How to write an email to a potential employer

Cover letters are dead. If I were to receive an email leading in with “Dear Hannah … I’m interested in this position because of X,Y and Z … “? I would delete it. This is tone deaf. What I need is someone who can help me reach my needs, which is the reason why I’m hiring in the first place.

Today I didn’t delete. Instead, I’m sharing an email of a great way to write to a potential employer. The email is from a writer who heard through a friend that I’m hiring a copywriter and it’s a perfect example of what many of us fail to do: meet the needs of the other person before highlighting our own talents.

It shouldn’t matter – but it is worth noting – that this man is a Baby Boomer. I know this because of his gmail pic. Anyway, his writing proves he knows his audience.Here’s what’s so good about his email before reading it in full:

1. It addresseimagess my needs as his potential employer first
2. Then he shows me actionable evidence of how he can help
3. Which is supported by prior experience
4. He uses the email itself to set a tempo – short sentences followed by long ones, which creates a sort of song with the words.

Now that’s a good writer.

“I heard you were looking for a copywriter. I also understand you’ve hired someone. For future reference here I am because you never know.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.””

I’m X, a content and integrated copywriter with digital DNA and a Jeffersonian twist. I understand the value of the right words. And the power of pauses.

My diverse background includes CPG, B2B, and non-profit. Everything from HP to P&G to Twinkies to The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

When I’m not writing I’m a volunteer music therapist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where I pay guitar and sing for patients. I was fortunate to be honored as New Yorker of the Week for my work with cancer patients.  I also teach a business-oriented listening/communications workshop using improv comedy techniques. Amy Poehler was my first instructor so I learned from the best.

You can see some of my thinking at I also blog for the Huffington Post:


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