A Great Example of a Cover Letter

Funny thing happened today.  I got a ridiculous number of – frankly – horrible cover letters this morning.  I was starting to wonder if I’d fallen into some weird nexus of bad grammar and poor decision making, when I received the letter below – so well written that I knew I was going to talk to this person if they were even _remotely_ qualified for the role.  It’s clearly written for the position being applied for, it’s personable – but not too much, no typos – I could go on, but instead I’ll let it speak for itself (with the permission from the author – they just asked that I use the name “Max Power” in place of their real name):


I saw your posting on craigslist for the QA Engineer position so I’m submitting my resume for review. I have some experience in QA although it’s been a few years since I’ve actually had “QA” in my job description. But despite that, I feel that it applies to nearly every position that I’ve held.

I’m currently a Web Developer and I get to build online courses in over ten languages, which is pretty interesting and it requires attention to detail. Dealing with several pages of text in Thai can get a bit confusing so it’s easy to overlook small details like shifting an image two pixels to the right. After doing this for awhile I started to wonder if maybe I’m becoming too picky about the details. Or maybe I should find an outlet to express my nitpicking tendencies. Such as when I was a Test Developer many moons ago and I was encouraged to look for problems, no matter how small. I really enjoyed being able to use one of my strengths and to help improve an already great product. Now, seeing this job posting, I think it’s a great opportunity to get back into something that I enjoyed doing and that I was good at.

I think that I can help ZoomInfo because I’m detail-oriented, a quick learner and I have the mind-set. Although I may not have the years of necessary experience, I’m hopeful that you’ll give me a chance. One of the best things about my career has been that I’ve always had the opportunity to do the job because people were willing to give me a chance and I hate to disappoint. I’ve attached my resume as a text file so please take a look at it. I hope that I can speak with someone a little more about the position and the company. If so I’ll try to bring some interesting stories – like how I scored four touch downs in one game.

Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.


Max Power


25 thoughts on “A Great Example of a Cover Letter

  1. Barrett 10/11/2007 / 7:50 am

    Interesting point regarding cover letters. I admit to having gotten lazy recently. However, it feels like the majority of firms now use some sort of online recruiting system or a generic email address that is just sucking up your information into a black hole. The de-personalization of the process has gone both ways I believe.
    Any advice on how to better present yourself in these situations?

  2. recruiter 10/11/2007 / 8:37 am

    Hey Barrett – just wrote a loooong answer to this, then realized I should make it a post. Will be up shortly :)

  3. recruiter 07/01/2008 / 1:35 pm

    By the way – we hired Barrett a while ago. He rocks.

  4. Job seeker 01/14/2009 / 10:39 am

    Just personal opinion, I liked it. I respect this person’s honesty and this letter reflects his personality He must be a great QA.
    Actually I was searching for a different kind of lover letter for myself on Google and I found this. But when I saw comments at top I started thinking some people making fun of my own cover letter’s typo and grammar. But is it something important point to hire a QA Engineer which preposition, he is using and in which accent he sings? After all he is not applying for a Washington Post Proofreader or trying to replace Brain Williams for Nightly news.

  5. Martin 01/14/2009 / 4:10 pm

    To my mind, a QA person who doesn’t proofread and/ or catch mistakes is probably not very effective at catching bugs – they’re supposed to be hyper aware of mistakes, and how to catch them. Communication matters as well in QA: you have to be able to find issues and communicate their existence, severity, etc al to others on a regular basis. Frankly, knowing how to communicate (oral and written) is critical if you want to succeed in your career.

    And, yes: you are getting ruled out on a regular basis if your grammar & spelling fails when you apply for a job. This is a highly competitive market for jobs right now, and companies are looking for reasons rule you out.

  6. Martin 03/10/2009 / 5:32 pm

    Thanks – can’t underestimate the value of a good approach that gets you noticed (in a good way).

  7. lmerm 07/20/2009 / 10:11 pm

    You’ve got to be kidding. That’s a GOOD cover letter? It’s riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It’s terribly written. I hope that the position that the applicant is applying for does not include writing.

