The Almighty Letter
E-mail or Snail Mail?
Everyone is so used to e-mail these days that we tend to forget old-fashioned snail mail.
However, e-mail can arrive surrounded by a ton of Spam and can be inadvertently deleted in a moment of acute exasperation.
A First Class letter is not one click away from oblivion.
Direct Mail 101
Think of a résumé submission as a direct mail package.
The typical direct mail package has five elements: outside envelope, letter, circular or brochure, order form and business reply envelope. The last two—order form and BRE—are generally not part of a job application.
Freelancer Herschel Gordon Lewis points out that the carrier envelope has just two purposes: to get opened and to keep the contents from spilling onto the street.
Once the envelope has been opened and discarded, the letter and circular remain.
Freelancer Malcolm Decker considers the direct mail package to be a team. The envelope knocks on the door. The letter is the main salesperson. Decker writes:
The letter is likely to be the only "person" your market will ever meet—at least on the front end of the sale ... I develop as clear a profile of my prospect as the available research offers and then try to match it up with someone I know and "put him in a chair" across from me. Then I write to him more or less conversationally.
To Decker, the circular or brochure is a third member of the team—the "demonstrator"—who has all the facts. This person sits in a chair nearby pointing to photographs, drawings, charts and tables, and saying, "You see, everything that the person in the letter says is true."
In responding to a job opening, think of the résumé as the fact-filled brochure or "demonstrator."
So what goes in the letter—the so-called main sales person?