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  • 19 Feb 2021 4:39 PM | Anonymous



    Marie Zimenoff 

    Career Thought Leaders & Resume Writing Academy

    and Thomas Powner


    People assume that a cover letter is out of style, but it is not true. A cover letter is really about connecting with the hiring manager and starting the conversation to see if the opportunity is a mutual fit – and genuine connection never goes out of style!

    Many hiring managers and recruiters read cover letters after reading resumes to get a deeper understanding of the applicants who are qualified for the position. Cover letters should help you land an interview, rather than disqualify you. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing a cover letter.


    Avoid copying your resume information 

    You can have a great resume and you possess the skill set, experience, and education for the position. However, if your cover letter does not add information and just repeats what is in your resume, you are losing an opportunity to continue to market yourself. 

    Writing a letter to the hiring managers helps prove how well you communicate. They will pick up on it if you just copied word for word from the job posting. They can perceive this as lazy, even though it is more likely you just didn’t know what to say.  

    What can you do instead? You can create stories from the highlights of your resume. It can be a full story that you could not tell in a resume. Or, you can address the top five competencies and traits they are looking for in that position, and show how you are a good fit. 

    Review the job description and talk to your network to identify specific areas of concern. Go deeper into the stories that show you have solved similar problems in the past. 

    If they are looking for something specific and you do not have that experience, do not hide the fact you may not be that person. You could say, for example:“I know you are looking for someone with five years of experience, but I am sure that my one year of deep experience in X, Y and Z will make up for it.”


    Making connection with the company

    The employers should feel that you are making a connection with them. How do you connect with the company, its mission and vision, and the products and services it offers? They want to hire a person who really connects to the company’s culture and how it operates. Why do you want to work there?

    Making that connection helps the recruiter understand that you could be the right person. What do you know about them? Have you seen someone from the company who did a presentation? Have you read something about the company in a news article? Read the company’s website and look into its history and future plans. 

    A client who was recruited for sales wrote in the cover letter: “I noticed in the past three years, your company has been going a little backwards in sales and profits. I would love to be part of that solution to get the company back on track.” This showed the hiring manager that the applicant took the time to really understand the company where it is now.

    Looking for some resources around cover letters and notes? Check out this 2-hour webinars on cover letters and e-notes


    Showing your voice and personality

    Cover letters that lack personality and creativity look exactly like every other single cover letter. They are boring. They do not persuade the recruiters. The candidate is the right person for the job, but the letter is just lacking that human voice.

    Make your letter conversational. You can talk about yourself and what you bring to the table that makes you relevant. How do you lead teams to be successful? How do you boost sales and drive sales increases?  It is an opportunity to share a little bit of your personality by sharing stories or examples.

    Talk about relevant things, such as how you can fix problems in the job. If you are an entry-level candidate, you might share where you see yourself in three years. Having your favorite quote at the bottom of the resume or cover letter could add some insight to things you believe in and how you approach your career. That could really make you stand out from the pack. It can actually be fun to do when you start getting used to writing your cover letter and do not forget your voice.


    Following instructions 

    There are occasions when companies just want you to send a resume. No cover letter is needed. Then do not send one. If you send one, that is not following the instructions. When they require a cover letter, then send one because it is an opportunity. Include all those other pieces of information that are important for answering their questions. If the announcement doesn’t say if a letter is required or not, send one – and make sure it is customized to connect specifically to that employer.


    Discussing salary 

    Many job announcements will ask to share your compensation requirements or your compensation history. In that case, just be straightforward about it. List your expected salary or calculate your total compensation which includes benefits and healthcare. 

    You can Google total compensation and do the calculations for yourself, and figure out if that number would make more sense for you to share. Look at four or five websites that give you salary information, and take an average salary rate. It is pretty close to being accurate, but take an average because some of these sites have different algorithms in the back end when it talks about education and years of experience, among others.

