Why the “Pain Letter” is the New Cover Letter

February 16, 2016

Career Advice

stethoscope lying on keyboard of a laptop

If you were a recruiter, would you want to read one more letter that begins like this?

To Whom It May Concern:
I’m writing to learn more about the XYZ position. It’s clear I am a fit for your opening and here’s why.

So here’s an idea! Why send a letter to a company that blends into the pile of all the other letters when you can send one that is actually going to be read instead? Here’s how you do it: with a PAIN LETTER.

A pain letter is a letter you write to a hiring manager that shows them how you can literally solve the pain they are experiencing in their departments. Most hiring managers have some issue they are dealing with and as much as a resume and cover letter are the typical route to getting an interview, a “pain” letter may be the most direct route to getting a hiring manager to pay attention to you.

In a pain letter, you focus on what’s happening in a department and how your expertise can help reduce that pain. A recent Forbes article called How to Write Your First Pain Letter covers how to craft your own version of this letter. There’s a multiple-step process that begins with researching the organization: What’s happening in the organization that you are considering working for? Where do you fit in? Are you feeling like a physician yet? Ironically, this process is very much similar to a doctor’s job. Think of it like this:

1) There’s a pain point somewhere in the organization. In fact, there may be many pains in most organizations.
2) You are trying to diagnose where that pain is. How does it play itself out in the company?
3) What prescription will you treat this pain with? What skill set do you possess that you can use as a treatment?

Don’t start your letter until you’ve done your research and can diagnose this pain. When you do start, begin with a hook, or a statement that will immediately grab the attention of the hiring manager. Read more about how to craft your own pain letter over at Forbes.

Image via jfcherry/Flickr.


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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