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
So, What do you
do? Do you wait? Do you watch? Do you hope? Or do you make the first
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
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:
primary service or product is ___________________
primary target market is ________________
branding focuses on ________________________
The company wants
to be known for _______________________
slogan is ____________________
The company has
been in business for ______ (years, months)
leadership is comprised of _____________________ (who?)
leadership has the following things in common: ______________
generated ____________ in annual sales or revenue in 2010 (previous
year) - which is _______ (more or less) than 2009
employs ____________ (#) employees in the following specialties:
biggest competitor is _______________________
for this company includes:_____________________
greatest strengths appear to be _____________________
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
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
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)"
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.
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:
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.
should show appreciation for your reader's time and consideration.
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
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
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