    Take this example Tom recently wrote for a client, “My current base is $88,000 plus year-end performance bonus. I understand from your job posting that my total compensation will be above your scale, but I believe as the interview progresses, we can pinpoint a salary that fits both of our needs.” He got interviewed and hired at $80,000 plus a bonus package. 

    If the directions don’t ask for it, leave the salary out. We want to do as much as we can to follow those directions as possible without causing ourselves real challenges.


    Writing for a specific company and its “pain” 

    It is important that people realize that a cover letter is not something that you can write once and send to every job. If you are doing that, you might as well not send one because you might actually be making yourself look worse than not sending one at all.

    The challenge is it really has to be specific. Nobody wants to read a template cover letter. You want to make a connection and speak directly to why you are a good fit for that company. Then the readers (recruiters or employers) know that it was something that is put together just for them.

    Every cover letter should be a “pain letter.” You should be thinking about what is the employer’s pain by doing the research to identify it as much as possible. The main point should be about how you can bring the goods to address that pain. It helps you stand out and connect with them. 

    One of our challenges when we have been writing for a while is that we tend to get overly formal. Maybe we use the same introductions over and over again. We challenge you as a job seeker or a resume writer, to think about how you can put aside some of those formulaic and formatted responses. 

    How does this client connect to this company? Do a little bit of research by reading articles, press releases, and watching videos on the company’s websites. Most of them have videos about why someone loves to work there. Find something that your client (job seeker) can connect to the company. Do they know what is going on with the company’s product, sales, or growth?


    Demonstrating your qualifications

    When you learned to write an essay, there were always five points that led off with your thesis. These are the main pieces that show you are qualified for the role. Those are directly off of the job description. Any research you can do to make your point as how you demonstrate the qualifications that they are asking for. 

    You do not need to necessarily regurgitate your qualifications, but you do want to directly speak to those qualifications that they are asking for. We know that was an “old school” popular thing to say “here are my skills and expertise.” You want to highlight the things that might be differentiating your experiences, qualifications, accomplishments, and the stories that prove you have the required skill sets. 

    You are not going to address all 15 bullets in the job description, but you can bundle those into three or four main areas. Then, communicate your best-selling points towards those three or four areas, reframing things from the resume, summarizing, combining stories, or elongating a story that you talked to briefly in the resume.


    Closing your letter

    When you are closing your letter, you will be asking about the interview like “looking forward to speaking with you.” But, that language is going to be different depending on your role. A counselor might say, “I look forward to speaking with you about this.” A salesperson might say, “I'm going to call you on Tuesday and talk.” Or, “I look forward to talking about this job Tuesday at 10:00 AM.” 

    Different approaches in different types of careers and different industries. You got that close where you are asking for or expecting a connection. But, not everything works for everybody and that approach might not work for you.  

    In a job search, you are selling your talent, knowledge, experience, education, and what you do for companies. That is your brand value and make sure that it shines on your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, career marketing campaign tools, and any marketing programs. 


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    By Charlotte Weeks

    Executive-level clients frequently ask me if they need cover letters. They’re not convinced anyone reads them, and they often wonder if writing them is worth the time and effort. These concerns are not completely unfounded. About one-third of hiring managers will never look at a cover letter, another one-third will go back and look after reading the resume, and the final one-third will go through the resume IF the cover letter catches their attention. Since you don’t know which category the reader will fall into, it’s best to play the odds and include a well-written one. Even if these statistics convince people they need a cover letter, they’re still not sold on the fact that it should be a good one. I’m here to convince you otherwise! Consider the following:

    1) Applicant Tracking Systems search cover letters. Keywords are terms that companies use to automatically screen candidates when they receive hundreds of resumes. The cover letter gives you an additional opportunity for including potential keywords.

    2) In a situation where there are multiple candidates for each job, it’s to your advantage to use any edge you can.

