In 7th grade, I was taught to write the Hamburger Essay.
It was a hard lesson to learn, first because my English class met right before lunch, and second, because I subscribed to the “write as you talk” philosophy (I wasn’t astute enough at the time to realize that though).
(And for those of you keeping score at home–yes, blogs reinforce “write as you talk.” I’m guilty of it for sure.
Although most federal positions do not require a cover letter, it is a great idea to keep your writing skills polished and honed. We all have to write and employers consistently, with LASER focus, tell me that writing is the number one skill they desire most. (I will write a blog in the future about whether they can spot good writing or not, but for now, I will focus on the cover letter).
As some of the carnivores out there may know, the Hamburg Essay works like this
- Start with the best possible ground beef to create a succulent, tantalizing burger
This is your thesis and you are prepared to defend this burger. In fact, you have a set of great reasons why your burger is the best–your toppings.
- Cook this burger to order
You must write to your audience or they will give your burger the thumbs down.
- Set this burger on the bottom bun
This is your intro paragraph that catches the reader’s eye and is a good platform for your thesis (it doesn’t go soggy).
- Add your favorite toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, but NOT pickles…common!)
These paragraphs support and prove your thesis and make it even better. BUT don’t add too much–you don’t want ketchup to distract your reader by getting on their pants.
This hamburger is a cohesive unit, but your audience is here for the burger, so write clearly and concisely without typos and grammatical errors that distract from your main points
- Then wrap it up with the top bun
The concluding paragraph restates your thesis and tells the reader that you just proved your thesis.
Hungry? Good. I’ll exhaust this metaphor in my next blog.
For now, I need to get something to eat.