Q. What do you do when you come across a position that you would love to apply for but your resume really doesn't pertain to?
A. You write a LetteRes.
Q. What do you do if your resume is so heavily weighted toward a particular industry that it inhibits your applying for a similar position in a different industry?
A. You write a LetteRes.
Dave Bartlett (the same Dave as in the previous story) had held the positions of Controller, Assistant General Manager, and Director of Finance/Operations all, except for a brief stint, with food manufacturers.
He wanted to remain in the Detroit area, but there were very few food companies in this locale large enough to accommodate someone with his credentials. Because he wanted to remain in the Detroit area the scope of his search was drastically limited.
It wasn't very long before he had exhausted his list of target companies. Now he began applying for Controller-type positions with other kinds of companies-with an overwhelming lack of success. After lengthy discussions we came to the conclusion that Dave's resume was closing more doors than it was opening. He was sending it to the right people, the decision makers, but it just wasn't getting the job done.
Together, we decided that the resume was a strong one, but only when directed to food manufacturers. When Dave's resume reached an automotive manufacturer's desk, for example, it was quickly discarded.
Why? Because as soon as it approached the employer's desk he or she could smell the odor of food emanating from the envelope.
The potential reader was quick to postulate: And that was the end of that story.
Also, the fact that Dave's experience was applicable to just about any field escaped the reader's imagination. Rarely do resume readers have the time or the inclination to try to ascertain the transferability of an applicant's work experience, skills, and education. The answer? Obviously a new resume. But try as we did, we could not construct a resume that didn't smell like something from the oven. Thus was born what was called, for lack of a better descriptive word or term, a LetteRes.
Almost as soon as the LetteRes went out Dave's phone began to ring. His job search acquired new life. And, he landed an assistant-to-the-president position with a door manufacturer! Soon Dave's creative communique became known around the outplacement office as the "Magic Letter."
What Makes a LetteRes So Effective?
Its lack of specificity and its concentration on accomplishments.
I should acknowledge that the LetteRes is something I have really championed. It gets right to the writer's most saleable assets. This is what selling is all about. It also allows the writer to omit certain types of inappropriate information that might result in instant rejection. For example, Dave's LetteRes never mentions a specific company or industry. In fact, it does not even indicate specifically what position he is seeking. Quite a neat trick. Don't you agree? This leaves the window of opportunity open for his being considered for the several positions he's listed.
Its conversational approach and its brevity.
Unlike the usual resume accompanied by a cover letter the LetteRes is but a single, easy-to-read, hard-hitting page. The reader reads it because it doesn't scare him or her away. He or she continues to read it because it contains the best, most powerful things the writer has done relating to the position in question. Because the writer's accomplishments are bulleted, this single-page document really packs a wallop.
It leaves the reader wanting more.
That "more" leads to a telephone call, which can lead to an interview. Another job candidate in our outplacement program borrowed Dave's masterpiece to use as a model. No sooner had he mailed out about twenty-five or so of his own "Magic Letters" then he too had a hit.
Proudly, he came to show me his LetteRes and to relate the reaction of an employer to this document. The employer began his conversation with this comment:
"I'm sitting here reading this... this... well, I don't know what the heck you call it, but I have a few questions to ask you."
And that is how a LetteRes is supposed to work! Think you can do a job, but your resume doesn't indicate this? Seriously consider a LetteRes. If you dare to be brave, send a LetteRes in place of a resume. It stands a better chance of being read.