    3) Personal stories can make a difference. If you strongly believe in an organization’s mission, and you don’t bring this out in the cover letter, you could be missing an opportunity. Especially in associations, leaders look for candidates who believe in their cause. In fact, Michelle Obama ultimately got her job with the City of Chicago after Valerie Jarrett (the hiring manager) was moved by her cover letter.

    Though writing a powerful cover letter takes time, it may not be as much as you thought. They should just be one page and “less is more” – 3 to 4 paragraphs is all you need. Plus, once you have your first letter written, you should only need to customize a few sentences for each new position.

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:10 PM | Anonymous

    By Kathleen Sullivan

    After an interview, many job seekers dash off a quick thank you letter, relieved that it is over and anxious to move on to the next step in the hiring process.  Some do not send a letter at all.  A hasty or forgotten thank you letter is a missed opportunity to make a good impression and sell yourself to a potential employer. Here is how to differentiate yourself from others vying for a job by turning your thank you letter into a sales tool.

    Show the employer you understand his business needs: Often, a thank you letter expresses appreciation to the interviewer for the meeting – and stops there.  Rather than merely thanking the interviewer for meeting, use the opening of your letter to show that he spent his time wisely with you. Acknowledge that you listened to the information he shared about his organization’s goals and challenges by specifically repeating them.  Build rapport with him by expressing your mutual interest in meeting these types of challenges. Then, use the next section of your thank you letter to prove that you not only understand his issues, but also have the expertise to help him resolve them.

    Demonstrate that you are the person to fill those needs:  Make the employer envision you as a problem solver and someone who could be a valuable member of his team.  Start this section of your thank you letter by highlighting the top three to five challenges the interviewer described.  Next, demonstrate you have the knowledge, skills, and attitude to tackle each issue. Using a bulleted format, propose solutions for each of the employer’s major challenges.  Be concrete in describing how you would achieve results.   Focus on results that involve making his  organization more productive, improving business processes, building morale, increasing performance, bringing in sales or new customers, and saving time and money. Now that the employer can see you as the answer to his needs, go for what you really want.

    Ask for the sale: A good salesperson always asks for the sale.  Do not leave this critical aspect of selling yourself unspoken in your thank you letter.  You have made your case about your enthusiasm about helping to achieve his organization’s goals and your qualifications for the job, so now be direct. If you have just completed a first round of interviews and a second round is being scheduled, express your interest in pursuing further interviews.  If interviews are completed and the employer is making a hiring decision, tell him how you have proven why you are the best candidate for the job.

    It can be difficult to see yourself as a salesperson rather than a job seeker.  However, all aspects of job seeking are a sales process, even a thank you letter.  If you leave an opportunity on the table, someone else will take advantage of it. Remember:  it is not the best candidate who gets the job, it’s the best salesperson.

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:07 PM | Anonymous
    By Brenda Bernstein

    The content of most cover letters that come across my desk, both at the University of Wisconsin Law School and in my business, are bland and unexciting. They sound like everyone else’s letters. I call them gray. And gray doesn’t stand out. It just blends into the background.

    A Little Gray is Okay
    A bit of basic information is necessary in the first paragraph. You need to communicate what job you’re applying for and where you found out about it. But if you can “wow” your reader in the first paragraph, you are well on your way! Impress them with the most important and relevant qualities you have to offer, and make it clear you know you will fill an important need of the company.

    Time for a Paint Job
    The middle paragraph or two is where you have a chance to show your true colors.

    The “gray” cover letters I tend to see look something like this:

    “I have spent the last ten years gaining experience in X. At job A, I did B, where I gained experience in C. At job D, I did E, and gained experience doing F. At job G, I did H, and learned J. I therefore feel that I would be an asset to your company.”

    I hope you agree with me that it’s time for a makeover!

    Painting Your Passion
    Stop blending into the background! The cover letter is your opportunity to paint yourself in bright, eye-catching colors — as someone who would bring personality and flair to a position, or true problem solving or negotiating skills, or, at the very least, some passion.

