Assignment 6

Due 4/3 

Cover letters. Please read through the links covered in Cover Letters.

Write a cover letter for the application you are making. Please write this as a document (.doc) and email it to me no later than noon on April 3.

Even if a cover letter is not required for many types of applications, it is a good idea to write one anyway unless otherwise directed. A cover letter is exactly what it says- it is often the first point of contact between you and the organization to which you are making an application. It is essential that you are clear in your intent. List the position/ opportunity for which you are applying in the first paragraph and let them know why you are a good fit. This letter s your opportunity to show off why you are the best person- to sell yourself.

There is a fine line to walk here- between coming across as over confident and too humble.

Sections of a Business Letter

  • Return Address: Include your full business address and correct legal business name. You can also include your email address or phone number if needed by your recipient.
  • Date: Follow the month, day, year format. Make your date current to the actual mailing date of the letter.
  • Recipient’s Name & Address: Include the full name and address of the contact you are sending the letter to. The person’s title can be added along with the phone number if needed.
  • Greeting: For the greeting use the person’s formal name and end with a colon for your business letter. As this is a formal letter, follow the greetings with a colon (:) rather than a comma(,)
  • Subject: Clearly stating the subject of the letter helps you recipient quickly know the context of what your letter is about.
  • Body: Your letter body should start with a general introduction of who you are and the letter purpose. Include specific paragraphs outline the issue or problem. Close the body with a call to action. Every business letter should be short and concise taking into account of your reader’s limited time.
  • Closing: Here you can choose any formal format such as “Best Regards” or “Sincerely.”
  • Signature: Sign your name as the same as in your letter. Name & Title: Include your full name and job title.
  • Encloses and CC: If you are sending additional documents include an enclosure line and if someone else is receiving a copy of the letter include cc. or carbon copy of the other receiver or receivers.

You can simplify the entire process of creating a properly formatted business letter by using your word processing program. In Microsoft Word, you can use the letter wizard by going to the “Tools” function, select “Letters & Mailings” and click on the Letter Wizard. The wizard will prompt you through each field and allow you to choose a format.

Using the proper business letter format is one step in making your business more professional. Take the time to make the right impression with your business.


You should always include a cover letter- whether you are applying for a grant, a job, for graduate school or other academic program, submitting a project proposal etc. A cover letter is a general letter of introduction that identifies what you are asking for and what is included in the packet you are sending. The cover letter should state clearly in the first or second sentence exactly what you are asking for. Never bury this request deep in the letter as it should be easy to find. A cover letter can be short, only describing what materials are enclosed and why, or it can answer the requirements of the application-be sure to address all of these points.  A cover letter should never be more than a single page, anymore would inconvenience your reader. A cover letter essentially sells you as the best person for the “job” and introduces your project and/or practice, and your reason for contacting them.

The way that I approach a cover letter for employment or other applications which have specific requirements is to cut and paste directly into my document, the prospectus, cut out the extra bits to create a bulleted list, and then use those points to build my letter around.  (see below my process)

If I am applying for something that does not have a specific application, my cover letter is much shorter and acts as an introduction.

**Important note** While you can often use the same bio, artist statement and resume for many applications, you CANNOT use the same cover letter. The cover letter is very specific and lets the organization you are reaching out to know that you want to work with them specifically (even if you are sending out 15 applications at the same time). I visit the website, look up the mission and vision of the organization and try to get to know the group I am reaching out to. This helps keep me from wasting my time or theirs. You can often see if the fit is right by doing a little research at the front end. It is true that we are flexible and can often picture ourselves in any number of future scenarios. The cover letter is the best way for you to show that organization how you picture fitting in with what they do or what they are offering.


Below is an example of how I go about beginning my cover letters when working from a prospectus. If I am writing a letter of introduction when there is no prospectus, I still investigate the organization, make phone calls, find out the best person to reach out to and I am careful to formulate my language to fit the language of the organization.


My cover letter process example:

Step one:  Copy and paste the prospectus

The Jessie Streich-Kest Memorial Grant provides one artist or a single collaboration with granting funds of $1000 to complete a community-based project involving the arts. About the grant: Through this RFP, the Artist Volunteer Center will support an artist’s project that is dedicated to advancing themes of social justice, equity, and/or education. The Artist Volunteer Center is founded on the belief that when artists lend their time as volunteers, not only are they provided with opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of others, they are also given new inspirations for art making. This grant is intended to aid a chosen artist/collaboration in the completion of a long-term volunteer project, which will culminate in an artwork or series of works that is inspired by the artist’s volunteer experience. The Artist Volunteer Center is now accepting proposals. All artistic disciplines will be considered, including cross-disciplinary work. The project must be completed in New York City in 2016, and is open to individual artists and collectives/collaborations. This grant prioritizes the needs of underserved artists, particularly emerging artists, artists of color, queer artists, and immigrant artists. Projects will be selected for their artistic merit and their social impact. In order to be eligible for this grant, proposed projects must demonstrate long-term volunteerism in communities. This is defined as a prolonged investment of time and energy in the people and organizational partners where the artist is volunteering: We want to see you develop relationships and spend time with people, a particular population, and/or a cause. However, not every aspect of the project needs to involve community, and final products can range in form. Studio artists, performance artists, musicians, and writers, just to name a few, are encouraged to apply as well as those whose practice is community based. In addition to the awarded monetary sum of $1000, the Artist Volunteer Center will assist the artist in securing partnerships, and offer the use of its network in realizing the project. Proposals will be accepted between November 25th and January 15th, 2016. About Jessie Streich-Kest Jessie Streich-Kest was a kind, optimistic, determined, and hard-working young teacher who lost her life in a tragic accident during Superstorm Sandy. A graduate of Edward R. Murrow High School, her teachers there inspired her to pursue a career in education and to become a tireless advocate for her students at Bushwick School for Social Justice. She worked long hours to ensure that their academic and emotional needs were met. Jessie’s work at Bushwick School for Social Justice was only a small part of the impact she had on the world. A fierce warrior for fairness, equality, and positive change, she touched many lives with her advocacy for animal rights and social justice. Her short time at Bushwick School for Social Justice demonstrated to everyone around her just how much of an impact one person can make. This Grant is made possible by the Jessie Streich-Kest Memorial Fund at the Brooklyn Community Foundation


