Cover letter for a full-time job that shouldn't be
March 3, 2008 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Help me write a winning cover letter! I'm trying to convince a company looking for software engineers that I could be a great addition even though I don't want to work full-time.

I'm trying to write the perfect cover letter that'll convince a company that's looking for a software engineer that they'll benefit from hiring me on a part-time and/or after hours basis.

I have a job that I love, but we have a baby on the way and I'd like to get some more work to get into better financial shape (nesting doesn't just refer to painting the nursery!). I've found a job posting that looks ideal; they even want telecommuting. I have the intro paragraph down, and the teaser about how great I am ;> , but I can't figure out how to word the paragraph where I suggest that I would be a great fit on their team, just not from 8-5.

Or would it be better to just let it wait until they contact me to tell them I don't want a full-time day-time job?

Thanks to all!
posted by tigerjade to Work & Money (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Don't obsess over the letter - if you want this job, pick up the phone. In the letter, tell them a strength or two not easy to put on the resume, and then about two days after you think they will get the letter, call.
posted by caddis at 4:33 PM on March 3, 2008

If you would legitimately consider this job instead of your current job, then apply without sharing the detail about looking for a moonlighting gig. You can always negotiate on that point. Realistically, job2 will probably need you during business hours during the first few weeks - training, HR stuff, team meetings, etc. Is your current job going to allow you to take time off to do your second job?

Another option would be to send your letter stressing that you can help during the transition while they are finding a permanent staff person. Basically saying - I'm plug and play. I'll work while you recruit and train.
posted by 26.2 at 4:37 PM on March 3, 2008

Do you have the ad online? If so, post it and I'll take a stab at this in the thread.
posted by parmanparman at 4:45 PM on March 3, 2008

Response by poster: Sure. Here it is. Thanks :)
posted by tigerjade at 4:47 PM on March 3, 2008

Best answer: My 2 cents:

1) Don't focus on how the job will benefit you (i.e. "I have always wanted to work in this field" etc.), but focus on what you can do for them - it is all about them - why will hiring you make their lives better?

2) Does their posting list specific job requirements? If so, tell them how you perfectly meet each of them - "In your posting, you indicated that you were looking for a highly-motivated individual. By hiring me, you will find an individual who works proactively, looks for new ways to improve the company product and aims to meet the needs of the company's clients with the highest degree of professionalism and courtesy"

Also by personalizing the letter to their specific requirements you will stand out among the other applicants who have likely created a "standard" cover letter and then did a Search-and-Replace, changing Company X with Company Y.

3) Keep the letter short - 3/4 page max

4) Minimize the "I's" (I can do this, I can do that. I am this. I did that. I, I, I!). Focus on the "You's" (You will get. You will benefit. You will receive. You will increase. You can count on me. You will get a dedicated team player)

5) And if you do get an interview, be sure to send a follow up letter no later than 48 hours later, reinforcing what you talked about during the interview and bringing up things you might have missed. If you had several interviewers, send personalized letters to each of them - no e-mail! - you will stand out from the rest of the crowd!

Good luck!

posted by bitteroldman at 4:50 PM on March 3, 2008 [19 favorites]

I think you should wait until they're interested before you even mention any time limitations. Their first consideration is their needs. If you lead your cover letter with some special need of yours... The garbage can is only inches away. Most companies are closed-minded about this and many hiring managers don't have the ability to hire part-timers even if they want to (company won't allow the precedent to be set, rules forbid it, budget rules make it unfavorable). You are fighting an uphill battle here and you will need to work hard. That means going on some interviews only to learn they will never consider part-time.

Possible helpful tip: ask the recruiter or hr person, not the hiring manager. That person could be able to give you some insight, and it doesn't matter as much what they think. Or find other employees of the company and ask them if there's any precedent. If it's totally unprecedented for someone to work part time, then you should expect an uphill battle.
posted by scarabic at 1:30 PM on March 4, 2008

Yes, collective experience suggests that you should get them hooked on your abilities and suitability before hitting them with the part-time hope.

It is usually easier to convince your current employer of your abilities than a stranger -- have you explored taking on more responsibilities with your current employer?
posted by Idcoytco at 4:54 AM on March 9, 2008

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