    How do you do that? Tell a story that shows them who you are.

    If I were writing a cover letter, for instance, I might talk about how I won the trust of a contract manager who had been ready to pull a contract from my organization. One of my clients wrote about how he successfully negotiated a conflict at work and obtained payment from a customer who was refusing to pay. Another wrote about his quest for the perfect problem to solve.

    These stories will catch an employer’s eye and paint a picture of a real person, with experience and attributes that reach beyond a list of resume bullets.

    Take My Advice!
    I’d like to share with you the following letter, which I received from a student at the University of Wisconsin:

    Thanks for our talk earlier today. I appreciated your straightforward honesty. I felt like a naive kid who was suddenly given a cover letter awakening.

    Now, I took your advice withOUT a grain of salt. I took it straight and changed most everything. I am ashamed to call the last documents I sent you “cover letters.” I wouldn’t have wanted to interview me. Sad. In these new cover letters, every sentence gives information that cannot be quite gathered from my resume. I really tried to pour some personality and passion into these and keep the reader’s attention. I can actually be proud of these letters.

    This student says it well. Give them new information, NOT a regurgitation of your resume. Pour in some personality (purple?), passion (red?) Throw in some anecdotes (green?) And you too will be able to say you are proud of your cover letters.

    You’ll be a lot more likely to get that interview, where you really get to show them who you are. Email: brendab@theessayexpert.com
    Twitter: www.Twitter.com/TheEssayExpert
    Phone: 608-467-0067
  • 09 Feb 2021 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Certain words appear in almost every cover letter. I’ve explained below why you don’t want to use 4 of these too-common words and what some alternatives might be.

    If you want to make your cover letter stand out, do some editing and make sure to avoid these words completely. You might be surprised at the result.

    1. HOPE

    e.g. I hope to hear from you soon.

    OR

    e.g. I hope to be able to contribute my skills to ABC company.

    Why not?

    Hope springs eternal. The company doesn’t care about your hopes and dreams. They care about what you can do for them.

    Alternatives:

    I look forward to speaking with you further regarding my qualifications.

    OR

    My ability to take clear, decisive action will allow me to make an impact at ABC company from day one.

    OK, now we’re talking!

    2. HONE

    e.g. This summer, I honed my research and writing skills through a position at XX law firm.

    Why not?

    You and every other person honed something. It’s an outdated and overused expression. Tell them what you did and they will figure out that you honed your skills. If you absolutely must, use “strengthened,” “developed,” or even “sharpened.”

    Alternative:

    My research regarding constitutional rights violations culminated in a report and recommendations that guided the ACLU in future actions.

    It’s obvious this person is using some powerful research and writing skills.

    3. DRAWN

    e.g. I am drawn to ABC company because of its outstanding reputation and high quality service.

    Why not?

    You get drawn to a person across a crowded room. Companies don’t care to hear that you are drawn to them. And a bonus tip: companies with outstanding reputations don’t need to be told that you want to work there because of their outstanding reputations.

    Alternative:

    The relationship management skills I built while working in a state office are a match for ABC company’s commitment to outstanding customer relationships.

    That’s so much better, isn’t it?

    4. FEEL

    e.g. I feel the relationship management skills I built while working in a state office are a match for ABC company’s commitment to outstanding customer relationships.

    Why not?

    Can you see how adding “I feel” at the beginning of this sentence killed it completely? Tell a psychologist how you feel. Tell a company what you can do for them. If you must, use the word “believe” instead of “feel.” But see if you can avoid this type of language altogether.

    Alternative:

    The relationship management skills I built while working in a state office are a match for ABC company’s commitment to outstanding customer relationships.

    Delete these four words from your cover letters and I promise you more creative and powerful language will show up.

