Cover Letter & Thank You Note – Are They Personal Branding Tools?
Rather than debating if you should or shouldn’t spend your time on correspondence like a cover letter or thank you note, ask yourself why wouldn’t you? Each has the potential to promote your personal brand.
Your personal brand is all about your reputation. It is the telling of your story and the summation of what you uniquely do better than anyone else. Being intentional in highlighting your strengths and passions can go beyond your resume and social media presence. It can come to life in your other correspondence, such as cover letters and thank you notes.
Done well, tying letters like these into your personal branding portfolio could open doors and help you move forward in your career. While there are many types of letters that can impact the job search process and reinforce your messaging, this blog focuses on two: cover letters and thank you notes.
A cover letter is a more personal way to demonstrate a great fit between you and the company you are targeting. It provides an additional platform to market your skills and convey your interest in both the position and the company. Likewise, it can bring your personal brand to life.
Bonus tip: Research to whom you should address your letter. Ideally, it’s the name of the hiring manager. This step shows that you’ve taken the initiative to learn more about the company.
Use the cover letter to address areas not covered in your resume, including gaps in employment. Bridge your value to the employer’s mission and vision—painting a clear picture that draws in the reader and concisely shows your understanding of the company’s needs.
There are other advantages to cover letters, such as:
- Getting your name in front of a decision maker.
- Incorporating keywords related to your field to beat the ATS system.
- Rising above the competition.
- Explaining what attracted you to the company and its mission in the first place.
Keep it to one page, do not regurgitate your resume, and avoid writing a generic letter, Tailor it to the target position. Bulleted statements are often an excellent way to match examples of your top strengths and attributes with the needs and requirements of the position. Close with a call to action if appropriate; reiterate your eagerness to learn more about the role’s challenges and opportunities in a way that stands out. Here’s an example layout:
Thank You Letters
Following up after an interview is not only displaying good manners, but also may be a deciding factor between you and another equally qualified candidate. Contact all persons you met with, customizing each note toward the recipient for a personal touch. Remind them of your personal brand and the unique value you will bring to the organization. Making a good impression on every person you meet, regardless of organizational level, can lay the ground work for strategic partnerships down the line.
Bonus tip: Email or snail mail? Email is a quick and commonly accepted form of business communication these days. It will be sufficient in most instances. Consider a written thank you note if you deem that a formal touch may be noticed; but this is not a good option if time is of the essence.
Send the thank you note immediately, indicate your gratitude for the interview, and elaborate on or clarify anything you believe was left open during the interview. In addition, restate your interest in the position and the organization. Remember to keep it brief and don’t forget to thoroughly proofread your letter. Here’s an example layout:
Although it can be a challenge to establish a balance between keeping your name at the top of the list and being too eager, maximizing those key opportunities to connect with stakeholders in the job search process can set you apart from other candidates. It also moves the needle in your direction – which may result in you receiving the job offer over someone who failed to show the same level of dedication and proactive resourcefulness.
Optimize your personal brand with an IMPACT Group coach!
Partner today to build, execute, and promote an effective personal branding strategy.
Contribution by Cindy Botset & Jennifer Victorian.
Cindy is a certified résumé writer at IMPACT Group with a background in résumé coaching and personnel staffing. She is also a military veteran and military spouse who volunteers at a nonprofit organization that assists transitioning soldiers and family members.
Jennifer is IMPACT Group’s Engagement and Communications Specialist, specializing in crafting key messages and enhancing the employee experience. As a blogger, she is especially keen on covering relocation and job search topics. Connect with Jennifer today on LinkedIn.