What is the best way to write a cover letter to an early-stage startup?

I have come across a startup in the very early stages, and I'm interested in working with them. They recently posted a job opening for a web designer and I want to apply. Is there any specific thing I should do regarding applying to a startup? Like a cover letter or something else?


Better than a cover letter is to actually proactively DO something to help them. It'll show them not only that you've researched them, but you're passionate about the startup and worth bringing on.

A man got a job at Square early on for just making them a marketing video on his own (back before they had one). Since you're a web designer, design a stellar 1-pager that's targeting their message to a particular niche. Something they could use on social media or something.

If they're like most startups, they're not interested in reading cover letters. They're interested in passionate individuals who can add value to the organization.

Answered 10 years ago

Cover letters are for bureaucrats in government offices or companies with HR departments.

Startups may evolve into Microsofts; but, for the time being, they'll be oriented very differently. Either they'll be dreaming about future success while staring at the ceiling or else they'll be working 25 hours per day to connect the dots.

The first kind of entrepreneur might like cover letters, and that project will generate lots of mission statements, business plans, and little else. But the practical entrepreneur with a chance of success will look at a cover later impatiently and maybe throw out your application because it doesn't get to the point.

If you must write a cover letter, make it a list of the work you'll deliver and the date you'll deliver it.

Answered 10 years ago

I'd suggest calling them or contacting them directly and asking what they need.

In my experience (launching startups and coaching them) - owners and principals are interested in attracting passionate and talented people to joint the team.

Certainly be ready to provide them with a resume or a CV if requested. But also be ready to share with them what YOU will bring to the team and to the company to help them succeed.

Best of luck!

Answered 10 years ago


Cover letter? Are you kidding me. The only people who write cover letters are "no one".

If you can find a phone number then call. If not, drive to where they are and meet with them. If you want to work for them bad enough, you'll invest the effort into talking with them face-to-face.

Answered 10 years ago

In all my 15 years as a founder, I never engaged an advisor based on a cover latter. So I suggest that it is waste of time. You can get much better results by doing some indept research about the prospect and their pain points, and thinking thru how you can add value with specific strategies/ideas. Think about all variables and multiple options. Then use your social and professional networks to get to meet the key decision makers. Finally make you case. If you do a good job you will get hired!
Good Luck!

Answered 10 years ago

Be it a start-up or mid-size companies or established companies, cover-letters have not changed. A cover letter, also known as a covering letter or application letter, is a one-page document that introduces a job seeker’s work history, professional skills, and personal interest in applying for a job.
When writing your cover letter, you must use the following basic structure:
1. Introduction: Carefully written to grab the hiring manager’s attention and explain why you want the job.
2. Body paragraphs: At least two paragraphs detailing your relevant education, skills, work experience, and suitability for the job.
3. Conclusion: A concise ending that reiterates your strengths and asks the hiring manager to contact you (known as a call to action).
Let us go step-by-step process of how to write a cover letter:
1. Contact Details:
At the top of your cover letter, you should type:
1. Your first and last name
2. Your email address (make sure it’s professional, and not
3. Your phone number
4. Your mailing address (Optional)
5. Your Linkedin profile link (Optional)
Under your contact details, you should type:
1. Today’s date
2. The first and last name of the person you’re writing to, or the relevant department
3. The company’s address
4. The company’s phone number
5. The hiring manager or company’s email address
2. Opening Salutation:
Make a great first impression by addressing your cover letter to a real person using their name. Robotic and impersonal greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” will come off as lazy and insincere. Not sure who to address? Try checking the company website, searching LinkedIn, or even calling or emailing human resources to ask. If you are still having problems addressing your cover letter, follow these tips:
i. If you are not certain about the recruiter’s title (like Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc.,) you can drop it from your salutation. For instance, “Dear Jane Smith” is acceptable.
ii. If you cannot figure out who the recruiter is, you can guess. For instance, if you are applying for a marketing position, you can address the marketing director by name instead.
iii. If you cannot find anyone’s name, you can address it to the department. For instance, “Dear Marketing Department” is acceptable.

3. Intro Paragraph: Job seekers agonize over how to start their cover letters, but it’s actually quite simple. A successful cover letter introduction must include the following:
i. Job position: The name of the position you are applying for
ii. Company name: The name of the company you are applying for
iii. Intention to apply: An enthusiastic announcement that you are applying for that position
So long as your cover letter’s opening lines have those ingredients, you will successfully hook the hiring manager into reading more.
4. Body Paragraphs:
Next, it is time to argue persuasively why you’re the right person to do the job. To write these paragraphs well, and sell yourself as great candidate, remember three main points:
i. Be bold, but do not brag: A strong cover letter conveys confidence. If you’re able to provide evidence for a claim (like that you’re the best candidate for the job), put that evidence in your cover letter. But do not make wild and fact less claims about your abilities.
ii. Be honest, and do not embellish: Do not lie or even stretch the truth about your experience, as getting caught could devastate your career. It is not necessary anyway — you will get a job with the experience you have got.
iii. Do not include irrelevant information: Your cover letter should be tailored to the job and company you are applying for. Your cover letter (and resume) should respond to the job posting, directly referencing the skills and qualifications outlined by the recruiter.
5. Closing Paragraph:
When writing your cover letter closing, be polite, confident, and continue to sell yourself as a candidate. It is important to write your final paragraph as thoughtfully and strategically as the rest of your cover letter, so be sure to include the following:
1. Thank the hiring manager for reviewing your resume and cover letter
2. Concisely summarize why you would be a good hire
3. Reiterate your excitement about the opportunity
4. Politely ask them to send you an invitation to interview
6. Closing Salutation: Sign off your cover letter with a professional closing salutation:
i. Sincerely
ii. Best
iii. Regards
iv. Thank you
v. Respectfully
vi. Kind regards
vii. Best regards
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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