I'm applying to a number of firms that are not advertising open positions, as well as to various recruiters in my area. While I have a pretty solid grasp on the positions I'm applying for, there are many which are a good fit for my skills and career path. I'm wondering how best to construct my cover letter and resume in this circumstance.

Since I have a limited ability to speak directly to a position and its requirements, is it inappropriate to make the letter SLIGHTLY longer when I'm writing "on spec," so as to afford a little more time to tell them about myself and my approach? (Perhaps one additional paragraph on general approach and another paragraph on measurable results/accomplishments)

The trick is that I wear many hats at my current company, and I'd be happy with a number of potential career paths. There are general uses of my skills and abilities that I'd find fulfilling, but I can find that sort of work in many roles.

Is it a mistake to tell a manager or recruiter about my varied interests, or does this water down my message too much or make me look indecisive? Should I take a different approach with a recruiter than with a hiring manager?

If you have any other advice on packaging and marketing myself to recruiters in general, I'd love to hear it.


bflynn's picture

I'm interested in simliar questions. Additionally, should there be different messages to corporate recruiters vs "freelance" ones?


ccleveland's picture

Have you talked with any of these recruiters? If not, you may want to consider calling them first. The advice I've heard and read says that you shouldn't send your resume out "blindly." (If you haven't read it yet, check out Rites of Passage by John Lucht--much of it applies to non-executives too.)

As to varied interests, find a position you're interested in and go for it. Being a candidate with "general use" skills waters down your message and makes you appear indecisive. This is not a way to stand out in a crowd. Early in my career, I tried going down two paths at the same time. I had training and some experience as both an application developer and in infrastructure support. I applied to a company that was looking for both and didn't get a job, so I was told, because I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go.

That doesn't prevent you from having two (or more) different career paths that you pursue...just pursue them separately. Don't try to lump them together by telling one recruiter, "I'll take any of a number of jobs." Pursue specific positions, and focus on the career path appropriate to that position. If you're talking with a hiring manager, you're probably already talking about a specific position anyway.