Cover Letters That Worked (Sorta): A Stanford MBA Lands A Foursquare Job

Business Insider found a letter that Foursquare’s director of business development, Tristan Walker, sent to Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai two years ago, angling for a job.

The whole email is here on Walker’s tumblr, but here’s an excerpt:

Hey Dennis and Naveen

How’s it going? Hope all is well!

My name is Tristan Walker and Im a first year student (going into my second year) at Stanford Business School (originally from New York). Im a huge fan of what you both have built and excited about what you guys have planned for FourSquare. It is an awesome , awesome service.

I would love to chat with you guys at some point, if you’re available, about FourSquare. This year, I’m looking to help out and work extremely hard for a startup with guys I can learn a ton from. Dennis, with your experience at Google and the Dodgeball product, and Naveen, with your experience at Sun and engineering in general, I know I could learn a great deal from you both!
I can assure you Im humble and Im hungry! Let me know if you’d be interested in chatting further.
I definitely look forward to hearing from you.

Stay awesome!

Business Insider is saying that this letter landed Walker the job. Not quite….Walker proceeded to send seven more emails to the Foursquare cofounders, and finally got a response from Dennis: “you know what, i just may take you up on some of this, are you ever in nyc?”

Walker’s response was to lie and say he was going to be there the next day, then proceeded to book a flight from LA on his own dime. One month later he had the job.

Now, not all of us can afford to fly across the country for not even an official interview. Stanford MBA students maybe (or maybe that’s unusual too, since you’re probably drowning in loans—we don’t really know). But the cover letter works. It breaks all the rules by being chatty (“Stay awesome”), poorly punctuated, and just a teensy bit brown-nosey. But it shows initiative. Walker says he sent these emails before the cofounders had addresses–he had to do some sleuthing to find out how to contact them. It was before Foursquare had raised millions of dollars and was just a tiny startup. Which is to say, Walker figured out what he wanted to do in the long term. And then he did it.