iStock_000002832253XSmallHiring managers get dozens or even hundreds of applications for job openings. They spend a short time scanning through applicants to pull out those that have an initial fit and move on from there. That leaves many people off the radar from early on. Job seekers diligently tweak and refresh their resume and cover letter to try to catch the hiring manager’s attention, incorporate the right keywords, and align themselves with the position. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes not. Before you send out your next cover letter and resume combo, consider devoting a little extra time to crafting a “pain letter” instead.

What is a Pain Letter?

No, this doesn’t highlight your pain of needing a job, but rather it emphasizes your recognition of the employer’s pain and how you can be part of the solution. A Pain Letter shows that you have done your research on your targeted company and found an area of need that you can fill. Liz Ryan, a former Fortune 500 human resources senior vice president, explains on Forbes, “How will you know what your hiring manager’s biggest problem is? Put yourself in his or her shoes. Think about what your possible future boss is up against in his or her job.”

The problem could be lack of internal resources to keep up with rapid growth, slow response to market demands, shortage of funds, or any number of other issues. Research and find out where these weaknesses may be that match up with the skills and experience you have to offer.

The Parts of a Pain Letter

Your pain letter will have four parts. Ryan describes them as the following:

  1. The Hook: Focus on recent positive attention the company has gained or what made you take particular interest in them.
  2. The Pain Hypothesis: Highlight what you have gathered to be a pain point and the challenges that it presents for the employer.
  3. The Dragon-Slaying Story: Create a transition and tie-in by showcasing a similar situation that you helped to resolve, how you did it, and what the results were.
  4. The Closing: As with any good letter, open yourself up for further discussion to talk about the issues you raised and your experience.

Make sure to direct your letter to the hiring manager or person in charge of the department. This creates a more personal approach and shows that you really have done your research to see who is affected by this pain point. It also increases the likelihood that your Pain Letter and resume will make it into someone’s hands. If well-crafted, it can grab their attention and prompt them to connect with you or have the hiring manager reach out to you for an interview.

The job market is full of tough competition, so making yourself stand out for all of the right reasons is essential. Contact Chic Resumes to ensure that you have a polished and professional resume to go along with your Pain Letter and your strongest skills and accomplishments get noticed. Call (803) 831-7444 or email to get started and boost your chances of landing an interview.