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:02 PM | Anonymous

    By Lisa Rangel
    Chameleon Resumes

    Crafting a great cover letter that is customized to each job search application and networking opportunity is a must in today’s career marketplace. Using a one-size-fits-all, general cover letter for all your applications and communications is not an effective means to uniquely presenting yourself in a job search. The following six cover letter tips will help you write a concise, impactful cover letter that will improve your chances of getting noticed and receiving the call for the coveted interview:

    • Ensure your cover letter is short—no more than a computer screen shot or a couple of scrolls on a smart phone. That’s it! Hiring managers and recruiting associates do not read much more than that length. If it is longer, you run the risk of your letter getting skipped.
    • Address your cover letter to a person—an actual person! Do not send it “To Whom It May Concern” or “Hiring Manager.”  Do the homework and research to learn to whom you should be addressing your cover letter and addressing the appropriately.
    • Specify how you found the person to email them. Most people have an instinctive response like, “How did they get my name?” when receiving an unsolicited, yet personalized inquiry. Indicate early on in the cover letter email how came to discover them to put the receiving party at immediate ease to continue reading. Whether it was research on LinkedIn or your former co-worker that led you to reach out to this person, informing the recipient of how your email landed in their inbox makes the person feel better.
    • Be explicit as to what job you are looking for, whether it is an exploratory request or if you are submitting your credentials to a job posting.  Do not leave it up to the hiring manager to decide which job you are applying to or where you may fit within their organization. If you do, your cover letter may get filed under the “T” file (Trash).
    • Do not write the cover letter as a prose version of your resume. It is not meant to be a regurgitation of your resume in paragraph form. A cover letter is supposed to summarize to the reader the value you will bring to the prospective organization and how your background fills a need they have. Nothing will put your credentials in the ‘no’ pile faster than a lengthy, synopsis of your career history with no ties as to how your credentials benefits the hiring organization.
    • Help the reader connect the dots as to why they should take action and call you for an interview or forward you to the right person to bring you in for a discussion. Use bullets, and no more then 3-5 bullets, to outline how you are a fit for the prospective position.

    Lastly, of course, end your letter with the professional niceties of thanking the person for their time and assertively offering to follow up to set up an interview time. Polite enthusiasm and humble persistence are never out of style and always stand out in a positive light in today’s marketplace.

  • 09 Feb 2021 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    I absolutely love the process of crafting great cover letters. You may have heard that some recruiters and hiring managers don’t read cover letters, but I would emphasize “some.” For the ones who do (and you don’t know who they will be), and for smaller employers, an impressive cover letter can make a huge difference.

    Your cover letter can show recruiters and hiring managers a little bit about how you would show up in an interview. Here are 3 tips that will get you in the door!

    1. Impress your reader quickly. In the first paragraph, after you say what job you’re applying to, list briefly the major reasons you are the right candidate for the job. This task can be done in just a few words. Yes, really, it can! For example:

      My experience as senior project manager at Blue Shoes, combined with my extensive coursework in business management at Green Vest University, give me the requisite skills for the Project Manager position at Purple Fashion Inc.


      Note: The reader doesn’t have to wonder whether you’ve got the training and experience for the position. He or she has a reason to read further.


    2. Say not what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company (they couldn’t care less how great a match they are for your interests!)

      Do NOT say: “I have always been interested in fashion and the position at Purple Fashion Inc. will give me the experience I seek.”


      Aaargh!! Companies are not in the business of giving you the experience you seek. They hire people who will make a contribution, not suck the life out of them!


      Instead, say something like: “I have been studying business and working in the fashion industry for the entirety of my academic and professional career, and I look forward to contributing my skills and passion to Purple Fashion Inc.”


    3. Tell a good, brief story (this tip applies more to smaller organizations who take time to read your cover letter). The person reading your cover letter is a human being, and human beings like stories. If you do a good job with your cover letter, the reader will be enthralled and left wanting more — that’s the effect you want!

