After spending weeks in front of a screen, sifting through countless job posts that are almost-but-not-quite perfect, you may be wondering if this approach to the job search is the only approach. After all, you know what you do best, and you know exactly how you’d like to spend your days contributing to your dream company. You may even have a list of the specific companies you’d like to work for. But if these companies aren’t advertising openings that fit your description, what options do you have? Should you simply wait patiently for the right opportunity to come along? Should you settle for something close but not ideal and just use the position as a placeholder until you find something better?
Either of these options might work, but consider a third choice: Create the position that’s perfect for you, and then convince your dream employers to bring you on board, even if the position you describe doesn’t actually exist.
This may sound crazy, but it happens all the time, and countless fulfilling careers are launched this way. Smart employers—especially for growing companies and start-ups that thrive on flexibility and innovation—love hiring employees who come to them with these types of out-of-nowhere pitches. But only if applicants can make a compelling case. And it all starts with a great cover letter. Try these tips.
1. Before you write, think. Put yourself in the position of your target employer. And ask yourself two questions: What does this company need? And what does this specific manager want? Finding answers to these questions might require a little research. Start with a visit to the company website and figure out how the skills and contributions you’re pitching will mesh perfectly with this company’s existing goals and deficiencies.
2. As you write, focus entirely on your reader. Never wander off into a discussion of your own requirements, interests, and demands. You can worry about those later. In a cold contact like this, you’ll need to focus solely on your audience just to get them to read beyond the first sentence (and then the second, and then the third, and so on).
3. Be very, very clear about what you’re offering and how it can help your employer. Any hint of confusion will bring the reading process to an end. So from the first sentence to the last, keep things simple. Even if you have to oversimplify. For example, if your network management skills or cyber security background can help this employer, go easy on the IT jargon as you explain this. Speak in accessible terms that break the existing problem and the obvious solution (hiring you!) into manageable pieces.
4. Generate a sense of energy, urgency, and optimism. Whatever you can offer, make it clear that your audience will be better off with you on board. And the sooner they act, the sooner they’ll be glad they made this move.
5. Keep your objectives in mind. Your goal with a cold cover letter is not a job offer. It’s a chance for an in-person interview. If you can convince this employer to sit across a table from you for thirty minutes, that’s when you’ll really make your case. If all goes well, your cover letter can help you score this invitation.
A Polished Resume Can Seal the Deal
Of course, no matter how brilliant your introductory letter may be, you won’t get far without an equally brilliant resume. Attach a resume that can back up your cover letter with quantifiable facts and a proven track record. Visit MyPerfectResume for formatting help, writing tips, and professional guidance.