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Cover Letters vs. Broadcast Letters

by Bill Nicholson, Resumes That Jump
Originally published: Mar 25, 2009

There is a clear distinction between a resume cover letter and a broadcast letter.

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter accompanies a resume and, typically, is used when you, the applicant, have been asked to submit a resume. This process may be through an ad or it may be after you have been pre-screened after filling out an on-line application.

If you are asked to submit a resume, you always want to put a cover letter on it, unless you are specifically asked not to do so (there may be cases where, as part of the screening process, the company does not want to be slowed down by cover letters).

What should the cover letter do?

  1. Highlight the experience that you have that is relevant to the job that you are applying for. If you have had a number of jobs in one industry or different industries, pick out the key accomplishments that will support your candidacy and qualifications for this particular job opening.
  2. Use as many measurable accomplishments as you can and support these with facts and figures.
  3. Keep the cover letter to one page and do not worry about educational background unless the job “specs” require a specific degree or designation (e.g., CPA).
  4. Exude energy and enthusiasm with your letter and address your interest in this company and industry with specificity.
  5. Close with “I look forward to hearing from you” or “I will contact you next week,” etc.

What Is a Broadcast Letter?

The broadcast letter differs from the cover letter in that it is your way of introducing yourself to a company or perceived opportunity or need within that company. When possible, address it to the hiring manager or other specific person.

  1. Highlight what your achievements have been.
  2. Demonstrate one or all of three things ... how you can make money for the company, how you can save money for the company, or how you can solve a problem.
  3. Prepare an introductory paragraph in which you state why you are writing and why you think you can be an immediate impact player for this particular company. You should then follow it up with a series of bullets that describe what you have done in other jobs to make money, save money and solve problems.
  4. Back your achievements with metrics ... managed unit to 50% above goal…put in place procedures to reduce costs by $10,000 per month, etc.
  5. Conclude your broadcast letter with a statement that you will contact the individual to whom the letter is sent within a week.