As a volunteer at a local old folk’s home in Virginia, my mom has unique insight into the bureaucracy and egoism that can be rampant in small towns. Politics play a huge role, even with something as simple as making coffee for the elderly, in an environment where everyone knows each other and needs to glean a sense of authority over one’s neighbors. Lots of big fishes in a small pond, if you will.
For example, accompanying my mom to one 45-minute volunteer stint required several rounds of permissions and approvals. It seems there are no less hoops to jump through when volunteering in a small town as there are for me to secure a job as a content lead in New York City. This is pretty commendable, which is why I wrote this template and it is what I would use if I were to move home and apply. Make no mistake about it – preparing coffee for the elderly can be just as important and detailed of a job as any other, depending on your perspective.
For those of you looking for an actual template on how to write a cover letter – and not the satirical paragraphs seen below – please pay heed to the footnotes for professional advice. Here’s hoping you enjoy this read while sipping your morning coffee.
To Whom it May Concern,
I’m writing to request an interview for the unadvertised role of “Assistant to the Coffeemaker” at the Adult Care Center in Purcellville, Virginia. Hopefully you will find that my experience is in line with what you are not even looking for in an ideal candidate.
Tip: State your purpose clearly at the beginning. This is the idea behind the inverted pyramid used by journalists. It is followed up by the nut graph, which is a summation of the entire purpose of the document.
For starters, I am the daughter of the Coffeemaker. As a familial relation, my apprenticeship will not only include a step-by-step tutorial of the proper placement of each powdered donut hole and quarter-sliced apple pastry on the appropriate serving platter, but also a keen knowledge of the complete roster of every man and woman who has ever – or can ever be expected in the foreseeable future – been known to have drank the coffee made by this Maker.
Tip: When you can, make sure to use specifics. The more detailed you can be in pointing out your strengths, the better
It is to your benefit that I have already been given a tutorial of the coffee-making procedure in advance of a potential in-person interview. For instance, I already know that the decaf coffee comes in packets and that it is to be dispensed from the carafe marked with black Sharpie-scripted letters spelling “decaf.” The caffeinated variety, on the other hand, comes pre-ground and must be administered with a freeform filter.
Tip: Present the potential employer with the reasons why your unique set of skills is advantageous to them. Remember, it’s not about you getting the job – they don’t care about that. They care about how you can make the business run more smoothly and therefore make them more money.
If you need further proof, please let me show you that I am fully capable of meeting the key duties and responsibilities as outlined in the Assistant to the Coffeemaker role.
My Core Capabilities:
- Ability to wash hands for no less, and no more, than 20 seconds while disposing of my paper towel properly in the trash bin
- Awareness of the skill of serving one half scoop of ice into the milk dish; and a further one and one half scoops for the iced tea and apple juice, respectively
- Experience warming apple turnovers and blueberry muffins in the microwave; with awareness that the powdered donut holes need an extra 30 seconds
- Superior upper-body strength supports the need to lift and carry large portions of liquids from counter-to-cart-to-table
- Keen knowledge of my rank, understanding that whatever the Coffeemaker says, is what goes, because she holds the key fob to the main entrance on a chain around her neck
Tip: Recruiters love bullet point lists. If most people spend 15 seconds or less on articles that they sourced themselves – and therefore are uniquely interested in – then how long do you think they’ll spend on reading a one-pager that’s all about you? Also, most people scroll down to the bottom first and then head back up to the top – don’t fool yourself that this is a key placement area for your core strengths.
I’m sure you are looking for someone who can tend to the Adult Care Members with the utmost of care. Your ideal candidate will probably know how to serve coffee made with love. This, I can assure you, is a core strength of mine as I have spent 31 years learning to love the endless list of mindless tasks served up to me by my Maker.
Tip: Always add a personal touch at the end – it humanizes you.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.