The 5-Point Power Note Could Be the New Take on Cover Letters


My colleagues Susan Britton Whitcomb and Deb Dib have been working on a theory that cover letters are too long. Susan writes:
We all know that hiring managers are unpredictable when it comes to cover letters. Some religiously read them. Some religiously don’t. Some read cover letters only after a scan of the resume leaves a favorable impression. It’s likely that cover letters aren’t getting read because they are too long, too self-absorbed, too canned, and just too boring.
The antidote just might be the concept Susan and Deb have developed — the 5-point power note. The five points include:
  1. Engaging question
  2. You, as ROI solution
  3. 1-2 proof points
  4. Hint of “Why-buy-ROI”™ brand
  5. Call to action
Here’s the example — in 116 words — that Susan provides:
Is the economy to blame or could a tenacious National Accounts Manager make the difference for you?
In less than 12 months, I’ve already helped a Fortune 100 CPG company land a $10M buy on a new designer water brand and expand the size/value of an underperforming category.
My tenacity and enthusiasm persuaded previously discordant manufacturing, distribution, and internal brand teams to be “on the same page,” while concurrently winning the ear of Wal-Mart buyers for seasonal promotions that helped us exceed our goals by more than 12%.
The initiatives earned applause from my senior VP and were introduced to other Wal-Mart teams to expand their sales by as much as 27%.
Interested? May we talk?
As Susan notes, this approach is “perfect for a short email, where the reader doesn’t have to scroll excessively to read the entire note.” Other winning aspects:
  • It doesn’t recite or regurgitate information from an accompanying resume.
  • It conveys the one-two power punch of both a value proposition and a compelling personal brand.
  • It’s short on “I’s” and long on the “WIIFM” (What’s In It for Me, from the perspective of the employer).
  • The letter could stand on its own, absent a resume, to get the attention of a hiring manager.
  • It’s easier and faster to write than a traditional cover letter.