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Successful Cover Letter Examples

Jun 11 '14 18 Last Comment
courvoisier
Jun 11, 14 4:53 pm

I am looking for great CV examples. if anybody with a high batting average for job applications is willing to post successful examples please do so anonymously. just blur out your name/ contact info or the firm names if you don't want to show them.  thanks.

 

jdparnell1218
Jun 11, 14 5:15 pm

So, you want someone to do your work for you?  And of all places, you came here?  I'm going to wait for Miles and Non Sequitur to come around.

accesskb
Jun 11, 14 5:34 pm

 be original. write your own.

kmahoney7
Jun 11, 14 5:55 pm

I'm curious about this as well. Its not a matter of having your work done for you, its more finding an example of a technique that stands a half decent chance of getting past your standard HR rep. Especially now given that the HR field seems to have collectively gone insane of late. I'll repeat for you what advise I've gotten in my yearlong job search, make it simple, easily read, and easily skimmable. Granted, neither this approach nor any other that I've tried has worked yet but who knows.

jdparnell1218
Jun 11, 14 5:58 pm

Why not google it?  I'm just thinking that no one is going to cut and paste their cover letter for you on this forum.

SpatialSojourner
Jun 11, 14 7:37 pm

Any insights by hiring people would be intriguing. I've Googled around, Google does have all the answers I seek.  Mines been somewhat successful, I've wrangled a few jobs with it.   Here's a version of what I send:

Dear Mr./Ms. Architect,

I am wondering about the availability of an architectural intern position at Awesome Architecture.  Something about how awesome their company is + mentioning work that I especially like. (Stroke that ego!) 

I have previous experience at Cool Architecture Firm doing pretty cool architecture.  I experienced the full range of doing architecture from CDs to even the admin.  I got sh!t done quickly and of the utmost quality no matter if I was working alone or in a team.  

I have some good tools that could help your awesome firm become even more awesomer.  I even have won an award or two, so that must mean something, right?!

Thanks Ms./Mr. Awesome Architect for taking your valuable time, I would be thrilled if you contact me.   Plz, plz.  Here's how you can get in touch. Oh, and check out my resume and portfolio pdf, I promise, your eyes will have an orgasm.

Sincerely,

 

Your future servant.

 

  I'm casually searching for a firm that uses some latest tech (Rhino/GIS/Revit plzzzzzz) and has a research-centric design process (Studio Gang/SHoP/Patkau/Howler Yoon plzzzz)  but I don't mind my current firm even with its quirks.  (Using the worst CAD program ever invented and accredits my speed when I show them a new program, whoops).  So Any advice on how to kick it with BIG would be great.        

kmahoney7
Jun 11, 14 8:28 pm

bloody hell that was epic

courvoisier
Jun 12, 14 12:45 am

"  I'm casually searching for a firm that uses some latest tech (Rhino/GIS/Revit plzzzzzz) and has a research-centric design process (Studio Gang/SHoP/Patkau/Howler Yoon plzzzz)  but I don't mind my current firm even with its quirks.  (Using the worst CAD program ever invented and accredits my speed when I show them a new program, whoops).  So Any advice on how to kick it with BIG would be great."

hit the nail on the head with that one...but I can't tell if you're actually serious about the previous part.  

SpatialSojourner
Jun 12, 14 7:21 am

I feel it's a common sentiment among recent grads to be searching for firms that are up-to-date.  There was a post a little while ago asking why interns were flakey and I think it has to do with the fact that most of the firms aren't doing projects in a manner that excite me to work for them.  In school, my design process what informed by research (solar, programmatic, material, ect studies) which was an exciting problem solving activity where the form was indicative of its function.  But at the firms I've worked at, the design process is more self-referencing and the disillusionment that the project is going to win an AIA award.  Clad all the walls in ipe, it'll impress other architects.  I feel I'm just designing buildings that are a built manifestation of the Architect's ego.  (I think this is a residue of the licensing process.)

