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Cover Letter for a Direct Referral

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Networking contacts that you talk with by phone or in person often won't have openings at their own companies but will know of someone who does. When you uncover this type of job lead, ask your referral source for the name of the hiring authority and other pertinent information. Use the Information Interview Evaluation Form or the Company/Agency Research Form to document your discussion, and then visit the library to locate other important information. If appropriate, call the hiring authority, mention that "Jean Johnson" suggested you call concerning "XYZ position," and ask about the position's job description, salary range and required background, traits and skills. Then offer to send a cover letter and resume explaining how your experience might be an excellent fit for the opening.

A typical cover letter in this situation might look something like the following example. Note that the first paragraph of this letter mentions the name of the person who provided the referral. This reinforces your relationship and gives you an aura of credibility. Also notice that the letter alludes to the personality traits, lovable idiosyncrasies and philosophy that the parties involved have in common. This is a powerful way to build rapport; in fact, it serves as a partial substitute for not meeting face-to-face. The more you tailor your letter to the available opening and its reader's mind-set, the more likely you are to secure an interview.

200 Bristol Court



Short Hills, NJ 07078

201-676-2233

January 22,199X

Dr. Jim Mantock

Vice President of Research and Development

Medtech Group

65 Oak Road

Durham, NC 27701

Dear Dr. Mantock:

Last week I was talking to Rudy Williams, who was my college roommate at MIT. As we were catching up on each other's lives, I mentioned to him that I was finishing up a three-year project at work and was feeling ready for a new challenge. Well, you know Rudy. He launched into his famous (infamous?) brainstorming mode and began listing a variety of possibilities he was certain would intrigue me. While not every idea was a blue ribbon candidate, your research on developing a nonintrusive system for diabetic testing really captured my attention, especially when he said you were looking for another biomedical engineer to round out your team.

I am a biomedical engineer with ten years of experience in designing nonintrusive methods for diagnosing a variety of medical conditions. I was one of the team that developed and tested the MRI at Southwestern Medical School. I've also studied and improved the effects of electrical stimulation to heal bone and muscle tissue. Most recently, I've been the lead engineer working on a system for improving mammography techniques. While these may seem to be diverse experiences, they all have one thing in common: They reduce the need for poking, prodding and otherwise distressing the body when we can devise a kinder, gentler approach to achieve the same or better results. From what Rudy tells me, you and I have a common philosophy on this issue.

I've enclosed my resume for your perusal. I'll call you next week to confirm its receipt and discuss if we should set a date to explore the possibility of working together on a way to make the lives of diabetics a lot easier.

Sincerely yours,

Tom Yoo

Networking Cover Letters from Real People

Before-and-After Example

Lisa Brady was an elementary school teacher for 10 years before deciding to switch to a career that would allow her to interact more with adults. Because she still had a strong desire to serve people, she opted to look at careers in the nonprofit area, particularly those linking business with education. The following cover letter is a response to a need for an Adopt-a-School coordinator.

B e f o r e

October 12, 199X

Ms. Constance Burch

Director of Education

Dallas Chamber of Commerce

1507 Pacific Avenue

Dallas, TX 75201-3481

Dear Ms. Burch:

1 was pleased to learn that the Adopt-a-School position at the Dallas Chamber of Commerce is open. Please accept my attached resume.

After 10 years of teaching elementary school in the Richardson Independent School District, 1 resigned to pursue a new career. For the past six months, 1 have gathered information by interviewing numerous members of the corporate, academic and social service communities. 1 learned about the Adopt-a-School program from involved businesspeople as well as from former Dallas Chamber employees. 1 was so impressed that 1 proposed a similar program to administrators of the Richardson Independent School District as well as the Director of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. Although the timing is not right for such a program in RISD, 1 remain interested in the Dallas Adopt-a-School position.

I am confident that my skills and knowledge qualify me for this position. I look forward to talking with you about this exciting program.

Sincerely,

Lisa Brady

2930 Antares Circle

Garland, TX 75042

495-7796

In her first cover letter, Lisa includes an excellent paragraph on why she's interested in the Adopt-a-School program sponsored by the local chamber of commerce. However, she doesn't summarize her relevant experience or mention that she'll follow up on her resume.

In her improved letter, her second paragraph becomes her first, and she adds an excellent summary of why she would make an ideal Adopt-a-School coordinator. She also keeps the ball in her court by volunteering to call to schedule an appointment.

A f t e r

October 11, 199X

Ms. Constance Burch

Director of Education

Dallas Chamber of Commerce

1 507 Pacific Avenue

Dallas, TX 75201-3481

Dear Ms. Burch:

I appreciate your getting together with me to discuss the Dallas Chamber of Commerce Adopt-a-School program. As t mentioned in our discussion, I first learned about the Adopt-a-School program from involved businesspeople as well as former Dallas Chamber employees. I was so impressed that I proposed a similar program to administrators of the Richardson Independent School District and to the Director of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. Although the timing is not right for starting this project in RISD, it seems serendipitous that your program has developed an opening.

After 10 years of teaching elementary school in the Richardson Independent School District, I am ready to pursue a new career using the community contacts, project management, and PR skills that I have honed through interaction with parents, colleagues, administrators, business executives and fellow volunteers. It seems that working for the Adopt-a-School program would provide the ideal opportunity to combine my teaching experience with my background in volunteer coordination and fund raising.

Attached is the resume you requested. I will call next week to make sure you received it and see if we can schedule an interview.

Sincerely,

Lisa Brady

2930 Antares Circle

Garland, TX 75042

495-7796

Claudia Dixon

Claudia Dixon was the office manager for three professional practices during a 12-year period. She enjoyed her jobs because the work was interesting and her schedule allowed her to spend time with her children and do volunteer work. When her girls went off to college, she realized she was ready for a more challenging career.

To expand her horizons, Claudia signed up for mediation training at Cincinnati's Dispute Mediation Service. While she was training, she learned that the service needed a part-time office manager to handle its business activities. Claudia applied and got the job. Now she works half days in the office and mediates a variety of personal and business disputes as well.

6154 Grandberry

Cincinnati, OH 45219

513-224-7637

513-939-9990

June 12, 199X

Herbert V. Cooke

Executive Director

Dispute Mediation Service of Cincinnati Inc.

3400 Carlisle, #240, LB-9

Cincinnati, OH 45216

Dear Herb:

Since receiving my DMS mediation training and becoming a volunteer mediator last year, I have been very impressed with the service DMS provides. I value your management approach and the professionalism of the DMS staff, and would like to take a more active role in the growth of DMS and mediation in Cincinnati.

My background in office management, nonprofit associations and education all seem to point me in the direction of this position. I'm grateful for the opportunity to apply and hope you will give my resume serious consideration.

I will be out of town July 3-11, but would be available to meet with you or clarify any questions relevant to my application before or after those dates.

Sincerely yours,

Claudia Dixon
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