When We Write Letters, Part III: Putting Your Foot in the Door

Courtesy of http://saleshq.monster.com

You want to shove open an employer’s door and say, “Hey, look what I have to offer.”

Common sense tells us that action works like a date gone wrong; it makes the employer run the other way.

Maybe you’ve been unemployed for a long time. Perhaps you work part-time, and like me, you need more hours. Or, rumors at the office or factory say more job cuts are coming soon. You’re not looking forward to sitting across the desk from a manager, and that manager is thinking about the shot of whiskey after work just to get the guilt off his or her mind.

Why is this important?

I have met a person facing every one of the above scenarios, and the drought of jobs plays a major role in my fiction. If you read my Bio page, you know my family was also hit hard by the economy.

What do you do to stand on your feet again?

You set time aside. You forget the bills sitting on the desk for now. In fact, put them out of sight because they only remind you of what you don’t have. Your focus needs to be on what you will have if you write a solid cover letter to a potential employer.

The same research applies to literary magazines, how to query an agent and how to apply for a job. In this case, find out about the company. Look at their online profile. What future opportunities does it offer? What does it do? What is the company looking for in an employee? Who is taking applications and cover letters? Does the company display specific colors?

The answers to every one of those questions will help you write your cover letters.

In the time you’ve set aside, you first get to know a company. Dear Sir or Madam has gone the way of the dinosaurs. To stick your toe in the door, you need to personalize each cover letter you send.

Address what the company is looking for and how you meet the criteria. If the company asks in its advertisement: Must be willing to take additional training. Tell how you’re a great learner.

If the company does have specific colors, create a header on your Microsoft Word, Apple or other program that uses those same colors. There is no need to go over the top, but make the header look professional. This worked for me a few times.

Even though I did not receive a job offer from every company that interviewed me, almost every one of them told me how my cover letter impressed them..

In July 2012, the right cover letter landed on the right desk and I found a great part-time job.

Read next week for When We Write Letters, Part IV: After You Get Your Foot in the Door

By Rebecca T. Dickinson


5 thoughts on “When We Write Letters, Part III: Putting Your Foot in the Door

  1. I had a little waiting when I was looking for full time employment, but once I got an interview, I was fine. I can actually do a decent interview these days but I suppose that comes with talking from experience (or the applicable work).

    1. When I graduated in 2008, I had no trouble finding a job. In fact, every job I interviewed for was offered to me. I had to make a choice between newspapers. While in the newspaper business, I went from one to the other because each one offered a better opportunity than the last.

      What did I write about the most?

      I wrote articles about the men and women who did not have jobs. I went to unemployment offices, and the parking lot was always full. Unlike the colleges, the unemployment offices offer free computer training tools to help people apply for a twenty-first century jobs. A lot of these people never went to college because a job waited for them the day they graduated.

      That is great you found work, and it sounds like you like your job! I am lucky that I have a job I go into everyday and love.



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