Many job seekers get caught up looking at the 5% of jobs that are openly listed online or in the newspaper and ignore the other 95% of jobs tucked away in the “hidden job” market. Especially today with the economy in flux it is imperative that you take a pro-active approach to your job search. You can’t afford to limit your search to the so called “open jobs.”
You can dramatically improve your job search success ratio by accessing the lucrative “hidden job” market. One underutilized tool for doing this is the target letter. Begin by researching organizations which you have identified as being of interest because you suspect they need your expertise, they meet your qualification as an ideal company, or both!
As you research the company, ask yourself, “How can I improve the organization? How can I increase sales, improve employee retention, increase productivity, or improve operations?” Your goal is to uncover specific challenges facing the organization and identify ways that your expertise would positively impact the company. In addition to visiting their website and conducting an online search consider talking with current employees and/or customers. And of course, part of your research involves uncovering the name of the top executive who has the power to hire you or recommend you for hire. It is to this person that your letter is written and sent. When in doubt, start at the top!
Your purpose in writing a target letter is to gain access to and impress decision-makers who you otherwise would not meet. Your one-page letter outlines the results of your research, highlights your expertise, and demonstrates your ability to impact the company in a specific high priority area.
Open your letter with a sincere compliment about the company. Everyone likes to hear the good news about their organization! Then, briefly discuss the results of your research – three or four challenges you’ve uncovered that are facing the business and which you have the expertise to solve. Focus on solving their most pressing problems because that is what matters to them!
Wrap up the letter with a suggestion to meet to explore in greater detail how you can have a positive impact on their business. Sign you name and then, add a P.S. that teases them with a “what’s in it for them” benefit, for example, “P.S. One idea my research uncovered has the potential to increase front office efficiency by as much as 15%.”
Do not include a resume! Remember, you are an expert problem-solver, not a job seeker. (For more on selling yourself as an expert read “Check out Expert or Job Seeker? You Decide”, also available at EzineArticles.com).
Follow up with a telephone call within three to business five days to schedule a mutually agreeable meeting. In the meantime, review your research, prepare thoughtful needs analysis questions, and be prepared to demonstrate your value when you meet Mr. or Ms. “Big.”