn’t required or requested, so you may even be seen as someone who does not follow instructions. In an interactive interview, we also evaluate the interviewer and adjust our presentation to a million cues, spoken and unspoken. That’s not possible with a video.

Post # 28
3420 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

bluejaybride :  Skip the caveat. “In case it would be of interest to you, I am also attaching a short video to demonstrates my presenting style.

Good luck!!

Post # 29
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Oh boy. I am a career coach, and I agree with the others – the video could be cringey if not presented in the right way. And def shorten it. I can barely get through a 5-7 minute of my favorite YouTubers videos, and they are professionally edited.


You got a lot of great comments, but wanted to throw this out there since I’ve seen it work really well a few times. Have you considered a “personal website/resume website”? Google for examples, you’ll see plenty. But it’d be a professional yet casual website that you can direct people to, where you can showcase work examples, a video maybe, and a bit of personality.

Like others said, I wouldn’t make it a big deal about sharing the site. Put it as a line item in your contact info, and leave it at that. People might get curious and click on it. 

You can easily make one of these using Wix. 

Good luck!

Post # 30
889 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I second the advise to reach out to current employees on LinkedIn, and ask to meet up for coffee. Since you don’t have direct experience, a personal connection is your best chance of getting an interview. Good luck! 

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