      Here’s a sample story: “In 2008, I worked with our product design and marketing teams to implement a new product campaign. After 3 months, our marketing plan was on track but it became clear that certain production costs would have to be reduced. Through my leadership, our team reduced those costs by 30% without any labor reduction and the campaign became profitable in the sixth month of operation. I will bring this capability for incisive and effective decision making to Purple Fashion Inc.”

    The above tips have generated great success getting interviews, and I know at least part of that success is due to the effective, engaging cover letters.

    Don’t forget the resume of course, which must be tailored to the job and packed with your accomplishments!

  • 09 Feb 2021 12:55 PM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Just about every client I work with lately brings up the rumor they’ve heard that no one reads cover letters anymore. This rumor is ONLY a rumor and if you take action based on it, you will shoot yourself in the foot in your job search.

    In an article posted on Work Coach Cafe, a successful job seeker named John relates how the CEO of a company personally reached out to him to thank him for sending a cover letter! In fact, John was the ONLY candidate to send one — most likely because everyone else believed the rumor that cover letters never get read. John made an impression.

    The cover letter is your opportunity to show genuine interest and to make a case that you are specifically qualified for this job.

    Why would you tailor your resume to a job and then write a generic cover letter? If you are truly interested in a position, it is worth your time to write a unique letter to the company about who you are and why you would make a difference for that company. Do not write a generic letter and send it along with a generic or somewhat tailored resume to zillions of job listings, hoping that you’ll somehow win the numbers game. That is NOT the way to get a job!

    Instead, begin building a relationship right from the start with the company that might be your future employer. Imagine yourself in this job and write down what you will bring to the position. Sell yourself.

    Anyone can spot a cover letter that is really just a mail merge. Remember: You are a human being and, if you get past the computer scanners, so is the person who reads your cover letter. By writing a custom letter, you reveal your humanity and respect the humanity of the HR person or hiring manager. If you begin early to develop a relationship with that person, you are in great shape to be asked for an interview.

  • 09 Feb 2021 12:53 PM | Anonymous

    By Amanda Augustine
    TheLadders

    Many of you out there have asked me about cover lettersWhat do I say? What should I not say? Is there a general one I can use for all my applications? Is there a template you can give me? Do I really have to write one?

    Here’s what I think. I’ve talked to a lot of recruiters while working at TheLadders, and about 50% of them say the cover letter is essential. The other 50% admit they never look at them and jump straight into the resume.

    So what does that mean for you?

    You better write that cover letter! When you’re submitting an application, how do you know what side of the fence that recruiter falls on? Better safe than sorry, right?

    I know that as a job seeker, it’s really hard to understand how these recruiters operate. We could talk for hours about recruiter behavior and how frustrating it can be when we don’t hear back or get feedback. But that’s another topic for another day…

    Here’s what you should keep in mind for today. They’re busy. I mean, really busy. They’re typically trying to fill a number of positions at the same time, all with hiring managers hovering over their shoulders or bombarding them with emails, wanting to know when they’ll have resumes to review for their open positions.

    So it’s in your best interest to make it as easy as humanly possible for a recruiter to quickly scan your cover letter and get the important information out of there. There are a number of ways this can be done.  If you’ve come up with something that’s getting you a ton of responses, keep using it (don’t fix something that’s not broken!)

    But if you’re struggling with the cover letter, check out one format that I’ve always liked – it’s called the “t-format”.

    The main components of your cover letter don’t really change:

    • The first section introduces you and then talks about why you are interested in the job and company. This is your chance to demonstrate you’ve done your homework and know something about the company or industry.
    • The middle section show why you are qualified to do this job – how does your experience and skill set meet the must-have core requirements of the position?
    • The last section closes the note, showing your enthusiasm and creating a “call to action”. You don’t just ask them to review your resume; you let them know when you will follow up with them about your application.

    The t-format comes into play with the middle section. It’s designed to show a recruiter how you stack up against the job requirements quickly and clearly. Recruiters look at a resume for an average of 6 seconds – how long do you think they spend on your cover letter? My guess is not very long.

