Workshop Wednesday – July 11, 2012

Each Wednesday I randomly select a cover letter sent in by sports job seekers and critique the letter. If you want to know more about how it works or how to send in your cover letter, see this post.

I have left comments open, but I will only approve comments with respectful questions or comments.

Please note, names and companies have been changed to protect anonymity. This person is applying for a development position within an athletic department.

Dear [Mr. Smith],
I am enthusiastically submitting my application for your consideration. As the Director of Reunion Giving at the University of [X], I am seeking the position of Assistant Director, Athletics Annual Giving. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow in the Annual Giving Office of my alma mater, allowing me to give back to an institution that greatly impacted my life. The chance to help grow the affinity between alumni, donors and [University X] athletics allows me to make an impact in the lives of the University’s student athletes.

I think I would combine the first and second sentences so the very first sentence identifies the job for which you’re applying. Then you can use the second sentence to state what you do now and give a brief explanation of why you’re looking to make a job change. I would say “would allow” instead of “allows” in the last sentence. Nothing really wrong with this first paragraph, I would just tweak it a little.

Throughout my time at the University of [X], I have been significantly involved in many aspects of institutional advancement, such as: recruiting and managing alumni volunteers, collaborating with team members to implement direct mail solicitations, and cultivating prospective donors. During the past year, I created and implemented the first campus-wide Philanthropy Week. As part of Philanthropy Week, I coordinated our first 24-hr social media giving campaign, [Campaign X], which generated 200 gifts and over $6000 in unrestricted funds. Recently, I received my own prospect portfolio with an emphasis on young alumni, which has seen our Young Alumni President’s Club grow to over fifty members in the first year. It would be a privilege to bring my energies and interests to your office and I know my background in relationship building, personal fundraising, event planning and teamwork would be an asset to your team.

This is a great example of showing and not just telling, which you know I emphasize every week. He tells in the opening sentence, but then he backs it up with concrete examples! Love it!

As an undergraduate student, I took every opportunity to be involved on campus and gain experience outside of the classroom. I served in critical leadership roles in campus organizations, such as: the executive board for [Fraternity], the president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, and Student Congress. During two different summers, I had the chance to work for both the [Y] minor league baseball club and the [MLB team] in ticket sales, marketing, sponsorship sales, and customer relations. By interacting face-to-face with business professionals and fans, as well as speaking over the phone with many potential sponsors, I gained the confidence and abilities needed to service a client’s needs effectively.

The only thing I’d change in this paragraph is to reverse the order. You want to move from the most relevant experience to the least. I’d lead with the summer internships and the skills gained from those experiences and then move into the leadership roles on campus.

A position in collegiate athletics fundraising and development will allow me to directly contribute student athletes at the University of [X] and advance my professional experiences. Enclosed is my resume for your view, and I am eager to speak with you about my interests and skills. I am available for an interview at your convenience and may be reached at [phone number] or [email]. Thank you very much for considering my request, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
John Doe

I think this is a great cover letter! I received this back in March and am curious to see if the person has been hired. If not, I know there are some ADs who read this blog. Need a good development guy?


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