Most people use a standardized template they found online, regurgitate a few highlights from their resume , and call it a day. Then they wonder why no one is calling! And, equally important, how do you actually go about creating an effective pain letter? What is a Pain Letter? In her original article, Ryan explains that simply put, a pain letter addresses a specific problem or pain the hiring manager is experiencing and how you can resolve it.
Do Pain Letters Work? Done poorly, a pain letter can come off as tone deaf and overconfident. It's a letter. It has black or blue ink on a white page, but that's about all that a Pain Letter has in common with a cover letter. When you send a cover letter with a resume into some kind of faceless Black Hole recruiting pit, you know your odds of hearing back from the employer range from slim to none.
Here is a horrifying story we heard from a job-seeker who was told by a company recruiter that she doesn't even look at the resumes coming in through the firm's Applicant Tracking System. She ignores those resumes and finds her own candidates via LinkedIn! When you send a Pain Letter, you don't pitch it into a Black Hole career portal to die. You send it to directly to your hiring manager at his or her desk. I think I know what you're thinking: how do I find my hiring manager?
Here's how to do that! I was a corporate HR leader for ages. I saw the recruiting process degrading and becoming more zombified every year. I saw how that degradation of the recruiting process was hurting job-seekers and employers. Nobody wins -- only a technology vendor wins when technology takes over what should be a warm and vibrant human process. Recruiting is a human activity, not a technological one. When everybody figures out that the way to get your resume through the keyword searching algorithm is to cram keywords into your resume or your application, the sorting technology becomes useless.
That is the biggest "Duh! We invented Pain Letters to give job-seekers a more powerful and immediate way to tell their story to hiring managers. If you want to write a Pain Letter and skip the obnoxious online-application chore, here are the steps to follow. Research the Employer A Pain Letter is not generic. Every Pain Letter is unique. If you don't want to take the time to research the employer before you write a Pain Letter, don't even bother writing it. Your Pain Letter is very specific, whereas a traditional cover letter is generic.
You'll write about the very hiring manager you are writing to, and you'll make an educated guess about his or her Business Pain. Your Pain Letter won't drone on and on about your background.
Instead, you'll share one short and pithy Dragon-Slaying Story about a time when you made something awesome happen at work. One good story is plenty! Your Human-Voiced Resume will be attached to your Pain Letter with one staple in the upper left-hand corner.
Your hiring manager doesn't even have to read your entire Pain Letter although it won't be a long letter before deciding to flip over the page and read your Human-Voiced Resume. Your Pain Letter won't mention a job opening. It won't use the word "job" at all. If your Pain Letter uses the word "job" or the phrase "job opening" or if it reads too much like a traditional cover letter, your hiring manager is likely to send it straight to HR -- and that will defeat the purpose of composing the Pain Letter in the first place!
Your Pain Letter won't be stiff and formal a la "I was intrigued by your job advertisement You'll address your hiring manager by name, the way human beings do!
Mention a possible pain point and stop. What kind of conversation will it be?
Hiring managers have specific kinds of pain. Thank you.
Think about what your possible future boss is up against in his or her job. We teach them to find their hiring manager's name and send a snail mail surface mail letter, directly to the hiring manager's desk. Read the news, check job sources that are experiencing that pain.
Who has that pain?
We don't care about the exact months and years when you worked as a Financial Analyst versus an Assistant Controller versus a Controller. Your Pain Letter is written for and addressed to a specific human being -- your hiring manager, who is the manager that oversees the department you want to work for in one of your target employers. You will research each of your target employers and your specific hiring manager in each one before beginning to compose a Pain Letter.
Dragon-Slaying Story. Very different animal.
Title this document "Career History" and save it -- you'll use it later. Share to twitter Share to linkedin A Pain Letter is a new-millennium alternative to a cover letter. Have you run into that guinea pig rash that is all over town?
The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic th The first one is the job-seeker's Human-Voiced Resume. Is how sort of hunched down, a lot, a lot, of people are. Don't kill us with tasks and duties we could extrapolate from the job title. And when it comes time to write a cover letter, we can ditch the tired cover letter format and write a Pain Letter, instead. Because of the time investment required, it makes sense to use pain letters only when your job search is highly targeted — which is generally the more strategic approach anyway.
And feeling very disempowered. They may have so much red-tape bureaucracy that important projects get stalled. Don't be surprised if a hiring manager gets your Pain Letter, reads it, gets excited and picks up the phone to call you then and there! And then on the other side of the equation for employers is how to humanize your workplace.