Cover Letters: Theory, Structure, Modules & Tactics

Submitted by justinomora on Tue, 12/20/2016 - 22:35

The Definition: Probably there are thousands of definitions of what a Cover Letter is, + mine, which is centered around the mental process the Corporate Recruiter goes when making a decision of wether or not to process anyone against a given position. May be the type of Cover Letter I am going to talk about is not really a Cover Letter, but since there are so many definitions of what that hell such a document is, who cares about me developing a new one?. What is important is weather or not produce results or it is handy to have.

My Cover Letter style can work as a LinkedIn Summary (Its origin), as a Presentation in a Formal Closed Interview or as General Guideline for answering questions in interview environments without getting out of Focus.

Match or FIT or Whatever Recruiters / Headhunters / Agencies call it? ... it is just a Soft Qualitative Correlation.!!!

If you search "Cover Letter" on internet you will find thousands of inputs. See Google. In fact you will find 89 Million Results.  In what follows, I will present my personal view on this matter and how I plan to solve it. 

  • 1. Your Presentation : 80% about your current Career, Functional specialization, and intended industries/markets. 20% about yourself as a person. Career & Person, two different objects of discussion.
  • 2. Your Development of your Accountabilities Correlation/ Selling arguments . Make sure you refresh what a Job Description is, if you are not aware of its definition, and mentally review all jobs you have held in the past. Prioritize them in terms of years experience, likeness, and intended interest or course of action. Totally unacceptable that you say, you don´t remember what you did in a given Job. Having done this, proceed to compare against the Job Description of the Job Post you are applying and make your Selling Points 100% correlated to what the Company is looking for, and not against your needs, desires or wishes.
  • 3. Your Development of your Profile Correlation Arguments Your Technical, Personal & Supervisory Skills against the Skills required by the Job you are applying. Do not talk about what they are not requesting.

Doing a Statistical Numerical Correlation is a Piece of Cake if you are good at numbers, you basic knowledge of statistical theory, and the problem is numerical data driven.

But doing a Correlation on Soft Issues or Content like the one on your Profile or CV Time Line against the Requirements of a given Job Post you are applying is another story.

Yet, it is a Correlation but this time of Non Quantitative Variables Type: The Correlation of Accountabilities of the Jobs you have held in the past as well as your Technical, Managerial/Supervisory and Personal Skills against a Job Post.

To understand what I am talking about take a look a several Job Posts, where you will see the following elments/structure:

  • a Description of the Accountabilities / Responsibilities and Tasks to be performed
  • a second block containing the Profile Specifications of the Ideal Candidates.

Now, take a look to your Experience Time Line.  If you Resume is not well designed, you will be highly confused because you may have had several jobs in your Career and not just a single job. Hence you need to do a mental summary based on the key accountabilites/experience you have deployed.

This is the reason that when drafting you Resume or Profile YOU MUST describe your Accountabilites in order of Importance for every Job you have held in the past. 
How you draft or present your accountabilites depends on the emphasis you want to give to your past, and this is the INPUT you need to draft a Proper Cover Letter

The Problem of Making a Correlation or FIT or Match consist in making an alignment of your Past Key Accountabilites against Accountabilities of the Job Post you are applying, as well as  your Technical Competences, Know How, Management / Supervisory styles &  Personal / Behavior aspects of your Personality being required by the Employeer

Once you have done this, you are ready to draft the SECOND Standard Paragraph of your Cover Letter, which is the most critical of the 3 components I recommend.

You cannot apply to any given Job without making this kind of analysis to determine the level of correlation and to prepare yourself for a better selling of your capabilities and experience. Not Doing so is delegating your own responsibility and running the risk of being perceived as non correlated or NON FIT candidate.

The establishing of this Type of Correlation is a fundamental part of the screening process done by HR, Recruiters & Headhunters.

What About the First?

Well. That is another even more critical problem since 90% of you do not know who you really are in terms of your Career. Candidates not only are delegating their own definition of what they are or what they are searching for, but they pretend some one will do it for them. That is why you see "Look my Profile" statement by the thousands.

The First Paragraph is 5 to 8 lines about who you are in occupationally speaking with a ratio of 80/20. 80% centered about the presentation of what you are in terms of your Career and 20% about your Person. The presentation is not about what your are academically, although that is a weighting parameter, to be included somewhere in the paragraph.

The Third Paragraph is about generation Correlation on your Profiles Parameters against the Profile Parameters of the Position you are applying.

The Last paragraph is just the Regards, ....