As you probably know by now, I'm not a fan of the wait-and-see game – that is, pinging your resume to a job site or a company and waiting to see if someone is interested in you.
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This tactic takes control of your job search from you and puts it in other people's hands. This strategy is one way of doing things – but it's the old-school way! There are many other ways to find a job, but today I'm going to share one way in particular with you. It's a way that is all about:
- you becoming visible;
- you getting the job you want;
- and you taking back control of your job search so that companies chase after you.
How to Take Back Control of Your Job Search
There is more than one way to skin a cat – please note that I love cats, but I'm sure you get what I mean – but here's one step you can take to gain control of your job search. It's a completely new spin on the traditional cover letter. I call it the "Show Tell Letter."
The Show Tell Letter is all about monetizing yourself. It's about taking proactive action. The Show Tell Letter is about showing a hiring manager that you understand their issues and telling them that you are the solution to their problems. (Remember: You only get hired because they have a problem.)
Writing a 'Show Tell Letter'
There are four steps to creating the perfect Show Tell Letter:
1. The Bait
Draw the hiring manager in by showing an interest in the company. Do some research, read trade magazines, conduct a Google search. The point is to find something new about the company – a recent industry award, a new product launch, or a new process development. In your letter, you should praise the person or company for the achievements you have uncovered. People love to receive credit, and this will encourage them to read on.
2. Problem Identification
During your research, you also want to find something that may be keeping the manager you are writing to up at night. This is not about telling them how to do their job – it's about identifying with their problem.
For example, maybe the manager works for a startup company and is trying to get the word out about their products or services. You can say that you understand how challenging their situation must be, with staff members wearing so many hats and working around the clock to develop and implement marketing strategies.
3. Problem Solving
Use a couple of sentences to provide evidence of how you can solve the problem you identified. Use a practical example of a time when you have achieved a similar result for another company. Do not go into elaborate detail; you can save that for the interview. Just state the facts about how you fixed the issue.
This needs to be short and sweet. A simple sentence saying you would love to chat about how you can achieve the same results for them is enough.
You can send your resume along with the letter, but do not refer to it in the letter. Your resume is just there to provide additional information about you. The Show Tell Letter is not a place to talk about yourself; it is a place to talk about your potential employer's problem.
Once you've sent your first Show Tell Letter off, it's time to start compiling a list of other companies that you could send a similar letter to. Do your research and start all over again. Don't stop until companies start chasing you!
Be Proactive; Own Your Job Search
Imagine sending a Show Tell Letter to a hiring manager – not the HR person, but the person who needs you and can hire you. Can you see how the Show Tell Letter can help you take control of your job search? Can you see how powerful this tool will be in getting hired?
You're showing the manager that you understand their issues, and you're telling them that you're the solution.
So which do you prefer: the reactive action of responding to job sites and advertisements, or the proactive action of bypassing HR procedures and directly grabbing the attention of the person who can hire you?
I know what my choice is.