Cover Letter Lacks Human Voice! Try A Pain Letter Instead

cover letterEvery job hunter knows the rules: to apply for a job you need a professional CV tailored to the job’s specific needs and a ‘killer’ cover letter in agreement with the job description that promotes your skills and expertise.  Or not?

What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? What if I told you that you can follow a different path far away from the ‘standard procedure’ that would make you stand out?

I received an email the other day that made me thinking for a long time. It was a link to an article in The Denver Post, written by Liz Ryan. I read the article, the discussion on the comments section, I even downloaded the eBook! My brain was working in lightning speed. I could almost hear gears inside my head spinning! What did I just read?

Probably one of the most well-established myths had just “busted”. Her outside-the-box perspective suggests the complete opposite of any typical career advice: forget the cover letters! As she puts it, they are written in Zombie Language, the language Darth Vader writes in, but definitely not what humans write in! And I can’t say that I don’t agree with that. Can you imagine how many cover letters hiring managers read every day that, except for the names, are exactly the same?

So, now you are probably wondering “Ok, what to do instead then?”. What Liz proposes as a replacement of a cover letter, is to write a Pain Letter and send it in the good old-fashioned way: in the mail!

(…)  That’s a horrifying way to communicate, and as bad as it is to read that stuff in corporate life (or to get a Zombie memo from your kid’s school) it’s even worse to read about a person described that way. Zombie Language is not the way to bring across a brilliant and vibrant job-seeker’s heft and spark.
We don’t have to use that kind of language to describe ourselves. We can put a human voice in our resumes, for one thing. And when it comes time to write a cover letter, we can ditch the tired cover letter format and write a Pain Letter, instead.
What’s a Pain Letter? It’s a letter that doesn’t go into the Black Hole of Death, for one thing — it goes directly to your hiring manager. You’ll find your hiring manager in two seconds on LinkedIn, by using the People Search page to find the person at your target employer who’d most likely be your boss in your new position.

Read the whole article here: “Forget the cover letter; write a pain letter, instead

Would you try it? Would you be willing to discard well-established methods and implement new approaches in order to set yourself apart from any other candidate? Please do share your comments and thoughts. I’m very interested in your opinion!

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4 Responses to “Cover Letter Lacks Human Voice! Try A Pain Letter Instead”

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  1. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to
    do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.

  2. Lydia Akinwunmi says:

    It is absolutely fine to stand out from the crowds but we haven’t seen the content of this pain letter to substitute what we know and has enable recruiters to make decision on selection.

    • The Career Success Doctor says:

      It’s interesting (and really great) the amount of comment this post has created over on LinkedIn in the career coaching group. The point the article is making is that most cover letters are just, well… they don’t do the job they are intended to do, which is to get the recruiter/hiring manager to read the resume/CV. They are untargetted, generalised, too much ‘me me me me’ and so forth. And, since they are often copied from elsewhere they also tend to be inauthentic. So, why not try something different? Career coaches know all this, of course, but most job-hunters don’t.

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