It’s imperative to differentiate yourself from the crowd when you’re reaching out to potential employers. In addition to your cover letter and résumé, create a customized marketing letter to send first to every prospect. Never send out generic form letters. Do enough research about each prospective employer so that you can easily tailor the letter to the specific position you’ve targeted.
While you will customize each letter, you can build a basic template that captures the core of what you need to say. Create a brief summary of your past accomplishments. Think of it as the tool that puts you front and center before you can walk into the hiring manager’s office.
Sending it without your résumé will unbalance the secretary who intercepts it. He or she will be reluctant to just send it off to personnel without the boss seeing it. That’s more of an attention-getter. Whether you are responding to an ad or cold contacting local employers or university alums, it’s a different way to get the decision-maker’s attention.
Marketing letters are most successful for an experienced person who can emphasize a number of past achievements, or for strong performers whose qualifications don’t quite fit the job.
What to Include
» Opening Sentence: State your most significant, quantifiable job success immediately. For example: “As a senior account executive, I consistently averaged annual 17 percent growth on active accounts and 20 percent on new business.” For a graduate, say: “I graduated with honors from USC with a 3.9 grade-point average in business.”
» Second Paragraph: Make it clear what you want. For example: “If your organization wants a seasoned account executive, please review my other successes.” A recent graduate might want to use: “Please review my background as it aligns with the requirements of the advertised position.”
» The next step is to outline five achievements (or less) that the employer will find desirous and want for his company. If you are a graduate or seek to change careers, don’t forget to include recent courses you are taking or have completed and/or related experiences, such as volunteer work.
» The next section should consist of one or two paragraphs that detail your educational background and work experience. Always pull from your strengths and omit less impressive or irrelevant qualifications to the specific job. If your professional experience is more impressive than your education, put the job-related material first. Try to summarize your professional experience succinctly. Example: “I provide 15 years of experience as a sales manager and have supervised up to 75 account executives and multiple regions throughout the U.S.”
» For the closing, state that you are available to meet at the employer’s convenience to provide more background details. If you aren’t pursuing a specific job but are trying to find an opening in a targeted company, indicate that you are excited to meet in person to discuss available opportunities.
Keep in mind that, as a routine practice, you can send a marketing letter before sending a cover letter and a résumé. It gives you a chance to present yourself differently than others might.
For More Information
For some great techniques and phrases to use in your marketing letter, watch this simple video:
Forget the fact that he’s talking about marketing a product or service and his quick sales pitch at the end. You are the product, and these techniques can be applied to selling yourself into a new position!
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— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.