Application Instructions / Public Contact Information

Submission process *Projects that do not follow submission guidelines will not be reviewed* Deadline: Friday January 15th, at 11:59pm. Submit all elements of the application listed below IN A SINGLE PDF, formatted as follows: > Save PDF as JSK16[last name].pdf > Send PDF to Jason@avcenter.org with the subject “JSK Grant Submission” Application Criteria and format: Name Address, Phone number, Email Artist Website Project Title Synopsis: Briefly summarize the project, its goals, and concept. (100 words) Project Description: Provide a more detailed description of the project. In addition to elaborating on your concept and goals, tell us why your suggested volunteer project is important to you. Explain when and where the project would ideally take place, and how you will produce it. Why is the grant necessary to complete this project? Identify potential partners, where and how you will participate in volunteerism and/or direct action in communities, and what kind of follow up, if any, there will be on the impact of the project. (500 words) Budget: Create and include a detailed budget of your project. A budget line for living expenses incurred during the completion of this project is acceptable. Bio: Provide a narrative bio about yourself/your collaboration, including your personal history of engaging with social justice issues through your art, and brief descriptions of your past work. (250 words) Portfolio: Provide up to five works or links to video along with your proposal. Only two minutes of video will be watched per work in first rounds, so please note what the start time is if it is not 0:00. CV and / or resume: If the project involves a collaboration, submit bio, CV and/or resume for each participant.

 step 2: create list of important points


community-based project involving the arts

dedicated to advancing themes of social justice, equity, and/or education.

The Artist Volunteer Center is founded on the belief that when artists lend their time as volunteers, not only are they provided with opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of others, they are also given new inspirations for art making.

 aid a chosen artist/collaboration in the completion of a long-term volunteer project

culminate in an artwork or series of works

inspired by the artist’s volunteer experience

completed in New York City in 2016

prioritizes the needs of underserved artists, particularly emerging artists, artists of color, queer artists, and immigrant artists. Projects will be selected for their artistic merit and their social impact.

demonstrate long-term volunteerism in communities

prolonged investment of time and energy in the people and organizational partners where the artist is volunteering

develop relationships and spend time with people, a particular population, and/or a cause.

final products can range in form.

Studio artists, performance artists, musicians, and writers

will assist the artist in securing partnerships, and offer the use of its network in realizing the project.

About Jessie Streich-Kest:

  •  kind, optimistic, determined, and hard-working young teacher
  •  tireless advocate
  • academic and emotional needs
  •  fierce warrior for fairness,
  • equality
  • positive change
  • advocacy for animal rights and social justice
  • how much of an impact one person can make

step 3: Build letter addressing the above bulleted points 

I then use one of my old letters that has the correct format to restructure my words to fit the particular needs of this application. I am careful to address all of the point outlined, at times using the words used in the actual prospectus.


**Side Note**

I love this particular application as it has such specific instructions for submitting the application. I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow ALL directions given in any prospectus. Organizations want to know that you are paying attention to their needs- that you are a good fit. You can prove this to them by writing a specific cover letter for each application, and by following their directions. Take a look at these instructions:

Application Instructions / Public Contact Information

  • Deadline: Friday January 15th, at 11:59pm.
  • Submit all elements of the application listed below IN A SINGLE PDF,
  • Save PDF as JSK16[last name].pdf >
  • Send PDF to Jason@avcenter.org with the subject “JSK Grant Submission”
  • Application Criteria and format:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email Artist Website
  • Project Title Synopsis: Briefly summarize the project, its goals, and concept. (100 words)
  • Project Description: Provide a more detailed description of the project. In addition to elaborating on your concept and goals, tell us why your suggested volunteer project is important to you. Explain when and where the project would ideally take place, and how you will produce it. Why is the grant necessary to complete this project? Identify potential partners, where and how you will participate in volunteerism and/or direct action in communities, and what kind of follow up, if any, there will be on the impact of the project. (500 words)
  • Budget: Create and include a detailed budget of your project. A budget line for living expenses incurred during the completion of this project is acceptable. Bio: Provide a narrative bio about yourself/your collaboration, including your personal history of engaging with social justice issues through your art, and brief descriptions of your past work. (250 words)
  • Portfolio: Provide up to five works or links to video along with your proposal. Only two minutes of video will be watched per work in first rounds, so please note what the start time is if it is not 0:00.
  • CV and / or resume: If the project involves a collaboration, submit bio, CV and/or resume for each participant.

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