How to Write a Broadcast Letter
by Bill Nicholson, Resumes That Jump
Originally published: Apr 4, 2009
In any job market, particularly in a difficult one, some jobs are filled based on the credentials of the individual ... there may not be a job opening, but the job opening may be created if the individual has the requisite skills and enthusiasm. The broadcast letter is similar to a cover letter in that it begins with an introduction and quickly transitions into a discussion of your knowledge of the company and where there may be a perceived need that you can meet. The company may have taken on a new product line or the company may have expanded into a geographic region where you have particular knowledge. The company may have a publicized problem or a problem that you can identify, based on some research (be careful of how you get into a discussion on a problem). As an example, if a company is losing money in one segment, instead of saying “I see that you have lost $3 million over the last year in your warranty division,” you might say “I have extensive experience in warranty fulfillment and managing the costs associated with warranty work.”
Early on, you want to mention something in your letter that is specific about the company’s sales culture, the commitment that the company has to its stakeholders, creating shareholder value, something that jumps out at you, typically in the chairman’s statement in an annual report or press release – an idea that you can seize upon. If you know somebody in the company, this is also a good place to corroborate a particular core value of the company.
In the next part of your letter, get into several accomplishments that you have achieved with your past employers, which meet a perceived or identified need that the company may have (i.e., if sales have been flat and you have always been excellent at opening new territories or getting more out of an existing territory…if expense ratios have gotten out of hand and you have demonstrated skills in controlling and helping identify superfluous expenses and controlling those expenses ... if there has been a decline in the customer service index (CSI) and you have experienced turning around situations like this).
Your closing paragraph needs to summarize what your strengths are and reference, again, a perceived need and how you fit into that equation. You should exude exuberance and enthusiasm. Finally, indicate that you will follow up with the specific individual to whom you have targeted the letter within the next week.
Each broadcast letter has to be carefully crafted to the needs and opportunities of your target company. Your broadcast letters will not be successful if you try to mass produce them and make minor changes related to different firms. As was stated before, broadcast letters work, but they only work to the extent that you are willing to take the time and effort to do the research and create a unique letter that resonates with the reader.