Qualifications Brief and Cover Letter - How to identify and contact potential employers
Here are a few steps you can take to identify your areas of specialty, identify potential employers (who seek these skills), draft a Qualifications Brief, and proactively contact them for employment, internships, or sponsorships with a cover letter and qualifications brief.
It is important that you identify the specialized knowledge, skills and abilities you have developed. Sources can be professional (occupational), educational (perhaps specialized research), or personal (volunteer work, hobbies, etc).
Instead, in you Profile Folder, state your specialties in terms of accomplishment, and attach a particular function for effect:
As you can see in the blurb above, you can use this for a sales position (which is outside your traditional function of Training Coordinator). Later, a separate version can easily be created, relative to another particular function (such as Human Resources, below):
Human Resources [function]
As Training Coordinator, I developed and delivered a 16-hour sales training program that included sales mentoring, and shadowing that was integrated with company incentive structures. Over a six-month period, I trained a sales force of 17 across the Los Angeles region, with a resulting 63% increase in sales during that time. The mentorship incentive program was subsequently expanded to other regions throughout California.
To start, you need to develop a blurb for all accomplishments where you were instrumental for their achievement. This is best done incrementally. A great way to quickly build blurbs is to commit the process to calendar – schedule so that each week you devote two hours to drafting and refining blurbs. In a relatively short period of time you will amass a collection of blurbs that can easily be modified and adopted into your qualifications briefs (Step 3 below).
2. Identify Potential Employers
Once you have identified your specialized knowledge, skills and abilities, and you have drafted numerous blurbs about your accomplishments, you will need to identify potential employers. You need to do some research to identify which types of employers can benefit most by finding someone with your unique skill set. This means that you need to understand the type of contribution that is needed.
It may be helpful to conduct informational interviews. This can be accomplished by calling people in select companies and asking if you can buy them a lunch. A key question that can be asked might be, “For [name the function – e.g., sales], what do you think are the three key things that need to be done, and done well, in order to survive and thrive in this company?” These types of questions will help you to gain insights regarding that company and its expectations. If you were to ask this question of three or four people, in similar positions, in different companies, you will be able to systematically develop an understanding of differentiation. In other words, you will be able to not only gain insight regarding industry issues, but also may gain an understanding about how each of the companies is different, in terms of focus and strategies. When you draft your cover letter and qualifications brief, this will help tremendously to help you stand out from the rest.
3. Cover Letter and Qualifications Brief
This step involves targeting one company at a time, and developing a specifically-crafted cover letter and qualifications brief. Using information from Steps 1 and 2 above, you will be able to select the appropriate blurbs, and modify them to meet the needs of a particular company. The blurbs should be chosen based on your research – they should match with the dynamics and anticipated needs of that company. In this way, your contact with them is attempting to provide them with a specific solution to their particular needs.
Unlike a traditional resume, the qualification brief will focus on the knowledge, skills and abilities you have that relate specifically to the position and company to which you are applying. In other words, a separate qualifications brief should be written for each potential employer. Include standard resume headings, (Job Title, Company, Dates), but do not merely list your chronological job title, description and responsibilities. Instead, you should include your job title, and specifically-modified blurbs (stated in terms of accomplishments) that are focused on highlighting specific contributions that you can make (according to needs revealed through research).
A cover letter should be carefully written for each potential employer as well. It should be addressed to the manager of the area for which you would like to work (use the web, or call, to identify the appropriate person). The cover letter should have two or three paragraphs.
Paragraph One - Contributions you can make
Paragraph Two - Why you want to work for them, and only them
Paragraph Three - Next steps to take
This process will not guarantee that you will get the job, internship or sponsorship, but it gives you a targeted approach for specific positions, within specific companies – it will certainly raise the odds for success in your favor.
Author: Dr. Ralph Jagodka - © 2011