Think networking and sending out resume after resume is the only way to job hunt? Think again. Writing directly to an organization is a critical step to targeting your job search and moving it forward. But what is the secret to writing the most effective cover letters? GetFive outlines that for you here:
The Opening Paragraph
The opening paragraph of your targeted cover letter should establish the contact you have with the reader. State the reason you are writing and set up a frame for the rest of your letter. Your opening should reflect what you know about the company or person to whom you are writing. For example one GetFive member wrote:
“Whenever people talk about companies with excellent internal temporary services departments, Schaeffer’s name always comes up. In fact, the people who run the Amalgamated Center, where I am now assigned, speak often of the quality of your work. I am interested in becoming a consultant in this field, and I hope to meet with you.”
Paragraph Two and Three
Give a summary about yourself. What is your background and where would you like to take your career? How has your experience led you to this point? Note a few key accomplishments that would be of interest to this target.
End your letter by asking for a half-hour of their time and mention that you will follow up with them in a few days. If you plan to follow up with a phone call, say so.
The Follow-Up Call
When you call, remember that you might have to start from the beginning. Your contact might not remember everything in your letter. Ask if they received your letter and remind them of the reason you wrote it. Don’t immediately say you’re looking for a job with their company. Start by asking for advice and information about the job possibilities in their industry. If you have to leave a message, don’t ask them to call you back. Simply state that you will try them again at another time.
You will strike sparks with certain people you meet, but you have to do your part. Keep in touch with important contacts and you will find sincere people willing to help you in your search. Follow these direct-contact tips to build your network and expand your career opportunities.