with Michael Carver, Search Consultant and Marianna Divietro, Search Consultant

We have found candidates are most successful in searches that Aspen Leadership Group supports when they clearly articulate their connection to the mission of the organization and their ability to succeed in the role. The right place to convey these two important messages is in a cover letter.

Here are a few quick tips to make sure your cover letter puts you in the best position to advance your candidacy:

  • Mission alignment – careers in philanthropy are about communicating impact and serving as evangelists for the organizations you represent.  So while it is tempting to use your cover letter template to save some time, we have found that explaining your connection to that mission in a few sentences sets you apart from other candidates and increases your chances of landing an initial interview.
  • Translate your experience to the opportunity at hand – help ALG’s search consultants and clients (perhaps your soon-to-be leader) understand how your expertise directly relates to the needs of the position for which you are applying. No need to review your career history at length. You’ve already done that on your resume. Your cover letter is your only chance in the earliest phase of a search to convey interest and alignment with the organization’s needs.  
  • Communicate to the right audience – our clients notice when cover letters give consideration to the reporting relationships described in the prospectus. Your letter should be addressed formally to the person to whom the position reports, which can always be found in our prospectuses. Pro tip: Using your cover letter to reference the message from the organization’s leadership within the prospectus is beneficial.
  • Get the details right – format your letter simply; it’s about your message. Take time to review, proofread, and make sure the letter communicates who you are as a professional in this field.

The team at Aspen Leadership Group values the relationships we build with candidates. The cover letter is one of the best ways to open that relationship in a positive and productive way. You can read our Writing an Effective Cover Letter article to learn more about the best ways to advance your candidacy.

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