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How Free Fax Cover Letters Get You Noticed
Sending in a free fax cover letter is an interesting option to make sure that your resume gets notice, as long as that cover letter is not only free to send, but written according to time-tested job-getting principles.
From their heyday in the 80's, fax machines have been in a steady popularity decline since the advent of the age of email. This decline has occurred for some very good reason. Despite the easy and free fax cover letter possibilities that facsimile machines offer, using email is easier and faster for the both the sender and recipient.
Why The Free Fax Cover Letter Works So Well
There are some times when you will need to send a free fax cover letter. The first is when the company requires you too in their job advertisement, which still happens quite regularly. There are a couple of reasons that companies may request a free fax cover letter be sent in place of a mailed letter or email.
Some companies may feel like it is too easy for someone to send an emailed cover letter and resume. Consequently, their employment ads result in a torrent of emailed cover letters and resumes from people that aren't even remotely qualified for the position. This deluge of email forces someone at the company to sort through each email individually, discarding the obviously unqualified and contacting the people that may have a legitimate chance of getting the position.
As it often happens, these respondents aren't really that interested or enthusiastic about the position. Instead, they merely saw the ad and sent in their cover letter on a whim. After going through the unqualified and the uninterested, the hiring company may discover that they have wasted many, many valuable hours of their time.
Asking that interested candidates send a free fax cover letter and resume eliminates this problem. It takes a significant effort and time commitment to send a free fax cover letter to a target company. The candidate has to write the cover letter, print it and put it in his or her fax machine to send to the company.
If the candidate doesn't own his or her own fax machine, the commitment is even greater. He or she must drive to the nearest copy shop and pay to send the cover letter and resume in. This increased commitment level acts as a natural filter or screen to keep the number of candidates low. Consequently, only the most motivated and qualified candidates will go through the trouble and the company can contact any of them with confidence that there will be a minimum of time wasted.
Standing Out From The Crowd
Another reason that a candidate might want to send a free fax cover letter is when he or she believes that there is a lot of competition for the job that will be using other forms of reaching the target Hiring Manager. In such a case, the candidate may feel that he or she will get "lost in the shuffle" of hundreds of paper cover letters, or be "one out of a thousand" emails sitting in the Hiring Manager's email inbox.
A free fax cover letter, just because it's one of the few faxes that the Hiring Manager will receive, stands a higher chance of actually being picked up, seen and read. If, and this is a big if, that free fax cover letter says the right things this may be the edge that the letter needs to get the interview that gets the job.
So what should this free fax cover letter say? The answer to this question is "Everything that a cover letter should say." And that means that it should A) Attract and hold the attention of the reader B) Persuade the reader that you are the solution to the business problem that the company faces and C) Motivate that reader to contact you and move the hiring process forward one notch.
Here's how a hypothetical free fax cover letter would go about doing these three tasks.
When a piece of paper gets put in front of a Hiring Manager, he or she has two warring thoughts that simultaneously appear and start fighting for control of the action that Hiring Manager takes next. The first thought is "Oh no! Another thing I have to look at and deal with. Why me? Why can't I get a moment's peace around this place?"
The second thought is "Great! This could be just the information that I need to solve the business problem that's killing me right now!"
As you compose your free fax cover letter, you will want to make the Hiring Manager believe that your letter falls into the second, beloved, problem-solving category. One way to do that is to put information to that effect right at the top of the letter and in ALL CAPS so that the Hiring Manager's eyes can't help but land on it first thing.
Something like "EXPERIENCED DIRECT MARKETING PROFESSIONAL AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY" will do the trick, provided that the Hiring Manager is seeking a direct marketing professional.
Persuading and Convincing
Now that you've got his or her attention, what do you do with it? In a phrase, you want to make the case that you are the best possible solution to the problem that the business is facing right now. If you have done your research - you did do your research, right? - you know what this problem is so you just have to show that you can solve it. To do this, you can use all the information at your disposal including your job experience, your awards and honors, your accreditations, your interests, aspirations, goals, whatever most clearly makes the case that you can make their biggest problem history.
Of all the tools at your disposal for making this case, none will be more effective than clearly and simply describing how you have solved that exact problem before. Better yet, tell and show and prove that you are currently solving that problem for your current employer. Once you have done that, your ability to do what the company needs done isn't your opinion, belief, prediction or hope. It's a true historical fact.
Once that fact is established, the Hiring Manager doesn't feel like hiring you is a bet or wager or chance they are taking. They have the confidence of knowing that you can show up, keep doing what you are already doing, and their problem gets solved without having to train you or teach you or wait for you to grow into the position.
As part of convincing the Hiring Manager that you are the best problem solver for the company, you should establish your enthusiasm for solving the problem that the business faces. Just wanting to show up and do a job for money isn't enough for most employers. They want to believe that the employee is enthusiastic, is motivated and actually loves what they do for the company. So your free fax cover letter should contain what I call a "passion paragraph" that expresses your enjoyment of the job and the challenges that it gives you.
A Final Checklist
Once you've established this, your free fax cover letter's next step is to motivate the Hiring Manager to take the next step that he or she needs to in order to get you into that job. For most cases, this next step is simply picking up the phone and calling you up for an interview.
So if this is what you want, then you need to come right out and ask for it in your free fax cover letter. Don't expect the Hiring Manager to read your mind or guess to call you or assume that is what he or she needs to do next. Right after reading your cover letter is the time that you and your credentials and problem solving ability are freshest on their mind.
You will never have a moment when the Hiring Manager is more excited about your credentials than immediately after reading your well-crafted free fax cover letter. So take advantage of that and strike while the iron is at its very hottest. Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity and how eager you are to speak about the job and your problem solving capacity in person.
Once you have written this letter, use your spellcheck and leave your computer and go do something else for a few hours. When you return, print up the letter and read it out loud.
Reading a free fax cover letter out loud is one of the best ways to discover any errors or awkward bits that you should change. Remember that the point of a cover letter is to showcase not only your work skills but also your personality. So your letter should sound natural and flowing, never artificial or pretentious. It's better to use smaller words and simpler sentence structures like you would do in conversation than to impress someone with how smart you are and how many big words you can fit into a sentence.
Once you've got it perfect, it's time to send it off. If you have followed these free fax cover letter guidelines, you can watch it get fed into the facsimile machine with the confidence that you are sending a super persuasive salesman over to plead your case to the Hiring Manager.
Put your ear to the fax machine when it starts sending. Hear those beeps and whines and electronic wailings? Those are just the fax machines way of saying "hire this person... now!"
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