by Phil Baker,
A few years ago while conducting employment seminars I handed out a survey to an audience of over two hundred job seekers. One question queried the purpose of cover letters. One hundred thirty-two people, well over half, answered that the purpose in effect was to send a resume. That thinking can be off the mark and lead to a cover letter that does little more than announce a resume. When I am reviewing them, the results of that survey are substantiated by what I see.
Most job hunters believe their resumes will do all the work to get them the interview. They send cover letters along that are not just woefully adequate, they are failures. They do nothing more than state interest in the position and notify the employer that a resume is attached or enclosed. The majority of those candidates that do include additional information go on about how great they are, talk about their skills, provide irrelevant information, and plead for interview consideration.
A Cover Letter is Not for Sending a Resume; A Resume is for Sending a Cover Letter
Businesses, direct marketing companies, advertising agencies and sales people all work their tails off and pay billions of dollars annually to get their messages in front of their potential customers. They spend amounts equal to or more than the budgets of small countries to advertise on Google pay per click campaigns just to get people to come to their websites even for a few seconds.
As a job hunter, you have a golden opportunity. You are the product and your potential customer is begging to see your message. Your potential customers are potential employers. They are your prospects. When you send your documents, your message, you will have what businesses pay dearly for; your prospect’s undivided attention. Because so much is at stake when you are job hunting, and because your resume is an opportunity to send a connect letter, you need to use the principles of marketing and take full advantage of this fortune.
When employers post a job opening on their bulletin boards, their websites, or advertise a position, they are shouting for help. The fact that they want resumes is your opportunity to get your message in front of them. This is your opportunity to make a connection. If I had the power to transform the world of job hunting, one thing I would do is change the name to connect letters. A resume is the opportunity to send a connect letter. The right one will get you an interview without a resume. I have written quite a few letters for job hunters in response to job postings that have got interviews without any resume enclosed, attached, or submitted!
Requests for resumes are opportunities to send marketing pieces; cover letters that follow the AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) principle of marketing. Again you are already over the attention hurdle, now the writing must create interest, instill desire, and cause action. You can do this by using enthusiastic language and making a connection with the reader. Let them know how you have been using the very skills they are seeking.
Tell Stories with Your Cover Letters
A brief story (seven sentences or less) about how you have gone above and beyond the call of duty and exhibited a skill the employer is seeking, how you have been inspired to excel at a relevant skill, or how you have been recognized for that skill, can make a connection with an employer. If you are having difficulty writing then create a rough draft for your eyes only version of your story first. Don’t be concerned with the length because you can condense your work later.
Make Connections with Your Cover Letters
Think about an advertisement or television commercial that somehow connected with you. What was the connection? Most often the commercial makes a personal connection with a similar situation you have experienced and invokes a similar emotion. A person reading cover letters is screening resumes and often bored to tears. They are looking for that one document that reaches out and says here is an extraordinary person. They want to interview people who will impress them and possibly their supervisor. You can do this with cover letters. You can even tell a story about what made your last employer hire you. (If you do not know the main reasons your previous employers hired you make a point of finding out.)
Your cover letters can have great influence in getting you interviews. Unless you are a professional advertising and marketing copywriter, or you are willing to invest the time to learn their tried and true techniques and tactics, hire one to write for you or invest in professionally written cover letters that can be customized for your situation. Copyright 2010 by Phil Baker “The Hire Authority.”
Hyoâ€™s Note â€“ Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator SoftwareÂ ProgramÂ (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com.Â Resume DictionaryÂ might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.