The best cover letter I've ever written

Smashing Magazine (who are an awesome force for goodness in the design world) put a thing on Twitter looking for writers. I responded and they told me to send them “an email with a brief introduction”. So I popped open Gmail and tossed this off a minute ago. Hopefully the Smashing folks will dig it, but even if they don’t, this is going to be my cover letter forever.

Following your Twitter instructions, here is my email with a brief introduction. (This is the brief introduction to the email with the brief introduction to who I am.)

Me: Joshua Ellis, responds to “Josh”. Writer, web designer/developer. I was a columnist for eight years for the Las Vegas City Life alt.weekly; my column started as a sort of tech op-ed thing and turned into whatever I felt like writing, which apparently made the Nevada Press Association so happy that they gave me several awards for Best Column (Non-Staff) Of The Year, which is a very silly award to win, but I have plaques, so…yeah. I was also nominated for a Pulitzer for a two-part series of stories I co-wrote about homeless people living in the storm drains under Las Vegas. My publisher nominated me, but it was still an honor and I totally cried.

Have also written for, The Unofficial Apple Weblog (, Coilhouse, Mondo 2000, Mindjack, Axcess, What’s On…all sorts of publications, online and etched into the dead flesh of trees. I also contributed to the Underground Guide To Las Vegas by Jarret Keene and wrote much of the political protest section of Worldchanging’s User’s Guide To The 21st Century, which was in the Top 1000 on Amazon (actually, it was #13) and had an introduction by Al Gore, which means I’m welcome at the ranch in Tennessee at any time.

As a designer/developer: I’ve been making websites since Netscape 1.0. I’ve been doing PHP/MySQL and Flash/Actionscript for about a decade. In 2003 I co-founded, one of the early online music stores for independent artists — I was the creative director and vision guy, as well as the visual designer. That tanked in 2006 when our parent company, BitPass, got bought out by Digital River.

Since then, until March of this year, I’ve been freelancing as both a writer and designer/developer. Currently I work as a UI engineer for MedWeb, a telemedicine company. [Sentence redacted because I was being cutesy about my day job.]

I write fast, I don’t misspell, and I’m pretty good at explaining complicated things to people in a way that they will remember laughing at later, even if they don’t remember what I was trying to explain. And I live in Las Vegas, which is about one-fifth as cool as you think it is.


You can obviously reach me by email at [address deleted damn you spammers], on Twitter at jzellis, and if you open your window, hail a pigeon, and slip a fifty under his wing, he’ll deliver me anything you can write on a Post-It note. It’s a trick I learned in the war.

Cheers, Josh Ellis

(P.S. You did say paying gig, right?)

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