Write a Green Cover Letter

A lot of employers put great stock in these tidy summaries of why you want a green job and why your qualifications make you the best candidate. Follow general guidelines for good cover letter writing. Make sure to tailor each letter to the specific job you seek.

After that? Green up your letter with these rules of thumb.

  • Get personal. A green cover letter is the perfect place to mention your passion and resolve about the environment. Don’t simply regurgitate information that’s already in your resume. Instead, use the letter to expand on the information or offer new details. Touch on the reasons you care about the cleanup at the local river; mention your organic garden; describe how you’ve declared every Monday a “no-consume day” and never spend a dime; or explain why your detail-oriented nature makes you uniquely suited for the job.
  • Don’t overlook the green. Employers want to know what relevant green experience you've had, even if it's not necessarily work experience. Perhaps you took classes in environmental studies or are handy with statistics (an important skill for many green jobs). Maybe you have experience fighting brushfires or grew up in grizzly country. Talk about your green-related experiences to keep your application from landing in the “don’t call” pile.
  • Spell out how your greenness will pay off. If you’re trying to snag a job as a sustainability coordinator, for example, and your resume lists eco actions you led on your college campus, your cover letter could describe why the campaigns mattered to you, what they taught you, and how you could bring similar successes to your employers. They need to know why hiring you will bring page hits, customers, profits, or similar rewards.
  • Be specific. Address the key points raised in the job posting. If a non-profit that deals with energy efficiency is looking for an “experienced, take-charge individual who is self-motivated,” use those words in your cover letter to help prove you are that person.
  • On the other hand, avoid hype. Employers are looking for an honest assessment—not blather. Job hunters sound clueless when they write, “You won't find a better-qualified candidate than me.” And, alas, it’s usually not true.

Adapted from SustainLane