    To write a t-format cover letter, make 2 columns for the middle section: the left column is “Your Needs” and the right column is “My Qualifications”. Go through the job description and pick out what you think are the must-haves for the job.

    Remember that a job description will have a long laundry list of ideal nice-to-have skills. Your job is to choose the top 3 requirements that match your experience. If you’re trying to make a career transition and have to get a little creative by choosing a requirement that doesn’t seem as high-priority, so be it. These requirements will become the mini sections under the “Your Needs” column. Now write a little blurb for each of the requirements in the “My Qualifications” column.  Try to reference examples of your work that demonstrate how you meet each of the hiring manager’s primary needs.

    Don’t forget to make sure whatever you highlight in your cover letter is easy to identify on your resume. You may need to make a few tweaks to the resume to that it speaks more clearly to the must-haves in the job description.

    Try this exercise out and compare the cover letter to what you would typically write. Does this seem clearer? Give it a try with your next few applications and see if there’s a difference in the response rate. Remember, since approximately 50% of recruiters aren’t interested in your cover letter, you’ll need to try this out with a number of your applications before you can really determine if it’s making a difference.

  • 09 Feb 2021 12:51 PM | Anonymous

    By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW 
    Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

    Job seekers who gain interviews are those who tailor their presentations directly at the company advertising the opening. They show that the job seeker understands the needs of the company and that s/he offers the solution to those needs. Companies today are seeking people who can show they have a vision for the position and the issues created by the job opening, and can demonstrate their prior experience successfully implementing that vision.

    The average cover letter usually goes something like this:

    Dear Ms. Blank:

    In response to your ad in Sunday’s Weekly Blab for a CEO, I wish to express my interest.

    Throughout my career, I have participated in workflow analysis, performed ATM reconciliations, resolved customer inquiries and differences, and presided over meetings. I have traveled to South America and the Middle East, and discussed markets with customers there.

    I look forward to hearing from you and setting a time to discuss my qualifications and how I can contribute to your magazine. Thank you for your consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Janet Job Seeker

    The only good thing about this letter is that it’s short. But it also came out of a book. Janet isn’t in there, nor is there any indication she knows anything about the position or responsibilities of a CEO. She certainly shows no vision for the job.

    But what if she’d sent something like this:

    Dear _________________:

    If you are seeking a CEO who is interested in a position with an organization that values the status quo, then I am NOT the person for you. My goal is an executive-level assignment where entrepreneurial leadership, turnaround management, vision, continuous process improvement, and organizational development are keys to success. Be it a start-up, turnaround, international expansion, or accelerated growth company, I have the experience, ethics, and strength of character to build, lead, and win. Here are some examples:

    • Transformed the vision, direction, and trajectory of division and increased annual revenues from $200 million in 2006 to a projected $500 million in 2011.
    • Boosted revenue for International & Surgical division 17% in 2010, despite current global economy, while reducing operating expenses $3 million, improving gross margins 190 bps, and growing operating income 38%.
    • Launched sales, marketing, and software operations arms of a start-up medical technology company and created $20 million in revenue.
    • Increased X-Ray sales and marketing volume in US, Canada, and South America 15% in a declining market and improved contribution margin 11%.

    The list of my career successes spans the Americas, Eastern Europe, MEA and Asia/Pacific markets. I thrive in high-profile, fast-paced, and diverse organizations where I am free to identify opportunities, build relationships, negotiate alliances, and rocket new ventures to unprecedented financial results.

    If you are in need of a strong and decisive CEO, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you to better understand your specific needs and more thoroughly detail my accomplishments. As my resume states, I am a groundbreaking senior-level executive known for successful management by providing clear direction, ownership for key priorities, lofty goals, and firm commitment to those goals.” This is the value I bring to your organization.

    Sincerely,

    Janet Job Seeker

    Throw away the canned cover letter and show some vision for what you can do for that specific company. The results may surprise you.

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