Cover Letter Winner

farm-to-table restaurantA culinary student recently asked me to look at a cover letter he was about to send for an extern job he wanted more than anything in the world.

Before he showed me the letter, he spoke of his grandfather’s small farm. He described the excitement of getting outside after the long winter and planting new seeds. He described how he felt the earth between his fingers. His face glowed as he spoke of the first green shoots peeking through the soil, the flowering of the fruit trees, the gathering of vegetables, cooking dinner using the foods he had grown and picked.

He beamed.

He asked me to look at the cover letter he had written to the owner of a famous farm-to-table restaurant.

He had addressed the letter: “To Whom It May Concern”. (This is a term usually reserved for the lost luggage department of an airline.)

The letter was beautifully composed.

Textbook perfect.


I despaired and hesitated…a little longer.

And hesitated more.

“May I suggest?” I finally suggested to him…”that you tear this up and write a new letter using exactly the same words you have just spoken.”

He had the courage to try this approach.

Less than a week later, he got the job! I don’t know whether he or I was the happier!