Writing letters is a lost art, but it is a key tactic in getting your new job. A letter stands out because we do not get them often. Do you remember the last time you went to the mailbox and there was a letter with a handwritten address? Were you excited to see who it was from? This will also work for someone who would be interested in hiring you.
Typically, each person in the company has a mail cubby and when the mail is received it is deposited in the cubby. Though, if you try to call someone in a hiring role you might be blocked from talking to that person. So, mail is one of the best ways to ensure you are able to contact that person.
Many times when you are calling into a company (as I mentioned here) they will try to tell you that you have to go through some online application procedure. You should do this if you are asked to, but this also needs to be in conjunction with sending in a letter. If you only apply through the website then you are not going stand out from everyone else who is applying online. Plus, when you do talk to that manager they will ask you to apply online and then you can tell them you already have.
There are two main types of letters you have to send out. The introduction letter and the cover letter.
I recommend the process Dan Miller describes in his book, 48 Days to The Work You Love, for sending these letters to prospective employers.
1. Send an introduction letter to the hiring manager.
2. 7 days later, send your cover letter and resume.
3. 7 days later, make a phone call.
4. Repeat this process with the other 4 companies on your list.
The goal with this process is to make repeated contact to help the hiring manager remember you. You may want to circumvent the process and send your resume first, don’t. This is a process that has been proven countless times.
Like your resume, any letter you write needs to be written to a specific person/company/job. Do not make a generic letter you can send to everyone.
The first letter you write is the introduction letter. The key points in this letter are
To introduce yourself
To begin targeting the type of work you are interested in
To let the reader know you are going to be sending a cover letter and resume in a week.
You are not asking for a job
You are not asking for an interview
You are only breaking the ice
When you submit your resume you always need to include a cover letter to the person you are sending it to.
The key points for the cover letter are:
To remind the hiring manager that you sent them an introduction letter a week ago.
To remind them who you are and why you are contacting them
To introduce your resume so it is not a surprise and they know what to do with it (these managers are very busy so it is good for you to help guide them with the actions they should take).
Let them know you will be calling them in a week (be sure to call them in this time frame, it is very important for your credibility)..
I have included examples of an introduction and cover letter I have used.