Who is behind this website?
Stephen X. Flynn (www.sxflynn.net), Emerging Technologies Librarian at the College of Wooster.
Why does this website exist?
I founded Open Cover Letters shortly after being offered my current (and first) professional position. Having gone through the job search process and the emotional roller coaster accompanying it, I saw the need for an online resource that provides guidance to job seekers by providing exemplar cover letters. Examples of cover letters online didn’t seem relevant when I tried looking for some.
Why are cover letters so important?
A cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story with much more effect than that of a resume. Think of all the other recent grads competing with you for the same position. You need to stand out, and the cover letter is an opportunity to make your case and get the interview.
How do I know these cover letters are real?
Think of this website as a (free) App Store for cover letters. Nothing is displayed on the site until I have verified that the submission is authentic. In the best case scenario I google search the institutions website to ensure that the individual actually works at the institution, whether it’s a library staff page, a university directory or simply by looking at the email address if sent from a work email account. It’s entirely possible that the individual made up the cover letter, but there is no incentive to spend the effort writing a fake cover letter, thus I’m not worried about it.
Why should I submit my cover letter?
Providing an exemplar for current job seekers will be immensely helpful and will hopefully improve the overall quality of cover letters being submitted to search committees that you will probably serve on yourself.
I’m not comfortable submitting the cover letter I wrote for my current position.
As long as you’re hired and out of the job market, you could submit any cover letter you wrote that resulted in an interview.
Won’t people just steal these cover letters and tweak them slightly for their own use?
They’d be fools to do so. Every position and every person is unique. The product of both should be a unique cover letter that explains why an individual is the best fit for a position. If they steal a cover letter they are replacing their own voice with that of someone else and putting their candidacy in jeopardy if someone on the search committee finds out.
Will you accept cover letters from outside the library profession?
I accept cover letters submitted to library and archives positions only. It’s the profession I know best and a way to keep the site small enough to manage on my own in my free time. I have no plans to expand to other professions. If you think this website would succeed serving a broader audience, you are more than free to start that website yourself ;-)
What is CC:BY?
It’s shorthand for Attribution, a Creative Commons license that gives others the right to freely use a work as long as they give credit for it. Much more information about Creative Commons can be found on their website.
What a refreshing, positive look at what works! I was absolutely disheartened in reading Jenica Rogers’s blog post “The torment of terrible cover letters.” It was more “reality ranting” than professional guidance. I have learned much in perusing your blog and respect you for creating something truly useful.
Thank you Maevis for the kind words! I’m glad you find the website useful. Please spread the word and follow @opencoverletter on Twitter.
I second the comments above. Thank you for creating this blog that is truly useful to those of us trying to find librarian/archivist positions. It is a very unique idea.
Any one looking for a sample cover letter when applying for a job can get an idea of what should and shoud not be included by carefully looking at the coontents of the posted samples.The information, I believe, has benefits beyond searching for jobs in library /archivist positions.It is an excellent resource.
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