I’ve been looking for a job for a long time and very seriously the last five months. In that time, I’ve sent hundreds of copies of my many resumes and cover letters, each tailored to the particular employer. Composing cover letters is an art in itself. At first, I wasn’t any good at it. But as time when forward, I got better at it.
Fortunately, I have taken a job, finally, at the United States Postal Service. But it was a job that required no cover letter. As a matter of compulsion, I continue to apply for jobs. Below is a cover letter I just sent out today to a large and influential nonprofit. it’s the 100th cover letter I’ve written in the last months. I wish I could tell you the name of the organization, but I’m not sure that’s professional. In any case, once they turn me down, I will be more than happy to tell you who they are.
Big, Giant Nonprofit
November 23, 2019
Dear Search Committee,
I am applying for the position of Communications Specialist you advertised on LinkedIn. I am an accomplished writer, having freelance edited and written articles for local publications since 1995. I am also experienced in publishing, both print and online. This experience combined with my writing and interdisciplinary research background make me a strong candidate for the position.
I have over 24 years of writing long- and short-form marketing and literary material. Formerly, I worked as an award-winning investigative journalist, editor, and review and op/ed writers. I have also worked since 2000 as a freelance editor, journalist, and writer. I also teach memoir- and nonfiction-writing workshops for adults with the Writers Place, a Kansas City literary arts center, and Mid-Continent Public Libraries. I have authored two critically acclaimed university press-published travel memoirs. My third book is now under contract with Skyhorse Publishing and will be published in May 2020. I regularly write reviews for historical and regional studies journals. I also publish widely in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. As an author, scholar, and writer, I make numerous public presentations and speaking engagements annually for audiences as small as five and as large as 500. I have also maintained my own website since 2009.
I have edited books for a large local publisher, where I also had to ghostwrite books, as well as mentor and guide authors in the completion of their projects. I established, maintained, and nurtured relationships with authors, editors, and agents. My job included creating works from the idea to the bookstore shelf, including overseeing production (graphics and layout), marketing, working with a sales force, and dealing with fellow editors and directly with the publisher. I worked as an award-winning investigative journalist, opinion/editorial writer, and news editor. I coached journalists on their writing, helping them create effective and revealing articles that won local and regional awards.
I have also successfully marketed and promoted my two nonfiction works with little backing from the publisher—presentations at private clubs, with Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, public libraries, and other public presentations. I was responsible for all facets of dealing with the public and public relations and marketing, including issuing press releases, making radio and television appearances, contacting numerous print publications and newspapers, and wrangling social media.
My writing experience includes my years in teaching. I have taught a variety of courses at JCCC, and in my graduate and doctoral studies. My students have ranged from age 15 years to adult learners in their 60s. Some come to the classroom prepared for college, but many are underprepared for the work ahead of them. A significant part of my courses is focused on writing essays, particularly responses to primary documents and scholarly articles. Many times, I must tutor these students in the basics of writing for academia. I have also worked with more experienced writers who need assistance with clarity, economic writing, and formatting texts for various purposes. In addition, over the years, I have successfully taught and mentored unexperienced students, and students with physical and learning disabilities including hearing impairment with their writing.
My customer-service and computer skills are outstanding—working with several different programs at once in my teaching and administrative duties. I have taught a variety of courses at JCCC, and in my graduate and doctoral studies. I develop and teach online (10+ years’ experience with various Learning Management Systems) and face-to-face courses for a racially and ethnically diverse range of adult students. I face these challenges with enthusiasm, as I believe every person, student, and client deserves my best effort. I am expert with the Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Word and PowerPoint. My versatility and rapport with students and colleagues are well known in my department and beyond.
In my doctoral studies, I used scientific, technical, and specialized science studies for my dissertation. As a journalist and scholar, I have used intense and extensive interdisciplinary research to write articles and reviews. I have used sophisticated information and communicated it in a way that readers in the general public could access and digest.
When it comes to understanding the intricacies of nonprofit organizations, I have also been a member of the board of directors of the Community Action Agency of Greater Kansas City since 2007—a $6.5 million agency responsible for the distribution of Community Service Block Grants to low-income residents of Clay, Platte, and Jackson counties in Missouri. I serve at the pleasure of the Mayor of Kansas City. I presently sit on the board’s finance and personnel committees and have been the board’s vice president since 2013. As a board member, I have been integral in developing and communicating the agency’s mission and brand strategy. I have been involved in steering the agency, making personnel decisions (including evaluating the CEO), and developing and implementing long-term strategic planning and goals. I act as one of the overseers of the agency’s monthly, quarterly, and annual budgets. As board members, we deal directly with Missouri state officials in the Division of Social Services, oversee agency internal financial and operational audits, and oversee the agency’s activities and services in the low-income community.
I have also worked for over ten years with the Westside Community Action Network, a neighborhood nonprofit that advocates for immigrants and neighborhood improvement issues. As a member of the board, I have overseen operations, donor attraction and management, and relationships with city and county government, as well as operation of our day-labor center for undocumented immigrants.
I look forward to the challenges facing a Communications Specialist with Big, Giant Nonprofit. I will implement best skills and experience to contribute to the venerable mission of the organization. My versatile and extensive writing experience and personal presence make me an great candidate for the position.
Sincerely, Patrick Dobson