by Jay Markunas, Career Consultant
My sister is applying for a new job within her company. It’s a great fit for her, and she asked for my help. We tweaked her resume a bit, and she wrote a nice cover letter to the hiring manager within her company. But why write a cover letter?
Instead of a blanked cover letter, I always suggest to make a personal connection when possible. Setup time with the hiring manager to find out more about the position. This lets you find out more about the position to see if this is truly a fit. It also allows you to find the pain points the manager is dealing with, what’s working in the group, what isn’t working, the manager’s style, and the dynamics of the group. You can also determine fit and see if this is the position for you. This type of information helps any job candidate have an advantage during the application process.
To do this, you could ask the manager for 10-15 minutes to discuss the position in more detail. Meeting the manager for coffee in the company cafeteria does more than allow her to find out more about the position to see if it is truly a fit. It actually allows her to start the interview process right then and there without even applying. She’s in control and asking the questions.
In my sister’s case, she knows the hiring manager (and the team) very well. For her, it isn’t a matter of finding out the pain points and group fit. She already knows this. She knows the challenges the position faces and how your skills can address the challenge. If for example, the primary overall metric to measure success of the group is customer satisfaction, she could show where her skills match:
“Customer satisfaction is a must for this position. My track record with a customer satisfaction rating of 99.7% is the highest satisfaction rating in our department. Each year I teach an internal course on customer satisfaction.”
Hiring managers aren’t looking for “warm bodies”. They are looking for people who can solve their problems. The candidate will get the job if she can successfully demonstrate how her skills can solve the company’s biggest challenges.