leadership dot #2632: about them

In my class, I assigned students to submit a resume, hypothetical cover letter and accompanying job ad. I thought this would be an easy assignment and way for me to get to know the students but it turned into a larger lesson on communication.

I see a resume and cover letter as a microcosm of the communication process as a whole. These documents must be accurate, compelling and succinct. They must bring the content to life in a way that is meaningful for the audience, not the writer and, like most messages, they need to inspire action. Hiring and interviewing are key managerial skills and I believe the students need to role model in that area by having a resume, letter and LinkedIn profile that conveys their strengths and uniquenesses. Let’s just say that I was underwhelmed with what I received.

So, we spent a portion of class working on two key elements of the cover letter: 1) the focus and 2) the closing. The letter should be about THE EMPLOYER, not the candidate. Consider the difference between:

  • “I am applying for ABC position because I have XYZ strengths” – vs. – “I am applying for ABC position because I have XYZ strengths that can help your organization delight and serve its customers.”
  • “I am interested in ABC position because I’ve always admired your organization and am interested in your industry.” – vs. – “I am interested in ABC position because I believe my XYZ skills can help you continue to be a leader in your industry.”

Make it about them!

We also worked to end with a strong statement. Instead of the unmemorable “Thank you for your consideration” or “I look forward to hearing from you”, think of the difference it makes to conclude with something like:

  • “I look forward to sharing further how my experiences could enhance ABC and help create a positive impact on your clients.”
  • “I welcome the opportunity to utilize my experiences to help ABC [do what its website says it’s trying to do] e.g.: become a leader in the community, grow in this region, etc.”

Make it about them!

Whether or not you are actively pursuing a job, I believe it is always a good idea to have a current resume and updated profile. Be ready when an opportunity comes knocking!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

2 comments

  1. Now if you could get them to read the job ad and submit requested materials such as the cover letter, they’ll be set. In a recently posted job ad that asked for cover letter and resume to be sent, no more than 3% of applicants submitted one.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: