Career Geniuses: Da Vinci
When you say the name, "Leonardo Da Vinci," many things may come to mind for people -- the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, generally exquisite painting skills, amazing inventions, and sometimes Dan Brown's code. He was an incredibly prolific inventor and artist, with a truly genius mind.
He also needed a day job, just like any of us.
If you didn't know, Leonardo Da Vinci wrote a cover letter once to try to get a job with the Duke of Milan, and it is worth looking up the translation of it. If you do, you will notice something very interesting: he doesn't mention his art at all -- the thing we most know him for now. In fact, his cover letter holds some fantastic lessons for any of us searching for the right way to write a cover letter:
He doesn't rehash his past accomplishments.
He focuses on the needs of the Duke.
He explains how he can address those needs.
He gives the Duke a vision of what Leonardo can bring to the table.
If you ever find yourself stuck writing a cover letter, just think of Da Vinci. Do your research on what the employer needs, write a letter specific to that employer, explain what you can make happen or what you can bring to the table (like Leonardo's trebuchet, portable bridges, and flaming death), and don't just rehash your resume. Make it about the employer's needs, not yours.
And, for the record, Da Vinci got that job.