Cover letters can kill opportunities or create them.
When Opportunity Knocks…
Your Resume Is Usually Out of Date
You may not really be looking for a job, but you stumble across something ideal, what should you do? Check it out.
It’s smart to polish interview skills and expand your professional network, and it’s good for the ego when you get the interview and possibly an offer. You don’t have to accept the job, but isn’t it better to have the experience and the option?
An Executive Briefing Cover Letter Can Save the Day
Your biggest stumbling block is probably an out-of-date resume that doesn’t match the job. The solution is to use a special type of cover letter that instantly updates your resume (without having to re-write it). This cover letter is called an Executive Briefing, and it matches your skills to the target job, helping the employer focus on what you have to offer.
The only requirement for using an Executive Briefing, is that you know some of the job’s requirements.
Don’t Waste Words
Like many great ideas, the Executive Briefing is beautiful in its simplicity. It is a cover letter / e-mail, with the company’s requirements for the job listed on the left side, and your skills-matching point by point the company’s needs, on the right side of the page.
In the following example, notice
- The email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a little thought you can make an email address speak to your skills. While the above example is almost certainly in use, you can use identifiers like your Zip Code TopAccountant11579@ or Area Code TopAccountant516@ that will speak clearly to a recruiter or hiring manager that you are competent, local, and looking.
- The Subject line identifies the employer’s job title and job identifier.
This information, when available is a must. Now also notice that it adds primary information about skills. Most emails will show 35 characters before opening the email and upwards of 60 when once open; so this is good promotional space and can capture the most important of your skills.
An Executive Briefing cover letter looks something like this:
Date: February 14th, 2015 10:05:44 PM EST
Re: Accounting Manager Job #4356, 9 Yrs exp, A/R, A/P, P&L’s, Audits
Dear Ms. Stein:
I am an experienced accountant responding to your recent posting for a Senior Accountant (Job #4356) on Monster.com. Please allow me to highlight my skills as they relate to your stated requirements:
Your Requirements My Experience Accounting degree, 7 years exp B.S Accounting, 9 yrs’ exp. A/R, A/P, P&L, Internal audits
Experience with A/R, A/P, P&L, Internal audits ranges from 7 – 9 years.
Strong Excel experience
Manage 2000 clients on Excel database
Good communication skills
Reduced 30 day+ outstanding Accounts Payable by 27% in one year.
I’m excited by this opportunity, and you’ll find the attached resume will flesh out my general background. I hope this executive briefing helps you use your time effectively today. I am ready and able, and I hope we can talk soon.
Notice how you can use an Executive Briefing to tie current skills to existing needs, before an employer even sees your resume.
Even Useful Without Contact Names
An Executive Briefing is especially helpful for overworked admin staff and HR people who may not understand all the niceties of a specific job function. Its ability to graphically match needs with skills will act as an effective introduction to your resume.
This cover letter format helps any harried recruiter pick you out of the slush pile by showing:
- Here’s the name of the job we need to fill.
- Here are our requirements.
- Here are the candidate’s qualifying skills.
An Executive Briefing works, because it’s a fast easy-to-read snapshot that details exactly how you can help with current needs — everyone appreciates that.
It Helps with Multiple Interviews, Too
Have you noticed that with multiple interviews, not all of your interviewers seem to know what job they are talking to you about? Always take copies of your Executive Briefing with you to interviews along with your resume, it will give those additional interviewers a fast focus and speak well of your organizational skills.
The Winning Edge
Because an Executive Briefing clearly matches your skills to company requirements, it assures that every interviewer at the company will be interviewing you for the same job.
The Bottom Line
An Executive Briefing will get your resume read with something like serious attention, it positions you well for initial conversations and advances your candidacy during the selection process. This might just give you the edge you need to get the offer. Of course, what you do with that offer is another matter, but you always need more options right?
More Information About Cover Letters
- What Should Your Cover Letter Contain?
- Are Cover Letters a Waste of Time in a Job Search?
- Supercharge Your Resume and Cover Letter with These Keywords
- Cover Letter Tips for IT Professionals
- When and How to Disclose Your Chronic Illness in a Cover Letter
About the author…
Successful careers don’t happen by accident. Professional resume writing expert Martin Yate CPC is a New York Times best-seller and the author of 17 Knock Em Dead career management books. As Dun & Bradstreet says, “He’s about the best in the business.” For FREE resume-building advice and to view Martin’s resume samples, visit the Knock Em Dead website. Join Martin on Twitter at @KnockEmDead.
More about this author…