AFPAAA - So You're Looking For Another Job ...
D. Get Ready, Get Set, Go!


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10. Baiting the Hook 
When to Use 
a Direct Mail Letter 
a Cover Letter 
with a Resume 

In developing your personal job search marketing strategy, you will need to decide when to use a targeted Direct Mail Letter or when to send a Cover Letter with a Resume in contacting prospective employers. This is known as how to select the "right bait for your hook". 

  • A Direct Mail Letter is written to get the attention of a prospective employer. It is sent without a resume since a letter is read while a resume is skimmed. Your intent is for a prospective employer to read your letter and contact you to learn more. 

  • A Cover Letter is written to be sent with a resume. It "covers" the resume, serving as an introduction to your employment history and accomplishments. 
The following considerations should help you decide which strategy is right for you. 

1. Define Your Purpose: What is your objective when you send correspondence to a prospective employer? Is it to inform the reader that you are seeking a new position? Or, is your real purpose to generate a response from that employer? Your objective should always be to create action, not simply provide data to be filed. 

With action as your goal, you must use a strategy which will insure that your correspondence, first and foremost, is read. Individuals will read an organized, to-the-point, one-page Direct Mail Letter, but will likely skim or place to the side correspondence of three pages (cover letter with a resume). 

A Direct Mail Letter in most cases, is an effective means to get the response you desire -- a request for an interview. It gives enough information to peak interest in you, but not enough to answer all questions about your employment history. Therefore, it leads to a call and an interview. 

2. Attract Attention: Think of your accomplishments and your area(s) of expertise. If you have a skill and results that will help solve common business problems or create innovations in an industry, you can develop a Direct Mail Letter that will create resonance with your reader. This is a type of "bait or lure" that will catch the eye and result in a call or request for more information about you. 

    Case Sample: A product manager wanted to attract attention to his accomplishments in successful marketing of an insect spray. His Direct Mail letters began, "Death has never been so profitable . . ." He attracted attention and received calls as a result. 
3. Career Focus: A Direct Mail Letter can be used to emphasize certain aspects of your career. 
    Case Sample: A Sales Coordinator had varied experience in customer service, inside sales support training, and direct sales. His most recent job had been in training sales people -- however, he now wanted to pursue a career in sales. His strategy was to write a letter that accentuated his sales achievements and ability to develop customers. His other experience (training and sales support) was mentioned only as a foundation for his selling skills. As a result he received calls and requests for interviews. If he had sent his resume with a cover letter, he would have diluted his message. 
Use a Direct Mail Letter when you want to zero in on one part of your career. 

In another case, a Quality Assurance engineer had extensive background in computer applications to improve production systems. His Direct Mail Letter highlighted his computer expertise and accomplishments vs. his quality and inspection positions. 

4. Career Shift: If you would like to build on your experience from one part of your career history, use a Direct Mail Letter. 

    Case Sample: A Production Supervisor had some experience in Total Quality Management (TQM) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) training, but never had a job title that reflected these responsibilities. Her strategy was to write a Direct Mail Letter to embellish this part of her work history. Again, her resume would not have the strength or focus which she created in a letter. 
5. Create a Common Theme: If you have had several jobs that are seemingly unrelated, your strategy in a Direct Mail Letter would be to create a common theme. 
    Case Sample: A Purchasing Manager had experience in banking as a credit analyst, had installed commercial alarms, had performed personnel duties, and had been responsible for packaging and purchasing functions. His strategy was to create a consistent thread by pulling his experience together into a set of diversified business expertise targeted at small growing companies. He appealed to the entrepreneurial owner of a business who needed assistance in managing the internal operation of his or her business. 
6. Limit your Liabilities: Use a Direct Mail Letter to minimize perceived liabilities in your background. Gaps in employment, a short tenure at a company, an unrelated career deviation, demotions or indicators of age may all be perceived as liabilities by certain readers. A Direct Mail Letter can be written to "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative." A Cover Letter with a Resume provides a full front photo of you, a Direct Mail Letter is your best profile. 

7. Dare to be Different: Sending a Direct Mail Letter will be different than what 99% of your competition will think of doing. That alone makes direct mail a strategy to consider as part of your marketing campaign. 

When should you consider using a
Cover Letter with a Resume
as your strategy?

8. Technical Wizard: If you are a highly-skilled technical professional with extensive experience in specific technologies. A computer software developer or a hardware specialist would fall into this category. Your reader will want to know the details only your resume can communicate. 

9. Secretarial Expertise: You have solid secretarial experience in several organizations. However, your responsibilities were very similar in each position. The Cover Letter with a Resume approach may then be for you. The reader will want to know the what, when and where of your career history, which is clearly outlined on your resume.The cover letter should highlight your word processing skills and a number of your accomplishments. The resume will give the details. 

10. Production Pro: If your experience is in production or assembly manufacturing. Highlight your summary of experience in your cover letter and enclose the resume with your production background. 

11. Change Your Bait: If you have sent a Direct Mail Letter and have not heard from some of your prospects in three (3) months, consider rewriting your letter to generate interest or send a Cover Letter with a Resume. If the fish did not bite with one lure, change the bait. A low response from direct mailing does not mean that these are the wrong target companies or that they may not need a person with your skills. It simply means that you did not get their attention with your first approach. 

So, cast again. Persistence pays off ... in both fishing and employment. 

INDEX. BACK .NEXT   11. Adventures in the Land of Cover Letters

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