If you’ve never heard of the cover letter, then you need to add it into your job seeking game.
The cover letter is commonly used to elaborate further on your skills and experiences. But nowadays, employers are getting tired of going through tons of cover letters, even if they asked for them.
These cover letters usually contain the same old information about a person, written in a way that includes lofty aspirations and glassy-eyed projections of the possible future career.
Let’s face it, these cover letters old fashioned and outdated.
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Employers want to see something new—a talent that you can bring to the table. What they want to know is ‘What can this person contribute to the company in their respective field?’
This new thing is called the “Pain Letter”. In short, a “Pain Letter” is where you suggest solutions to the problems a company is facing.
There is a higher chance of you getting noticed when writing a “Pain Letter” because it makes employers think “Hmm, this could be someone we can hire to fix this problem!”.
You want to make yourself stand out. And there’s a higher chance that employers will actually consider you if there is an outright problem-solution statement.
In psychology it’s known as heuristics; where a person’s brain automatically connects the dots from situation to situation, idea to idea, and thought to thought—making the decision process faster and easier.
Your “Pain Letter” ultimately shortens their decision-making process because you’ve already stated the obvious reason why you are the best possible candidate for the job.
Still clueless on how to write it? Here are some tips on how you should go about writing a “Pain Letter”.
1. The Hook
As always, writing an introduction is like meeting a person for the first time. So remember to keep it respectful yet polite. In this case, perhaps congratulate the employer regarding something positive about the company. For example:
I was fortunate enough to catch your talk at the Financial Investment Expo! By the way, congratulations to you and your team for closing the deal with JP Morgan.
2. The Pain Hypothesis
As with any company, employers face countless problems on a daily basis. Recognise and mention one of those problems, but do not mention them all. That is the last thing you would want to do! For example:
I understand that there may be a need for restructuring in the Human Resources department. It is a challenge to keep track of everyone’s salary as policies may change over time.
WARNING: Do not teach your hiring managers. They probably know what to do. Just mention the problem and stop right there.
3. The Solution
This is the part where you mention a similar experience whereby you helped to solve the situation:
I helped to upgrade the internal systems to keep track of each employee’s salary so that it is adaptable to new policies in the future.
In this section, you do not want to praise yourself but want to come off as a ‘humble-but-possible-future-employee’.
This “Pain Letter” should be kept short but sweet. At times, the shorter, the better! Refrain from saying more about yourself because it is about the skills and experiences you can bring to the table. In the closing, you may say:
If restructuring the Human Resources department is what you need, I would love to discuss further with you when it’s convenient.
All the best,
It’s the 21st century. The way things are done has changed and is going to keep on changing.
So, it’s time to step up your game. Leave the old fashioned way of doing things behind.
This article was written by Alia with the title “Cover Letter or Pain Letter? Let Me Cover Your Pains” and was first published on Wobb, a job application platform for millennials who value the importance of good working culture.
Feature Image Credit: Participation.com