5 Ways to Strengthen a Job Ad Reply Letter

Certain methods of writing job search letters really help them to stand out from the crowd. Below are five methods you can use to strengthen your job search letter and examples of other people using these methods.

Graph gems

Graphs and charts present information easily and quickly, enabling you to get your points across quickly. In job search letters, the can effectively communicate your impressive performance and accomplishments. Notice the high impact of graphs in these three samples:

  • An operations executive uses graphs to communicate her success in meeting revenue goals, after she compares the studio operations director's requirements with her own qualifications.

    [Credit: Dan Dorotik, NCRW — Lubbock, Texas]
    Credit: Dan Dorotik, NCRW — Lubbock, Texas
  • A sales professional dramatically uses a graph in a business-savvy letter to illustrate how his sales nearly doubled in one quarter.

    [Credit: Don Orlando, CPRW, JCTC, CCM, CCMC, CJSS, MCD — Montgomery, Ala.]
    Credit: Don Orlando, CPRW, JCTC, CCM, CCMC, CJSS, MCD — Montgomery, Ala.
  • Another sales professional embeds a twist: He incorporates the Sales Skills Index, an independent evaluation of skills needed to succeed in the sales environment, into his recounting of a highly successful track record.

    [Credit: Dan Dorotik, NCRW — Lubbock, Texas]
    Credit: Dan Dorotik, NCRW — Lubbock, Texas

Attention grabbers

In the following samples, can you spot the use of bold typefaces, italics, and underscoring to highlight some combination of the following factors?

  • The position sought

  • Accomplishments and achievements

  • Skills and personal characteristics

  • Special benefits, such as security clearances and fluency in more than one language

Writing quality is another factor that causes employers to pay serious attention to you. Check out the following five samples for inspiration:

  • A well-educated researcher uses eloquent but comfortable language to propose that she join the staff of a prestigious research institute.

    [Credit: Don Orlando, CPRW, JCTC, CCM, CCMC, CJSS, MCD — Montgomery, Ala.]
    Credit: Don Orlando, CPRW, JCTC, CCM, CCMC, CJSS, MCD — Montgomery, Ala.
  • A candidate for a human resource director's position doesn't say that she hasn't yet held an HR director's title, but uses a classically simple design to direct eyes to her professional merit. The candidate's branding statement proclaims a commitment to excellence, followed by a focus on her master's degree in HR management.

    [Credit: Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW — Lapeer, Mich.]
    Credit: Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW — Lapeer, Mich.
  • A bilingual senior technology executive speaks geek in language a corporate chief can cheer, especially the part about adding 30 percent to company sales for a new technological product.

    [Credit: Karen Bartell, CPRW — Massapequa Park, N.Y.]
    Credit: Karen Bartell, CPRW — Massapequa Park, N.Y.
  • An experienced food and beverage server responds to a job ad for a part-time server position with a short, punchy message that can be sent as a letter or an online cover letter note.

    [Credit: Gay Anne Himebaugh — Corona del Mar, Calif.]
    Credit: Gay Anne Himebaugh — Corona del Mar, Calif.
  • A chief executive officer of a firm in the green energy industry decides he wants to be on someone else's payroll. As a hint that he fits well into the industry's youthful culture, the candidate chooses an informal "business casual" approach when reaching out to the third-party recruiter.

    [Credit: Donald Burns — New York, N.Y.]
    Credit: Donald Burns — New York, N.Y.

Memorable storytellers

Simply being remembered as a qualified individual among faceless hoards of candidates is a big threshold to cross. A memorable story helps employers recall individuals when deciding who to interview. Notice the humanizing touches that bring readers closer to good feelings about unknown candidates in the two following samples:

  • A national health care practitioner weaves a personal history into her letter to a health food products sales manager, suggesting that she is a good fit in the health food culture by closing with "Namaste," a conventional Hindu expression, usually stated while holding the palms together vertically in front of the bosom.

    [Credit: Stephanie Clark, CRS, CIS — Nanaimo, B.C., Canada]
    Credit: Stephanie Clark, CRS, CIS — Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
  • A new graduate competing for a position as an occupational therapy assistant begins her occupational story at the beginning, when she was a candy striper. The reader thinks, "What an empathetic, thoughtful person."

    [Credit: Judith L. Gillespie, CPCC, CPRW, CEIP — W. Melbourne, Fla.]
    Credit: Judith L. Gillespie, CPCC, CPRW, CEIP — W. Melbourne, Fla.

Blue standard bearers

Job search documents, including cover letters and resumes, are increasingly welcomed by employers of installation, maintenance, repair, construction, and production workers. Plenty of people continue to get jobs without self-marketing documents, but why not get an edge for the best jobs by using every available tool? The following two samples illustrate:

  • A construction estimator nails key job requirements in a short and zippy letter. He precludes the agony of sitting around waiting for a contact by saying he'll call to discuss not an interview, but "your needs and my qualifications." Well played!

    [Credit: Louise Garver, CPBS, JCTC, CMP, CPRW, CEIP — Broad Brook, Conn.]
    Credit: Louise Garver, CPBS, JCTC, CMP, CPRW, CEIP — Broad Brook, Conn.
  • An "unretirement" candidate responds to an ad for a maintenance technician. He adroitly puts his motto ("You can count on me!") in italics and emphasizes his command of systems and equipment. Inspired! Employers of blue-collar workers seek reliable and able workers, a good selling point for an older worker.

    [Credit: Judith L. Gillespie, CPCC, CPRW, CEIP — W. Melbourne, Fla.]
    Credit: Judith L. Gillespie, CPCC, CPRW, CEIP — W. Melbourne, Fla.

Main points

Look over the following sample that shows the wisdom of getting to the heart of the matter. What is the one factor that, if missing, kills interest in the candidate? Always try to pinpoint the make-or-break factor in a hiring decision and make it work for you:

  • A personal banking officer relocating from one city to another knows that the ability to offer great customer service is a key essential in selecting personal bankers; she loads her letter with charm and warmth.

    [Credit: Haley Richardson, CPRW, JCTC — Minneapolis, Minn.]
    Credit: Haley Richardson, CPRW, JCTC — Minneapolis, Minn.
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