   

The cover letter was a satire of my actual one.  I have a few sentences on each of the following points:

  1. Why I want to work for their firm, which has the duality of complementing them.
  2. My past experience, which informs them that I'll be a productive member of their firm right away.  
  3. What I excel in and a mention of past recognition 
  4. Thanking them, telling them to check out the attached portfolio/resume, and how to get in contact.

This is just what I've found to work.  Working at small firms, I've had the opportunity to be on the inside during the hiring process.  It's all about timing.  I've been at a firm that was casually interviewing and there were some stellar candidates but they weren't ready to hire.  Months later they ended up hiring some tepid at best intern who had happened to recently contact them.

kartikjadhav
Jun 12, 14 7:22 am

Yah same here...

Is there any big hearted guy who can share his secrets.. :P (no offense ppl)

It will be better if some people who got hired upload thier cv's so that people like me can learn something from it.

3tk
Jun 12, 14 12:41 pm

intro: introduce myself - "I'm a blah blah blah designer with strong interests in blah blah blah" -backed up in CV and work sample; I am inquiring about opportunities with your studio as I 'was impressed with so-and-so's presentation at blah / enjoyed the insight given by so-and-so at my thesis review / had a great conversation with so-and-so at such and such event' (note having an 'insider' contact high up in a firm is the best way to get a response.

paragraph 1: why they're great - be specific (project, an essay a partner wrote, a lecture they gave...)

paragraph 2: why I'm great (match skills, interests with what they need/want)

paragraph 3: why we'd be great together.

close out with a strong statement about how you want to get to know them better and would love to discuss their work in person (don't ask for the job)

In almost every case I had a contact who was a friend of my advisor or was a reviewer/critic while I was in school.  Recommendations from former employees also can work.  In some cases firms got back after I had taken another offer, in which case they asked for leads (where a friend ended up with the job).  If you're cold-calling be polite, respectful and emphasize that you want to learn so much from them.

Maureen Rahman
Jun 12, 14 1:07 pm

Know your firm and cater your lingo to that particular culture. 

There is a difference between a "Hello!" and a "To Whom it May Concern:" introduction and both are perfect. You just have to know who you are sending it to. This is why there is really no such thing as a universally successful cover letter.

Non Sequitur
Jun 12, 14 1:09 pm

Hey, jdparnell1218, I'm here... what did I miss?

I've always kept the cover letter extra short. No one has time to read a 300 word short story. Many office receive dozens of resumes, if not more, per day.

Carrera
Jul 19, 14 7:03 pm

Courvoisier, some good advice here and there, best is short and to the point. I was an employer for 40 years and it was “Blah-Blah-Blah” – flip. But a cover is still essential. There are things that just do not fit into a resume and have to be explained somewhere. Here is my outline:

First – start out with a compliment in a short sentence. “I’ve been following your work….” This should be easy now; it’s all on their webpage.

Second – Your situation. Where are you and what station of life/career are you in. If you are out of town explain what you are willing to do. Do not ask for compensation/reimbursement. If you are a big-gun then they will pay. If not you have a better chance if you are up front and offer to cover. Also if out of town be complementary and anxious to be there. If you are out of work don’t mention it, it’s a killer.

Third – Hit the experience and capabilities with bulleted points. They are easy to read and memorable. Repeat them in your resume. In many ways this is the whole thing, resumes get scanned too.

  • Over 10 years of architectural experience
  • Fluent and accomplished in AutoCADXX, Rivet, BIM…..
  • Accomplished project manager
  • Exceptional writing and verbal skills
  • Exceptional problem resolution skills
  • Analytical, versatile, function well under pressure

You really have to OCD this thing. To be successful it really all has to pop. This is the document that will be used to choose you. It qualifies you. Some think that the resume is important at the interview, its not. If you get to an interview they have already judged you qualified, all the interview is for is to see if you will fit in and not be a liability. Also, all are correct, there are hundreds of resumes floating, you need to be creative, and they expect you to be creative. Send hard copy by US Mail and FedEx to principals and PM’s, they will look at it and sticky-note to HR. I believe in rifle shots over shot guns, target someone specific, go around HR…Jesus I feel sorry for today’s candidates, this whole HR thing with their gate-keepers is insurmountable.

