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Write your way onto a marketing recruiter's short list in 6 steps

The last time I was job searching and looking for tips online to refresh my cover letters, I was especially hoping to find something targeted that would help me stand out to a narrow audience. Incredibly, in spite of the large amount of information online, nothing suited a marketer’s communication style nor was industry-specific enough.


I have written countless cover letters to companies over the years, and having received replies from company owners stating: “this is the best application email I have ever received,” I decided to share the simplest, most targeted ways that marketing candidates can make first contact with a recruiter, split into 6 steps with examples.

By following these steps, you can craft a cover letter or introductory email that will grab a recruiter’s attention, while also being scalable — these rules can be easily personalised to each company you apply to.


1: Tell them why they should care, in the subject line.


You may put the job you’re applying to in the subject line plus your general experience or current role. In the example below, I wrote to a contact of an ex-colleague, and put this connection plus my relevance to their company in the subject line:


Re: Contact of Pedro G: Experienced in tech and service startups”


If you are writing a letter and uploading it to an online application system, you can still use this technique. Simply name the file with this description.


2: Greet them warmly but concisely.


If you haven’t met them before, reference how you are linked. Otherwise, mention when and how you met, without excessive details.


Hope you don't mind me writing out of the blue! I'm a friend of Pedro Gómez, who worked for your company and spoke very highly of you.”


Remember, regardless of whether they’re a CEO or headhunter, they are a person. A friendly but professional opening is generally considered polite, when kept brief. More than three lines of text can drag on while one or two sentence intros show less respect for the recipient’s time.


3. State why you’re writing to them, specifically.


Here, you will want to ease into your relevance to their company. If they’ve got this far, now is the time to respond to the recipient wondering “what am I being asked to do?”


Be upfront about your intentions! Whether you want to be hired, to pitch them a product or want an intro to people they rub shoulders with, there’s nothing worse than hiding the actionable point at the bottom of a cover letter.


Pedro suggested I reach out because I am actively job seeking, looking to use experience from my current work in a tech startup at a like-minded company that better matches my value system. He immediately thought of your company.”


4. Offer a route to more information about you.


This might be attaching some examples of work, linking to your professional portfolio or your LinkedIn. Maybe you can cite campaigns that you’ve managed, which they might be able to Google. The key is to pique their interest and then provide an easy way for them to casually learn more about you.


I'm sharing more details about myself below and links to my work, but would also be happy to jump on a call to understand your company's needs if you're interested in networking!


5. Make sure their further investigations will turn up gold.


Clean up professional profiles like LinkedIn and keep personal social media private if possible.


If you’re unsure how your online portfolio or a Google search of your name will be received, add three bullet points after your sign off, that summarise what’s great about working with you.


These points should add colour to the work history they can access online. For example:

  • Area of expertise My expertise centres on… I am also skilled in...

  • Team player and leader In my most recent positions, I led… I'd love to apply these skills at your company.

  • Results Through my current role, I have grown the company website by... I was directly responsible for these results.


6: Help them out with admin.


Lastly, when attaching your CV, make sure you label it with your name, and the role you want or hold. This will make it easier for the recruiter to file and retrieve it, and also presents another opportunity to highlight your talents.


Bob Smith - Seasoned eCommerce Marketer


Consider your wider audience, would someone who didn’t read your cover letter be grabbed by a fresh and unique file label, such as including only your first name? Never miss a chance to impress the reader with something they will remember — market your own brand at every opportunity!


Enjoy this? Read more from Nadine Heir.

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