Wednesday, December 21, 2005

On Passion & Cover-letters ... Norm's fetishes

"After 25 years of building businesses and recruiting employees, I've learned ways to seek out the best talent." So says Norman Cloutier, in the Small Business Owner's section of Fortune's December 2005 issue.

The article is a short read, but I specifically like two things from Cloutier's article.

When seeking out the best talent, Cloutier does not require industry-specific experience (how many times have you heard that?). He does, however, require the appropriate skill set and a hunger/passion for opportunity (preach it, Norman!).

Secondly, he has a cover-letter fetish. Here's Norman on cover letters:

"When I solicit resumes, I insist on something else: a cover letter. Many
companies don't put as much stock in them as they once did, but after
hundreds of hires, I've found that if you have a couple dozen prospects who
look equally good, the ones who write well-crafted cover letters often turn
out to be the best candidates. Anyone in a management position has to be able
to organize his thoughts and to sell his ideas. A rambling, disjointed letter is a
big red flag. If someone can't express his thoughts when there are no
distractions, how would he fare under the pressures of the job?"

Granted, anybody can shell out a few bucks to have somebody else write a stellar cover letter, but at least they thought it important enough to do so.
Many in the recruiting community disagree with me (and Norman) with regard to cover letters. I'm just a firm believer that it gives me one more opportunity to differentiate myself from the guy next door.

Should you choose not to read my cover letter, so be it. But if your name happens to be Norman Cloutier, you're gonna love the fact that I took the time to craft something of value - something that piqued your interest so much that I made it impossible for you to overlook me.


Anonymous said...

Hey there Masked Blogger -
if you have any time - I sure would like to speak to you next week.

Had some thoughts I wanted to share with you.

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice info! Thanks for sharing this to us. In a cover letter to an employment agency or executive search firm, you should always mention your current or most recent salary, as well as your willingness to relocate for a position.

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