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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cover Notes for Attachments Should Quicken Interest in Your Reader

One-line cover notes like "Here's my resume" or "Here's a photo I thought you might like" are lame cover notes at best. They have no more significance than a grocery list does after the items on it have been bought.  You throw it away.

The cover note has far more potential than a grocery list.

Your cover note has the power to intrigue the reader to open your document and interpret the message in the way you intend it.  
Cover notes with a sales hook--a reason to open the attachment--demonstrate the kind of energy that employers are looking for: active employees, not passive ones.  Passive cover notes tell readers that you will be a passive employee.
Finally, you can also leave a memorable idea behind that the reader now associates with your name.  The result is the difference between being memorable or forgettable. Which one do you need to be?

For example, when sending a resume, you could write:  Here's the resume you are expecting from me.  After serving in Afghanistan, I am eager to see how my leadership skills can help your company meet the challenges of these trying economic times.

If your work history is less dramatic, you can simply write:  Here's the resume you are expecting.  Thank you for reading it and for considering me as an applicant for the junior executive position.  I am eager to put my college-education to work for you. 

There are as many ways to write a memorable cover note as there are people to send them--people who need to be remembered in a positive way or find jobs.

If you are sending limp, lame, lazy-looking cover notes that have very little content, it's time to think:  what does a cover note have in common with a grocery list?

The answer:  not much.  Unless you are writing it as if what you write is an item on your to-do list and you--and next, your reader--will soon mark through it, or in the case of e-mail, simply hit the delete button.

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