Cover Letters and Recruiters

When contacted by a recruiter for a specific opportunity, the following technique can differentiate you from other job seekers since you will be competing against other well-qualified candidates.

Here’s the scenario and how to gain a potential edge:

You have been contacted by a recruiter regarding a specific opportunity. You are interested and qualified and the recruiter is willing to submit your credentials to the employer. Ask the recruiter if there is a job description or job posting. If so, get it and read it. In the same conversation or a follow-up call, tell the recruiter that you are going to send a brief cover letter (by email) regarding the position. Most, if not all, recruiters will accept the letter. Ask the recruiter, at his or her discretion, to include the cover letter as a part of your submission to the employer. Here’s why: Many recruited candidates don’t bother with cover letters because they think a recruiter’s involvement makes a cover letter unnecessary. Differentiate yourself from your competition and showcase your accomplishments and qualifications by writing a cover letter (remember the word cloud technique, which could help). Employers will note that you took the time and effort to write the letter, and draw the conclusion that you must be more interested than some of the other candidates who did not. And when the letter gets read, you have differentiated yourself even more.

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Marketing Emails—Proactively Marketing Your Professional Credentials

Proactively marketing your professional credentials by email directly to hiring executives is an effective job-search technique that drives straight to the heart of the hidden job market. With reference to the Cover Letter Success Formula, write a compelling email cover letter.

Marketing emails essentially follow the identical formula for content as any other letter with some distinct differences that should be observed to increase effectiveness. These differences include:

Subject Line. Good use of the subject line is vital. It must be short and attention-getting. A poor subject line would read: “Accountant looking for work.” A good subject line would read: “#1 Provider Technology Sales Representative.”

A very good approach is using your Headline from your LinkedIn profile, and then modifying it as needed using your professional judgment.

Inside Address. This is a communication sent by email, not by the US Postal Service. Do not put an inside address in the email. A date is unnecessary as well.

Attaching a Resume. Here you have to make some decisions. Some companies have servers with robust firewalls that screen out all unfamiliar emails with an attachment. You can either send an attached resume or not. If your email that had a resume attached is returned with an undeliverable kickback, try again without the resume attached. Another consideration is your current employment status. If you are unemployed, it is recommended that you attach a copy of your resume. If you are currently employed, think through whether you want to provide a copy of your resume. You may decide to be selective and send a copy to some companies and not to others.

When it comes to attaching a resume, customize the name of the document. It should at least be your first and last name with a space between them e.g., John Smith.docx. A better approach would be your name plus a branding statement e.g., John Smith Lean Six Sigma. docx. Or, add a position type or function e.g., John Smith Senior Engineer.docx.

Close. Your close should be different due to the “reply” function with emails. It is recommended that you ask the recipient to act in response to the email. An example of a good close would be:

“If you have an interest or a need for a proven account manager with a documented track record of success, please reply or call me.”

Telephone Number. Always put your telephone number in your marketing emails. The hiring executive may want to bypass the reply button and speak to you directly. Give them a way to do so.