Also, for God sake answer the phone! I'm not going to chase you.

One last bit of advice to you all. In resumes and interviews never ever, ever say anything negative about yourself, your firm, other firms, your school or your station in life, it’s a killer.

Hope this has been of some help. Need more? Just ask.

GraduatedLicensure
Jul 19, 14 9:23 pm

Carrera's advice is pretty decent.  The basic format is it to 1.) compliment the firm on something they are doing, 2.)offer something about yourself, i.e., what you are doing and then 3.) with just a soupçon of presumption offer up where the two of you might go together and propose a meeting to discuss further.   Be confident but keep it polite & succinct.

The people reading these are not stupid and have literally glazed over thousands of letters & resumes.  The trick is to write a personalized letter but not too personalized as you don't want to sound gimmicky or desperate.  Back in my day, I wrote many successful letters and actually had the privilege of turning down jobs and even meetings with prospective employers.   Of course, I can't post them here because they were written on actual paper with actual architectural hand-lettering and I doubt that most of you little shits even understand what that is (but if you do, and if you can, then you might want to use said skill [hint] in your letter writing.)

 

And for those of you who are young students (such as freshmen or sophomores in school) or even non-students reading this,  you might even want to try writing a few "fan" letters.  Starting a cover letter with a compliment is certainly wise but also a bit of an obvious ploy when you immediately follow up with a job request.  Why not get a step ahead of the crowd?  If I were a youngster today at some point I would sit down and pick out a dozen or so firms that I admire and simply write to them (yes, physical pen on paper) expressing my admiration & interest in their work…without making any reference to future employment.  Go fishing and see if anybody responds.  You might get a response and actually strike up a casual relationship and this could pay huge dividends later when you are looking for jobs and/or genuine mentorship.

GraduatedLicensure
Jul 19, 14 9:29 pm

And yeah, make a habit of avoiding saying anything negative or apologetic about yourself or your work.  It's mind-blowing how many of you little shits sabotage yourselves.  Do you really think that I'm going to hire you so that you can sabotage my firm with some crap about how "we wanted to do this but had to settle for this because of, like, whatever" garbage?  No, I'm not and you should consider yourself lucky if I don't throw you out of my office for wasting my time.

Carrera
Jul 20, 14 1:07 am

GraduatedLicensure, good solid points and ideas. Problem today is email. They are all in many ways their own worst enemy, clicking send 50 times. Multiply that by everybody in the country and you get HR departments. I was reluctant to go there but ‘Old School” is the paradigm. Jesus Christ we are talking about architects here…if one can’t think outside the box and do something creative who would want them. I always gravitated to the better approach/presentations…hand lettering? I think I got one of your resumes!

To point, I was once advised to write or call and ask potential clients if we could meet and talk, I needed some advice. I used it in project marketing but the same applies, job seeking is marketing. It worked beautifully, it’s a soft sell. Ask to meet to get advice about your portfolio, job seeking or the business environment in your community. Go to one of their jobs and take pictures and ask to visit after, you had some questions. One guy in here is writing small articles for publications and asks to meet for an interview on their project. The object here is to get face-to-face with someone. One meeting and you have a relationship, multiply that even 5 times and you’re out of the In Box.

Another tool is networking. Just one hand shake and you’re in…fire off a letter (not an email) the next day and thank them for the opportunity to meet….better yet go the next day and look at one of their projects and incorporate some observations you made and wish them well with it. Nothing gooey, do some homework for God sake! Think of something insightful to say….take a picture of something/detail and ask a question, include your email, maybe they will write you back. Old School you “little shits” (you sound like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman)……get out of the In Box and face to face with people and the way you do that is demonstrated here and by GraduatedLicensure. Seek out others for more ideas.

Xenakis
Jul 20, 14 9:20 pm

an architect solves problems - courvoisier - your problem to solve is how to write successful CV - its a design problem.

GraduatedLicensure
Jul 20, 14 9:50 pm

"Nothing gooey, do some homework for God sake! Think of something insightful to say"

Oh, Carrera!…you are an architect after my own heart :) 

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