In the age of social media, work relationships never technically "end." (Some would actually say the same thing about real-life relationships.) Even when we finish our last slice of goodbye cake, pack up our desk, and head out the office door, the people who worked beside us stay in our lives, and reconnection is just one profile search and one click away. For some job seekers, this means relying on former bosses and coworkers for new opportunities.
If your old boss or buddy now works for a new company where you'd like to apply, what can you do to leverage this connection and set your application apart from all the others? Here are a few cover letter tips that can help you make the most of this scenario.
Landing a Job with Your Friend's Company
Follow these tips, and the job is as good as yours:
1. Don't assume you'll automatically land the job. Doing so can lead to disappointment, confusion, and a host of other problems that can stand between you and a job. Just because you know the hiring manger doesn't mean you're a shoe-in, and it certainly doesn't mean you can joke and high-five your way across the finish line. Show respect and keep your letter reserved and professional even as you work to spark the person's memory of you and rekindle an old connection.
2. Be chummy…but not too chummy. A warm greeting and a simple reminder of your old relationship can set the perfect tone for you message. For example: "Dear (employer's first name), We used to work together in the finance division of XYZ Co. back when you were first starting out as a junior accountant. You've come a long way since then! And you certainly work for a great company now, an organization I'd be proud to join as a senior associate manager."
3. Lean on your credentials, not on the friendship. Sell yourself as an experienced professional, not a fun tennis partner or an old college drinking buddy. You're pleasant to be around, and friendship is thicker than water, but that's not why you're the perfect fit for this job. You're the perfect fit because you're great at what you do. Remember, even if your friend is ready to hire you on the spot, she may have to pitch your qualifications to other decision-makers. Make this task as easy as possible.
4. Present subtle reminders of quid pro quo. If you've done any significant (or even small) favors for this person in the past, gently move these episodes to the foreground. You aren't demanding tit for tat, but it's reasonable to expect that your reviewer has forgotten what you've done for her.
5. Remind your reader of specific examples of your expertise, examples she may have seen with her own eyes.
Value Your Personal Network
Close your letter warmly, and sign off with one final friendly touch, like an invitation to meet for coffee and catch up—regardless of what happens with the position. Your resume, your cover letter, and your personal network are the three pillars of job search success, so make the most of each one. Once you've created and cultivated a wide list of contacts, visit LiveCareer and use Cover Letter Builder and Resume Builder to strengthen the other two-thirds of your career development tool kit.