Whenever I sit and review candidates for assignments being handled through The FECG, I can’t help but be disappointed by many of the cover letters we get.
I know that those who are applying feel they are qualified for the job in question, and being a financial guy myself, I know you could do the job. (Hey, us financial types can do anything!)
Although if you have the time, it can often make sense to modify your resume for a specific opportunity, more often than not there just isn’t time. So, what to do?
Well, your cover letter is a perfect place to provide explanations for a variety of obvious questions that inquiring minds need answered.
Let’s start with that ever popular “local candidates only.” It is there for a good reason. Not only is relocating an out of town candidate expensive, getting to meet them takes a lot of extra time and effort. Time zones and travel schedules make the whole effort exhausting for all involved. And, if the job is in a major metropolitan area, why exactly would any company want to talk to those not from the neighborhood? But this editorial is about you. If you are the out of town candidate, why does this remote location make sense to you? Did you go to college there? Does your spouse have family there? Have you been dreaming of moving there? Take a few sentences and let us know.
After “location, location, location,” the next issue is money. Although not all postings in our newsletter have compensation, the ones from The FECG always do. If the targeted compensation is low and you have titles like “Executive Vice President,” in addition to indicating your salary requirements, you need to provide some believable explanation as to why this paltry salary makes sense. You do have to tread lightly on this issue being careful not to undersell yourself, but if you want to be considered, you have to be credible.
If we accept that industry experience is important, and I can assure you that it is important to most of our clients, the next explanation needed is why buggy whip manufacturing is just like manufacturing computer chips. I’m just a simple Advertising and Publishing guy and I don’t always know how to draw an appropriate analogy. I do the best I can, but “a little help from my friends” wouldn’t hurt.
Dare I mention outgoing signatures again? If our client wishes to speak with you, I am prepared to track you down to the ends of the earth. I have been known to call all available phone numbers and send you a text message until I reach you. (I have been called totally relentless and for good reason.) If your resume doesn’t list all possible points of contact and you have no outgoing signature with this information, on assignments being handled by The FECG, you are lucky that I also have that incredible power tool of The FENG membership directory. I have no idea how others are able to track you down. My guess is that they can’t and/or don’t. They give it the good old college try, but then give up.
By and large, your resume stands alone. If your resume provides some interest, but leaves us with some doubts, we then turn to your cover letter.
Don’t leave us with inadequate information as to why you applied. Help us and others help you “by way of explanation.”