Could this cover letter sample be more targeted for a nonprofit? I don't think so. And, for that very reason, I'm pretty sure the hiring manager will find this applicant a good fit for his human rights nonprofit.
Kate wrote a really heartfelt cover letter, which she sent to me for review. I like the way she weaves her passion for human rights into her qualifications for being an executive assistant in finance. Take a look.
My Comments on Kate's Cover Letter Sample
After Kate sent me her cover letter, I responded with just a few comments to make it better. But really, Kate did a great job on her own.
I love your cover letter — at least I did once I got into it. But it took a few sentences for me to start liking it, and that might be a problem. If you don't grab your reader in the first paragraph, you could lose him all together.
The first sentence sounds like so many other cover letters I’ve read. Sort of ho-hum even though you use the word "excitement." I wonder if you could either rewrite it to reflect the passion you show later in the letter, or simply delete that first phrase.
One more thing, see if you can find a person’s name for your salutation. If you can’t, then write, “Dear Manager” or “Dear Director” instead of “Dear Madam/Sir.” "Dear Madam/Sir" is so old-fashioned.
With my edits, here's what the start of your letter would look like.
Dear Ms XX,
I wish to express my interest in the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Finance, which I saw posted on Idealist.org.
Now, let's put that with the rest of your cover letter to see how it flows.
Sample Cover Letter for an Executive Assistant at a Nonprofit
Dear Ms X,
I wish to express my interest in the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Finance, which I saw posted on Idealist.org. With its outstanding reputation, XX has long been on my “dream list” for places to work. I feel that my combination of skills and experience in administration and my passion for human rights make me a qualified candidate for this position.
One of my favorite quotes from Rumi (and words to live by) is “let the beauty we love be what we do.” When there is passion behind the work we do, it fuels us to work for the change we believe is possible. Beyond my administration experience in budget management, calendar management, facilitation, and meeting coordination I have the aspiration to surround myself with those who are committed to human rights and change. Without a doubt, XX offers that experience and atmosphere.
The organization’s work in Haiti and around the world, offering primary healthcare to the poor, is beyond inspiring. I would be honored to work alongside people who have dedicated their lives to defending the human rights of others and saving lives.
Through my work, volunteer, and travel experience, I have honed my interpersonal, organizational, and presentation skills. I am a self-directed team player who has careful attention to detail and experience in program planning and volunteer coordination. I am thrilled about the possibility of deploying my skills, positive attitude, and strong work ethic in the service of the XX Finance team and wider XX community.
Thank you for considering my application. I can be reached at your convenience via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.
Other Cover Letter Samples
Want to see more cover letter examples? Here you go...
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Plan on working on your cover letter this weekend? While there are plenty of resources out there—including ours!—Amy Gallo of Harvard Business Review recently compiled a list of tips for a great cover letters based on interviews with hiring managers and case studies. Both case studies are of nonprofits and include helpful advice for people looking to land a job in the sector. In one case study, a potential candidate wanted to work for the International Rescue Committee and applied for multiple positions. Here’s what she did to stand out:
Sarah Vania, the organization’s regional HR director, says that Emily’s letters caught her attention, especially because they included several video links that showed the results of Emily’s advocacy and fundraising work at other organizations. Emily explains, “I had prior experience advocating for former child soldiers, human trafficking survivors, vulnerable women, and displaced persons. It’s one thing to make statements in a cover letter, like ‘I can make a pitch, I am a creative person, I am thoughtful,’ but showing these qualities seemed like a better way of convincing the recruiter that the statements were true.”
Read the rest of case study and Amy’s tips on Harvard Business Review.
Amy’s advice and the insights from hiring managers confirm what we know about nonprofit hiring managers from our recent annual survey: genuine interest in the mission and hands-on experience (whether it be through a job, internship, or volunteer opportunity) are key to making a powerful first impression.
Come across any other helpful cover letter tips? Share them in the comments.
Tags: amy gallo, cover letter, Harvard Business Review
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