In Job Search Step 5 we discussed treating every face-to-face meeting as though it is an interview if the person you are meeting has the authority to hire or supervise people. When writing to set up the interview — to arrange a face-to-face meeting with a decision maker — presentation is very important.
Cover letters are necessary whenever you send out your resume. Even if you are sending your resume to a person within your network or someone expecting to receive it (someone you met at the coffee shop, a cookout, or event at your child’s school).
Your cover letter shouldhighlight your key qualifications and explain why you are contacting the person. For example, are you writing to follow up with a person after having run into them at the grocery store, set up an informational interview, arrange for an informal meeting at a coffee shop, request consideration for a known job opening, etc. Finally, request that the person take some specific action like schedule an appointment, consider you for a particular postiion, or connect you with another decision maker.
Cover letter ingredients:
- Address your correspondence to a particular person. Don’t send an email addressed to “To whom it may concern” or that includes some other impersonal greeting. If you treat your correspondence like junk mail, the receiver may also treat it in that way.
- Proofread the document for typographical, grammatical, or other errors. Make sure that you have correctly spelled names, titles, and addresses. Call the office, check the company’s Web site, and review on-line resources like Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you have the correct information.
- Personalize your correspondence. You should be targeting your job search to the position or company that interests you. Likewise, tailor your correspondence to the recipient.
- Your correspondence shouldn’t be fancy or fussy. It should be clear, concise, and super professional.
- Begin with a friendly greeting and let the person know the reason for your communication. If you were referred to the person by another, let him or her know of the referral.
- Research the company, business, or industry, the job opportunity, and the person with whom you are communicating. Then target your skills, experience, and relevant background to that job opportunity or person to support your ability to do the job.
- Close your correspondence by stating what you will do next. End the correspondence on a postive note and let the person know what you will do next. How will you follow up with the person or make your next contact? Then do as you say you will do.
- Send a thank you note to every person who helps you in your job search.
- The note can be handwritten or emailed.
- Send the note within 24 hours after speaking with the person.
- Include an email signature with the thank-you notes and all other correspondence.
- Use organizational tools to keep track of your contacts and monitor/schedule your appointments.
Now, get to it . . .
Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.
This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.