This is a three-article series about how to market yourself using your résumé.
To cut to the chase, the résumé is the most important (second) impression you can make…….
Did I say “second” impression?
Yes, that is right, because the most important part of your “résumé” is the cover letter, to which your résumé is attached. This is because most recipients don’t want to waste their time reading your résumé. They are busy and don’t know who you are and couldn’t care less about you.
But if it is an email – maybe forwarded from a friend – or a cold call/email – you may have about ten to fifteen seconds before they delete it. And there is your opening!
Okay – start with this thought: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR WHAT YOU WANT. Yes I am shouting here.
It is about the reader and what she wants.
You want a job – she wants to deal with all of the issues, concerns and problems on her plate that are probably emergencies.
So don’t say:
“Dear Tobina – I really want to find a place where I can do……”
Tobina doesn’t care.
“Dear Tobina – I read that you are expanding your group into widget law and I wonder if my ten years representing clients in the widget world might be really useful to you in this endeavor….”
This is the way to use that ten to fifteen seconds to maximum advantage. If you haven’t hooked Tobina in that time period it is “game over”.
However, once Tobina is hooked with your super-powerful first sentence, then she will read the rest of your email and if she is still interested – then finally – look at your résumé.
So what should be in the rest of your email?
The answer is that you want to brag about yourself. Ugh – I bet you hate bragging – especially if you are a younger lawyer who was trained that self-aggrandizement is just an awful thing to do. And I do agree that you don’t want to sound like a pompous ass either.
Here you have to choose your words carefully – sort of “respectful bragging.” How about this….
“Dear Tobina – I read that you are expanding your group into widget law and I wonder if my ten years representing client in the widget world might be really useful to you in this endeavor.
I hate to sound to forward here, but being honest, the following illustrates how I could be of use to you:
In my current job I am responsible for all of the widget business
I started it from scratch and now….
Also, I won several awards
For marketing purposes, I have a good résumé in that….
And finally, I am a driven person. If you were to hire me you would find that….
If this all sounds of interest I would be most pleased to meet with you. I have attached my résumé that gives a more detailed background.
Please let me know if we could set up a time.
Best and sincere regards.
So there you have it. By far the most important document in marketing yourself; namely, your cover email.
The next article – in this three article series – will give you guidance on how to use your cover email to maximum effect. Then, finally, the third article will give you tips on how to create an effective résumé.
I hope this is helpful!