Looking for a new job? Targeted cover letters that really work

Fraser Silvey

By Fraser Silvey

22 Jan 2015

In a difficult recruitment market there are more people out of work chasing an ever dwindling number of jobs. Therefore it's no surprise that employers no longer need to advertise for vacancies or use recruitment agencies during these times.

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Targeting 'invisible' roles

'Invisible' jobs are those that need filling but are not known to the marketplace. There are three advantages of targeting invisible jobs:

  • There is little or no competition from other job seekers
  • It cuts out the recruitment agency fee
  • It demonstrates to employers your initiative in proactively seeking out a new role.

When targeting the invisible market ie you don't know if there is a need or not then you have a choice. You can target:

  • a permanent role
  • an interim assignment
  • a piece of defined project work.

The suggested format

Date

Dear,

Subject ..............................................................


About them.........................................................

Challenges they may face.....................................

Their likely solution

•       .............................

•       .............................

•       .............................

My experience in providing these solutions

•       ............................

•       ............................

•       ............................

About me.............................................................

Call to action.......................................................

Yours sincerely,

The definitions

About them. The first paragraph demonstrates that you understand what the target business does. It takes just a couple of minutes to find this out from their website. It helps to give one compliment as well!

Challenges they may face (the pain). If you are targeting a particular industry it is highly likely that the whole industry is facing a similar challenge. It obviously helps if you have specific information on that company’s challenges obtained from your network.

Their likely solution. These are the initiatives that the company is likely to be considering to overcome these business challenges.

My experience in providing these solutions. This is the first time you talk about YOU. For every company initiative you provide a short example of how you have tacked such a problem. The ‘similar, similar, similar’ rule applies here in that you want an example that is similar to the industry of the company you are targeting, similar project, similar size etc.

About me. Now, and only now do you talk about your relevant career experience.

Call to action. This defines the next stage.

The key to success in writing targeted letters is to place the emphasis on talking about the other party rather than talking about you!

Call to action example

Well, the traditional 'pitch' at this point would simply be to ask you for a permanent job, but I realise that the current climate and focus on costs may not allow that. However, you may find it of interest to meet with me informally over a coffee for 30 minutes, where I can demonstrate to how I may be of some help to you tackling some of your current challenges.

With your permission, I will call you on Wednesday 16 December to see if we can arrange a time to meet. If this time is inconvenient please feel free to call me. In the meantime I attach a brief biography which contains my contact details.

What happens next?

You may have the good fortune of securing a permanent headcount position. Alternatively, you may have secured a project or a piece of work that gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities as an 'insider'. When a headcount role becomes available guess who has the best chance of securing it? The insider or the 250 external applicants?

Talk to me today about career advice and support to help you make the right next move.

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