  8. Martin 07/21/2009 / 9:22 am

    Hmm. Not sure I agree with you on that one, Imerm. There aren’t any grammar or spelling errors in the cover letter. The quality – especially when you consider it was written by a non-writer (software engineer, in this case) – is quite good.

  9. Sassy 09/08/2009 / 3:18 pm

    This is a good letter, in theory, because it hits the mark of matching the candidate(skills) to the position in a confident, if informal, way. But, for me, it way misses my personal parameters for a good letter: three paragraphs, nine sentences (10 if absolutely necessary, only because you are that good.) 17 sentences is just too long. Most people won’t read it at first scan.

  10. Martin 10/14/2009 / 8:27 am

    It’s probably just me – I’m a sucker for reading. Honest. When I was a kid (if the Globe hadn’t shown up on time) you’d find me reading the cereal box while I ate, just so I could have something to read. I Am Such A Geek.

  11. Phillip 10/01/2009 / 7:48 pm

    Good letter, but I found at least one mistake: “Such as when I was a Test Developer many moons ago and I was encouraged to look for problems, no matter how small.” That is not a sentence, it is a fragment.

    Tsk tsk, a QA should have a flawless letter.

  12. Martin 10/14/2009 / 8:23 am

    Probably a good thing I never went into editorial.

  13. John 11/19/2009 / 1:27 pm

    Just found this while searching for game QA cover letters. I agree it is a good letter, I just wish I could write something similar for a role I want to apply for, I have no idea what to put into a letter regarding QA’ing games. :(

  14. Martin 11/20/2009 / 12:01 pm

    The trick is to tie the job you want to the skills/ experience you have. The cover letter is your chance to make the bridge for the recruiter/ hiring manager if your resume isn’t a clear-cut fit.

  15. Laura Paris 11/24/2009 / 2:03 am

    Your site is very nice. Thanks for the example cover letters. For cover letter example quick tips, check out my page too. :)

  16. Gerri 07/20/2010 / 11:03 pm

    Wow! That is a twist on a cover letter that actually got the applicant ahead of the rest. I am writing a cover letter at the moment and it makes mine look like just another cover letter. How can you be sure that the person reading such a cover letter will be a receptive to it as you were?

  17. Martin 07/27/2010 / 2:43 pm

    That’s more of a role of the dice – best bet? Use LinkedIn to figure out who their recruiter is, and gauge based on their background/ profile. Also: I wouldn’t try this approach with, say, Fidelity.

  18. Eric 10/19/2010 / 10:51 am

    Well I agree with Martin. I think that it is a good cover letter. I don’t see any grammatical errors or spelling errors in the letter itself and I have copied it into word 2007 which checks for both. So lmerm, you might want to point out what you are talking about as far as grammar and spelling errors.

    The only thing I found was ZoomInfo which is the name of the company. I have been searching for good cover letters and found some that are supposed to be great and they actually are filled with grammar errors like lower case ‘i’ and when they are speaking about languages they can communicate in “english” and “spanish” you are supposed to capitalize the first letter.

  19. Theo Harding 03/22/2012 / 3:49 am

    Max Power, he’s the man who’s name you’d love to touch! But you mustn’t touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn’t fear! ‘Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  20. Max_Power_cover letter_critic 10/18/2012 / 8:29 pm

    I find this cover letter too wordy. After reading numerous posts about how busy the HRs are and that they have got only an attention span of 20 secs to scan over my cover letter, this does not stand a chance.

    PS: I personally love this and did apply to many jobs with such a cover letter, but never landed an interview.

  21. Martin 10/18/2012 / 9:09 pm

    I appreciate that, I do – and, yes, many HR reps will scan this and it won’t impact them positively. That said, it does not impact them negatively, either. There are recruiters – and, we’re not HR reps, it’s a separate and distinct department at the smarter companies – who _will_ read it, and it will have a positive impact on them.

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