How to Write Your Job Search Letters with Substance and Impact

When you're looking for a job you're likely to need multiple job search letters for different contacts and situations. The true value of job search letters is that they let you share specific information - achievements, project highlights, work experiences, education credentials and other qualifications - that relate directly to a job posting, recruiter search, networking contact, or referral. More often than not job seekers prepare a single resume to use for every opportunity. For the most part that's fine. At times, you will want to customize your resume a bit for this job or that job but the majority of the document remains the same. That's why job search letters are so crucial. They are customized to each opportunity. They bring to the forefront what matters most to each precise situation. Job search letters allow you to:

Showcase the most important items from your resume that will best position you as a prime candidate for a specific opportunity.

Go beyond your resume. You might share details of a particular project, an industry that you know well, a customer market in which you have extensive contacts … a whole host of items that you might not have focused on in your resume because they aren’t the highlights of your career. But in some cases, they may matter most.

Share information about your special circumstances - Career change, military transition and other unique situations. More often than not, this type of information is not included in a resume, so your job search letter becomes the tool for sharing relevant details so that hiring managers, recruiters and other decision makers understand your true career history.

Equip yourself with a portfolio of job search letters that will allow you to respond to different opportunities in a variety of ways: online, email, a good old-fashioned snail mail (yes, snail mail can still work in certain situations!). There are several essential types of job search letters:  job posting letters, cold call letters, recruiter letters, networking letters, referral letters and thank-you notes.

Six Hallmarks of a Modern Job Search Letter:

1.       Instantly communicates why you are writing

2.       Clearly establishes who you are

3.       Captures attention by addressing your readers needs and interest

4.       Includes specific examples of value and success, not just generic qualifications

5.       It's succinctly written and easily readable appealing to human and electronic readers

6.       Closes with a call to action

Pro Tip:   Keep the ball in your court. Every time you write to an individual, the follow-up is under your control. You have that person's name, company name and most likely an email address. If you don't have a phone number, you can call the main company number and ask for that person. Follow-up is courteous and professional and will make you stand out because most of the job seekers don't follow up with a phone call, if at all.

Need advice on your job search letters? 

Source: Modernize your job search letters by Wendy  Enelow & Louise Kursmark

Brand Yourself With a Career Snapshot Document

Your resume is a marketing tool. A career snapshot immediately informs the hiring manager of your capabilities and gives an idea of your natural career progression. 

A one-page career summary is a shorter, more targeted version of your resume that can be a very effective way of immediately grabbing a hiring manager’s attention. Providing a snapshot of your key achievements, strengths, competencies, experience and qualifications, it is particularly relevant for senior executives with many accomplishments and years of professional experience.

A one-page career summary can act as a useful marketing tool that can stand alone or can accompany a full resume providing more detailed information. As with any resume, it needs to be tailored to reflect the specific requirements of any role you are applying for.

We have three career snapshot resume templates available for download on our website. Check out our templates here: 

Career Snapshot

Executive Resume Template 1

Executive Resume Template 2

8 Books Every Job Seeker Should Read

Whether you're just starting out in your career or making a transition, odds are there's some part of the job search process that's at least a little mystifying.

From interviewing to negotiating your salary, there are a lot of factors at play when looking for a new job, and one mistake could put the kibosh on the whole thing.

To master the art of the job search, here are eight books that can guide you through the process: