Written Communication : More Than a Resume

In today’s marketplace it takes more than a snappy resume to catch and keep the attention of savvy human resource professionals and hiring managers. Every contact with prospective employers must be a high quality self-marketing piece that demonstrates the applicant’s enthusiasm, creativity, attention to detail, and persistence.

Cover letters, although old-school in today’s data base driven applicant pool, must accompany every resume. It is important to address the letter to a real person’s name and not “To Whom it May Concern” or HR Director. This may require some dedicated research but remember the small things will set you apart from the masses who are responding but who have not done the research. Tell the reader for what position you are applying and refer to the requisition number if there is one listed in the ad. Sell the reader, don’t simply tell the reader on why you are the best candidate for the position. Never give your salary requirement because at this point you don’t know enough about the position to properly determine how much it would take for you to do the job. Attach the cover letter to your resume that you have tailored specifically for that position. Send your resume and cover letters to both human resources and the hiring manager. Determining who the hiring manager is also requires some searching but again pays off in big dividends.

Several days following the submission of your resume send a follow-up letter to the receiving person(s) with some additional or new information that you would like to offer for additional consideration and to reinforce how interested you are in the position. Electronic messages (E-mails) should be sent to all recipients of your resume at least once a week until you hear back from the company. These should be short and polite again demonstrating your enthusiasm and persistence.

Thank you ‘s for all phone and in-person interviews are a must. In all my years as a HR Professional having screened and hired thousands of employees I bet I could count the number of thank you’s I received on toes I have on my feet. Want to be noticed and remembered, send a thank you letter. Today’s thank you letter is more than a hand written note on a Thank You card, it is a well-written case for hiring you and a follow-up response to information you learned about the position and company at the interview related to how you could make a difference for them.

Despite your best shot at getting hired you might receive the much dreaded rejection letter. After you get over the immediate feeling of rejection and your “I can’t believe they are so stupid” temper tantrum, sit down and write them a letter expressing your disappointment and openness to further consideration in the future. Don’t let them off the hook so easily, if you truly desire to work for that company go that extra mile. You never know, the person to whom they offered the position may not accept or may not work out. They may even need to hire another person to do the same job. Persistence and professionalism plus keeping you name in front of the decision makers is important in landing that perfect job.

The time and energy spent format, timing, wording and intent of the communications you send related to your job search will all be wasted if you don’t place the proper attention to the details. Spelling, grammar, proper punctuation and attitude of your written communication documents must be checked and double-checked for accuracy. Mistakes in your personal marketing material are an indication of you inattention to detail and lack of professionalism and concern.

It takes time, energy, persistence and attention to detail to set yourself apart from the crowd and earn the attention necessary to be recognized as the candidate of choice.

Leave a Reply