It's easy to point a derisive finger at cover letters that fall flat. For instance, here
. And even here
But what about a job applicant whose plea for a job grabs attention in the right way? A bid from someone who has some, shall we say, chutzpah?
Take Daniel Hebert.
On Monday, Feb. 6, Hebert wrote a blog post titled, "Why I should work for Radian6."
A senior at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Hebert saw a position open for a social media analyst at Radian6, a social media software company, and decided it had to be his.
Hebert's inspiration for using a blog post as a job application came from Matthew Epstein, who posted a "Google, Please Hire Me" video on YouTube. Google didn't hire him, but he got a lot of attention and landed a job elsewhere.
Hebert wanted his approach to be better and more focused and, above all else, to work.
Epstein "just wanted the exposure and show that he was creative," Hebert says. "I really wanted to show my knowledge of social media and how it applies to Radian6 even though I don't work for them," he says. "My goal is to work for Radian6. I didn't write, 'Why I should be a social media analyst.'"
A day later, he's closer to his dream job.
Within 24 hours, he got a phone call from the company and had a phone interview on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
"The blog post definitely sped up the process," he says. "I hoped it would make me stand out and [cause them to] remember my application. I took a risk."
What about his blog post worked so well? Four primary elements:
- He wrote for his audience. Hebert spoke Radian6's language. He outlined how and why he uses social media monitoring software. He discussed the importance of relevant keywords, targeting followers, and his measurement strategy.
- He backed up his arguments with visuals. He posted graphics from SocialBro and Hootsuite to show how he monitors what is said about himself and his blog.
- He practices what he preaches. He doesn't point to his Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn presence as proof that he's savvy about social media. He targets followers, monitors what his influencers are saying, and engages when appropriate—all services that Radian6 performs for clients.
- He did his homework. He began the post with a brief outline of the company history with links to recent news. I can't tell you how many times I've interviewed candidates who haven't the faintest idea what we do.
David Thomas, director of community and social strategy for Radian6, told Ragan.com that the blog was a great way to get the firm's attention.
"He didn't just say he wanted to work for us; he showed why he felt he was qualified, and he used the right media to show it," Thomas says. "We get stacks of résumés for every open position, and anything that helps a hiring manager see how you would be a good candidate is beneficial."
Hebert suggests fellow job hunters go beyond the cover letter and résumé, particularly if you're looking for a PR, marketing, or social media job.
"I do think this is a better approach. It's easy to be on Facebook and 'like' something, but how does that show you can apply it to business? How do I explain I have the right skills for the job if I can't put it all in a cover letter and résumé?"
A blog post, perhaps?
Roula Amire is managing editor of Ragan.com.