(1) to show what you can do, and
(2) sell a prospective employer on the benefits of hiring you!
While writing letters may seem complicated or overwhelming, keeping a couple of guidelines in mind will simplify the task.
Guideline 1: Move the action forward
Letters that are part of your job search really have only one purpose: To move the action forward. That's it! It's simple! In other words, every correspondence you send should be crafted to move you to the next step on the path to your next position.
A part of each written communication, generally near the end, should ask for what you want, i.e. the next logical step in the process. In sales jargon, this is called "asking for the order" or "closing the sale." And this is in keeping with the nature of the job search process which is, in fact, a sales process -- pure and simple!
Guideline 2: Each letter = a sales letter
Each written communication is really a sales letter. Selling yourself is the common thread running through all the letters you write during your job search (Looking for a Job - You're In Sales). You should be selling yourself as you write letters to thank a contact who provided a lead to a potential opportunity, thank the members of an interview panel, introduce yourself to an unknown professional to whom you’ve been referred, request assistance from a contact in your network, or accompany your resume or application for a position . . . . Remember, the core of the letter is in its ability to sell. When you sell, it moves the action forward.
(1) Overtly, state your purpose in writing. You may be requesting an introduction, submitting your resume, thanking your network contact who took time from their day to meet and share information with you, etc.
(2) More subtly, sell yourself. Infuse your letter with information that sells you and your capabilities, and gains the reader's attention. Information about your qualifications, accomplishments, problems tackled, state-of-the-art technical skills and knowledge, aptitudes, attitudes, and interesting people in your network can gain the reader's attention and interest. Showing readers how you have benefited previous employers, and how you could do the same for future employers, sells them on you!
Whether it’s a lengthy letter or a short e-mail, the correspondence should show you to be a competent professional whose abilities and experience will benefit a future employer by providing a solution for their needs.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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