Often, companies recruiting staff throw the ball into your court and ask you to write a letter saying why you’re right for the job (or, patronisingly in my view, why you “think” you’re right for the job) to accompany your CV/résumé. What they really mean is not what they say. If you know that, you can turn it to your advantage. Read on.
Browsing through our local newspaper here in the UK today I came across a recruitment ad for the property/real estate department of a big country estate here in the UK that includes a palatial stately home, a Safari park complete with lions, rhinos and other exotic creatures, an hotel, a very snooty golf club, an events centre and an antiques gallery. Here’s what they invited potential candidates to do…
“Please apply by sending your curriculum vitae with a letter explaining why the role is right for you including you current remuneration package to….”
And, here’s what someone who’s not very savvy might write…
The Personnel Department
I believe this role is right for me because I love wild animals, and love the idea of working for (name) Estate as it’s so close to my home.
I am very interested in property as it is an important part of our lives and I know I would be good at helping to run properties properly.
Also I have the necessary skills you describe in computer literacy and the (name) computer software you use.
I enclose my CV and hope you like it.
OK, so what’s the problem?
The problem, from the recruiter’s point of view, is ZZZZzzzzzzz. Despite the fact that they have asked you to say why the role is right for you, what they really mean is why you are right for them and the job. They probably don’t realise this; in all innocence, they have phrased their ad copy in the subjective way in which they might view a recruitment ad they themselves would respond to.
You need to be one step ahead of them, though. No matter how kind and generous the recruiter may seem in asking you for this, the bottom line is they are only interested in what’s in it for them.
And that’s not mean or selfish; that just makes good business sense.
What they need is not someone who writes as though his or head is up his/her own butt, concerned only with what interests him/her, but someone who can use his/her own interests to supplement some good, practical skills that will enhance the contribution he/she can make to the enterprise concerned – to their mutual benefit.
What you should write in those circumstances
The Personnel Department
Dear Sirs/Mesdames (OK, that’s a very formal address, but don’t forget the head personnel honcho may be a woman. Better still, see if you can phone them and find out who the head personnel honcho is, so you can address your letter to him/her personally.)
Thank you for this opportunity to show you how I believe I can make a very useful contribution to your Property team.
Being a local person I have grown up with (name) Estate as a major part of our local culture and I value it hugely for what it does in terms of supporting local enterprise, especially in bringing in the tourists and making a big difference to our local economy.
Having studied (relevant qualifications) and worked in (relevant experience) I believe my role in the (name) Estate Property team could be very useful in supporting (whatever) and helping (whatever) to maintain these excellent businesses and even, in time, to help them grow. For example … (give examples.)
I really do hope you will check out my attached CV and allow me to attend an interview with you to explain in more detail how I could contribute to this valuable local heritage of ours.
So next time you’re looking for a new job and you’re asked to write a letter saying why you’re right for the role, you know what you really need to do!
Want to write that letter right?
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