No doubt we live in a technology-based world driven by expedited activities, from instant text messages to YouTube videos on demand. Communication moves fast.
One area I believe it hurts is applying for sales positions. I realize an ever-increasing amount of opportunities are found, shared and contacted through LinkedIn, but what of finding opportunities for which you do not have a direct connection. I think this activity is similar to cold calling/contacting.
When I am sourcing for sales candidates, I receive many resumes forwarded to me through the job boards and LinkedIn. Resumes. It is rare that I receive a cover letter anymore. For me, receiving a resume is similar to receiving a product brochure with no letter…I am left to review the product on my own and make a go/no-go decision. An accompanying email or letter explaining what this solution offers to me is of value in that it will (hopefully) explain how this solution will help solve a current pain I am experiencing.
Cover letters work in the same manner. Now, I’m not talking the pre-canned, generic cover letters that state the candidate is a good fit for the role based on the ad. Rather, a strong cover letter explains how this candidate’s skills and talents are transferrable to this sales role we are advertising. The cover letter can explain how the hiring company will benefit from acquiring the candidate’s skills. The cover letter is even stronger when the skills are directly correlated to the desired attributes listed in the ad.
I know, it sounds old-fashioned and overly-simple, but it is still effective. Unfortunately, the cover letter/email is an under-utilized tool in the strong salesperson’s toolbox.