I am a fan of Lisa Irby’s blog 2 Create a Website, and frequently check her site to see what she’s got to say.
In her post Lazy People, she shares her thoughts on laziness and it really, really struck a chord for me.
I must tell you, I have a pet peeve; poorly written or form letters. Sending the wrong letter in haste can do more harm than good. Don’t be lazy.
Be sure to check the appropriateness of your letter to its recipient. It appears that many individuals wishing to obtain employment in the executive protection field are failing to conduct due diligence. “Due diligence” means conducting the advance work and investigation required to craft a suitable cover letter to a particular individual or firm. The cover letter is the very first impression that you are making on an individual who is doing the hiring. If you cannot provide an appropriate and suitable cover letter, you have already failed your first detail. You simply will not be contacted for an interview.
Without a doubt, taking the time to craft each cover letter and resume specific to each recipient is time consuming, but it’s better to send 20 well-done and appropriate letters than to send 40 that make you look incompetent!
Make several different templates, and save them, to make things easier. For example: you could write a general letter of introduction as one type of letter, and save it as “General”. A second letter could be specifically geared towards “Entertainment” executive protection. A third could be “Corporate” executive protection. The cover letters will all be slightly different, and you can make further minor adjustments as needed. Perhaps you want a letter just for talent managers you’ve found in The Celebrity Black Book, and another for those individuals you are contacting directly.
You will also want to make adjustments to your resumes so that your MOST RELEVANT experience is at the top (to go along with the specific cover letter.) I know individuals who have 2-3 different resumes they use-depending on the primary scope of duties for various positions. That is not uncommon for professionals in all fields.
Determine the appropriate gender and spelling of names and businesses to whom you send correspondence. Misspelling a name signals that you didn’t do your homework. Whenever possible, reference the position for which you are applying in the cover letter.
Go the extra mile and learn a little about the individual (if you are sending your materials directly to someone who is indeed has “achieved a degree of wealth” and who has a “VIP status”). Learn something about the current bodyguard/EPS. What are his/her skills? See what can be learned about the protectee. What does the protectee need/want and what can you offer over the competition?
If contacting a placement firm or headhunter, see what you can learn about the principals of the company. It is so simple now to access information on virtually any business. Keep a file on a company or individual for whom you’d like to work! Jot down notes. Visit their website frequently to see what’s new, to learn about staff changes, new branch openings, coursework, or volunteer opportunities.
Lastly-don’t use the form letters that are floating around out there. We’ve seen them all. We recognize them. Anyone who has been in the business hiring EP talent for even a few years knows immediately when you’re using a form letter. It reveals that you didn’t take the time or care enough to write an original letter. Since the cover letter is the first impression you make, why would you want to give the impression that you aren’t imaginative or clever enough to write a cover letter? This is your chance to show not only that you are bright and capable, but also something of your personality and attitude.
If you need help writing your cover letter, then by all means do that-asking for help in areas where you may not be strong is a smart move. Remember, in this business you are protecting property, someone’s life and also your own. It is crucial to demonstrate that you are better, faster, and smarter than the competition. It all begins with your cover letter and resume!