In my twenty-four years as a hiring manager, I have probably reviewed several hundred cover letters and resumes while hiring people for various positions.
I don’t have that much to say about the resume. I see it as a basic ‘catalog’ of your experience and achievements. Formats and styles vary, and there will be certain emphases and orderings of content depending on the target, but resumes essentially are the same inventory from one to another. An essential document, but pretty basic.
The thing that always grabs myattention, though, is the cover letter and, more accurately, a certain featureof the cover letter. I call this feature ‘resonance’.
Resonance means ‘prolonged sound’ and what these letters do is prolong the sound of the candidate’s name in the hiring manager’s mind.
How is this accomplished? Through a simple device.
You communicate to me.
- Resonance is created when I get a sense you paused to sit in my chair, walk in my shoes and took a good look at the world from my perspective, not just my company’s.
- Resonance is created when you reflect back to me the language of my mission statement, the current goals of my company, and the values that suffuse my work.
- Resonance is created when you articulate a match between what you have to offer and what I really need.
Creating Resonance assumes you have gone beyondthe job posting, beyondthe words on a web site, beyondthe “standard” understanding of the job position, to the ‘inner baseball’ about me and my company, and to a deeper level of understanding of my needs.
How do you get to that level of understanding?
2. Research. Grab information from the company’s LinkedIn page as well as the pages of company leadership. See what’s high-lighted. Google the company name and the hiring manager’s name to see how they show up in third-party news reports, etc. Go even deeper by tapping into services like Hoovers.comand InsideView.com. Many public libraries have subscriptions to these. Also, look for a discussion forum on the company you’re targeting. Although gossipy, these boards offer insights into a firm’s hiring policies and culture.
3. Reflect. Take a good look at your own list of assets (work experience, personality traits, values and interests) and think long and hard about how these match to the needs of the company. Write them down. Articulate them. Rehearse them. This is the essential value you can bring to the company and the position. Weave this into all your letters and job target communications.
I can tell you from experience that candidates who have done this have also gotten the interview.
That level of communication shows distinction. It shows differentiation.
It creates resonance.
Prolong your sound.
Peter Spellman helps people discover and develop their next calling through online courses and coaching. Find him at nextcalling.org