Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cover Letter Keys - Part Four – Letters to those in your professional network

It is always wise to make use of the contacts your professional network.

Most job-search surveys indicate that a majority of people find jobs through networking—someone they knew told them of a job lead and introduced them to the hiring manager. An effective method of contacting those in your circle of influence is through a special form of written communication called a ‘résu-letter’.

A ‘résu-letter’ is a hybrid that combines the elements of both a cover letter and a résumé. A ‘résu-letter’ allows a job seeker to get the word to his or her professional network without sounding desperate to find a new job. This letter is especially nice for those conducting a confidential job search while still employed. Usually this letter is sent as an e-mail.

A few pointers on writing a great ‘résu-letter’ include the following elements:
  • It is perfectly acceptable to keep the tone casual, as this letter is sent to people with whom you have a first name relationship. Although you have a familiarity with the recipient, it is important to be careful not to relax your grammar and spelling.
  • This letter should contain all the selling points of your résumé without sounding like a commercial.
  • Ideally, the recipient will pass your letter on to others who may be interested in your qualifications, so write the letter with other readers in mind.

With competition for good jobs at an all-time high, job seekers can’t afford to cut corners in their written communication. The extra time and effort taken to customize your cover letters goes a long way toward placing you at the top of the candidate pile.