What Are Broadcast and Prospecting Job Letters?

Broadcast and prospecting letters form a type of direct mail designed to uncover an opportunity in the hidden (unadvertised) job market; they’re high-class versions of advertising flyers. When broadcast or prospecting letters are boring, trite, or mediocre and sent indiscriminately to a generic mailing list, they’re treated as flyers and discarded without a thought.

On the other hand, direct mail done right can hit the jackpot. A highly persuasive letter and resume that arrive with perfect (though accidental) timing, will draw attention from the decision maker.

Arriving online or by postal mail — or even better, hand-carried by a company’s employee to the company’s hiring authority — these letters must catch the reader’s eyes and then glue them open.

How to distinguish broadcast and prospecting letters

Prospecting letters and broadcast letters have much in common. The difference is a matter of scale and personal connection. Here’s a distinction:

  • Broadcast letters are self-marketing letters sent to a large but carefully targeted roster of potential employers. You may draw your targets from commercial mailing lists. The list is king! Even with great writing, without verifying that the list is up to date and representative of the specific industry or career field you want to reach, you’re sending junk mail.

  • Prospecting letters are self-marketing letters sent to a much smaller and even more selective number of potential employers. They may, for example, be addressed to a potential employer you met at an event or to a member of a small professional organization whose name you obtained from the group’s directory.

Send via postal mail or e-mail?

Deciding which medium is most likely to get results for your letters is a toss-up. Here are a few important considerations:

  • E-mail is cheaper and quicker than postal mail, growing rapidly and producing similar results in many circumstances, particularly with executive recruiters and venture capital firms.

  • Recruiters like e-mail because they can forward your materials to clients with ease.

  • Conducting an e-mail campaign to employers is risky even if you can find the decision-maker’s personal e-mail address. Why? Your letter and resume may disappear into the spam version of the Bermuda Triangle. Unless a company has advertised an HR (human resources) address, you have no assurance that your campaign will get to the right people.

  • A persuasive mailing on quality paper is still the best way to forward an unsolicited letter and resume to top-level executives and other prominent decision-makers.

When you’re facing an uphill search in a thin job market, a direct mail campaign comprised of broadcast and prospecting letters accompanying your resume can produce leads you may otherwise miss. The caveat: Research the best techniques to mail your letters (whether a commercial service or a do-it-yourself effort) and follow up on leads generated by the campaign.

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