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Broadcast Cover Letter
By Sue Campbell Jones,

There's a particular company, possibly several companies, for whom you'd like to work. There's only one thing holding you back: they don't happen to be advertising a job opening at this time.

Notice that I said, "advertising." It's very possible that a job opportunity exists, or that one will become available soon, it's just that you don't happen to be on an inside track which would allow you to know about it.

So, What do you do? Do you wait? Do you watch? Do you hope? Or do you make the first move?

If you decide to take a proactive approach, one way of establishing contact is via the submission of a broadcast cover letter, along with your resume document (customized for the specific company).

What sets the broadcast cover letter apart from a typical cover letter is its approach. Instead of identifying a known job opening and qualifying your fit for a specific position (where you typically have known job criteria which can be addressed), a broadcast cover letter must identify a real or potential need and qualify your skills and background to meet this need.

A broadcast cover letter has similar qualities to a direct mail marketing campaign. Just as the unsolicited "junk mail" you receive must capture your interest if it's to be read and not tossed into the trash can, your broadcast cover letter must be compelling enough to avoid the trash can treatment, too.

Understanding Your Targeted Reader

Like a direct mail campaign, understanding the potential buyer (potential employer) is the first key to your success.

You can't sell your skills and talents with any efficacy if you don't understand the needs and potential problems of your target market. Therefore, your first step is to determine how much you already know about the company and its key players. If you're saying, "Not much," then you have some work to do.

When you can answer the following questions with insight, you'll be ready to write an effective broadcast cover letter:

The company's primary service or product is ___________________

The company's primary target market is ________________

The company's branding focuses on ________________________

The company wants to be known for _______________________

The company's slogan is ____________________

The company has been in business for ______ (years, months)

The company's leadership is comprised of _____________________ (who?)

The company's leadership has the following things in common: ______________

The company generated ____________ in annual sales or revenue in 2010 (previous year) - which is _______ (more or less) than 2009

The company employs ____________ (#) employees in the following specialties: _____________

The company's biggest competitor is _______________________

Other competition for this company includes:_____________________

The company's greatest strengths appear to be _____________________

The company's greatest weaknesses appear to be ________________________

I can see myself working for this company because _______________________

I believe my skills and experience will benefit this company in the following ways or areas:__________________

The person best suited to receive my broadcast cover letter and resume is __________________ because ______________

Cover letters normally follow a general outline:

Job seeker’s contact information (letterhead) at the top: Make sure your contact information is easy to read and reference by using a font size no smaller than 11 pts. in Times New Roman, 9 pts. in Arial or 8.5 pts. in Verdana. When all is said and done, your contact information is the most important information in your letter.

Date: It's important to give your reader a submission date, indicating the information is timely and relevant.

Name of recipient and his or her title: Get the exact name and correct spelling whenever you can - it will always have a greater impact than an form letter type of greeting. People like reading and hearing their own names, and they like them spelled and pronounced correctly, too.

Company name, street address, city, state, and zip code.

The Broadcast Cover Letter

Because there isn't a specific job opening available, you won't have a specific job title or reference number you can refer to in this document. However, you do have a specialization - a general title, an area of expertise or a specific phrase that can identify the type of role or position you’re targeting. For example, this objective title could be "Project Manager," "Director of Marketing" or "Top Level Sales Executive." Whatever is appropriate for you:

Re: Product Sales Executive Position

The salutation of your letter should contain the individual's name, but never (NEVER!) "To Whom It May Concern:" or worse "Dear Sir or Madam." If you're submitting your cover letter and resume to the general HR department of the company (because you may have been unsuccessful in securing the name of the hiring manager or division leader; information that is well guarded), then your salutation should read: "Dear Director of Human Resources for [Name of Company]:" But try to get the name of the person in the division you're targeting or the person in charge of hiring. It's worth the extra effort.

The first paragraph separates the broadcast cover letter from the typical cover letter. You're applying for the possibility of a job opening, rather than a known job opening, so your approach is going to be slightly different. You want to address a need, as well as what you can contribute to meet this need (solution). Example:

"In the course of attempting to revitalize and strengthen ABC Company's sales and marketing strategies within your information technology ventures (the need), you may have a requirement for a top level executive offering a comprehensive background in...(the solution)"

The second paragraph addresses the particular needs, concerns, missions and goals of the company (as you know them - see the previous list of company information), and how your potential contribution will benefit and promote these goals from the company's point of view.

Remember, this letter is all about what you have to offer - not about what you are hoping to achieve. The more you understand the company, the better your reader will be able to envision you as a solution to a problem or part of their team.

The third paragraph can introduce additional skills, abilities or education that are beneficial, relevant or complementary to the type of position and company you are targeting. For example:

"My educational achievements; possessing a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, and having completed various courses in software development, further complement my hands-on experience."

Think about what you bring to the table that the ordinary candidate might not. Think about complementary skills or experiences you possess that not only set you apart from competing candidates, but could be viewed as valuable to the potential employer.

For example, a job candidate targeting administrative support positions included information outlining her involvement in association newsletter development and publication, even though this experience was not a typical function of an administrative assistant position, but was a complementary skill. She was offered a position as a director of public affairs, with a substantial salary increase, because she had this additional experience.

As it turned out, this particular company had a very real need for the creation and management of their newsletter, and was eager to hire a candidate who could manage both the administrative support functions and publication of their monthly newsletter.

Closing paragraph: This is the only place in the broadcast cover letter where you indicate what you are hoping to gain from this submission: a call and an interview. Let your reader know that you will be glad to meet at his or her convenience.

Complimentary closing should show appreciation for your reader's time and consideration.

Make absolutely certain that your accompanying resume is customized to the specific company and the type of position you are targeting; meeting the needs and requirements of the company as you know them (via research) or can assume them (via experience).

What to Do After the Broadcast Cover Letter and Resume Have Been Sent

It would be wonderful if every resume and cover letter submission resulted in an immediate call for interview. Unfortunately, we live in a complicated world of busy people, and broadcast submissions (where no known job opening exists) typically produce a smaller contact rate than submission of a resume for a known job opening.

However, remain proactive in your job search, and be willing to follow-up broadcast submissions with a phone call or a note that reiterates your interest in the company and offers to provide further information if necessary. A good timeframe for follow-up is two weeks. If you are keeping track of all your submissions (dates, contact name, job title, etc.) you should be able to easily accomplish this.

Should I Hire a Professional Resume Writer?  / Services

See more articles on job hunting.

Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell Jones, - over 18 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help! P.O. Box 1128, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-1128 (904) 248-2493   E-mail Sue Campbell Jones

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This page last updated: 01/19/2014