Re-establishing a connection
July 24, 2012 8:57 PM   Subscribe

How do you address a cover letter to someone you'd had an informational interview with (and try to re-establish a connection)?

2-odd months ago, had a series of informational interviews to help with my career change. Conducted informational interviews with people actually doing job X, or - in this case - the HR person at a place that hires people doing job X. This HR person was the first person I did an informational interview with, so although I tried to prepare I was admittedly much more polished with subsequent interviews. (It didn't go badly; she was incredibly nice in fact, but some questions could've been left for better Google-fu.) Thank you email was sent, etc.

HR person had said they'd hired their temps already when I last spoke to her. It's about the time when I'd drop her a line and say "Hi, just wanted to update you on my hunt progress - after talks with you and others, I've decided I seriously want to pursue this path, and would appreciate it if you can tell me if there's any opportunities that you know of" when I saw, while trying to word the above email, on a job board that they're hiring.

Great - but how do I word the cover letter? "Dear X, I would like to thank you again for all your help with my prior informational interview. I saw a job posting for your workplace at [site] and believe myself to be an excellent candidate. Here are my qualification highlights:" etc etc? It sounds really opportunist (thank-you being overwhelmed with the request to give me a job), not to mention it doesn't seem to mesh with my mental image of super-formality a cover letter usually entails.

How would I word this, particularly as I'd like to improve on my last impression?

Job X is entry-level; difficulty in entering the market lies in the drastic career change. I would be fine with the types of tasks, although technical jargon needs to be learned. Job X would be to familiarize myself with the field so I can pursue schooling for Jobs Y and Z in the future, where Y and Z are up the ladder from X.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
We communicate to break down barriers and express ourselves clearly - covering letters do not have be formal at all (that's for contracts). They should not be formal.

Instead, say something like

Dear [first name],

You may recall meeting me a few months ago - you were kind enough to sit down with me for an "information interview". The advice and insights you gave me really helped me in subsequent interview, so thank you very much!

I noticed that there is a job posting at XYZ where I would be a good fit. Do you have any advice about how to apply? It's the 123 job, and I would really make a strong contribution because....

Well, I kind of petered out towards the end there, but you get the idea (I hope) about a suitable tone for the letter.

Fundamentally, when interviewing for a job, people are trying to figure out what it would be like to work with you. Are you professional, yet friendly? Are you warm without being a total flake? Can you get to the damn point and state what's on your mind?

A formal cover letter doesn't indicate any of these positive qualities.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:24 PM on July 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Agree with KokuRyu, send a quick, informal email. Also, apply on the Job Board. Typically in a larger corporation they can't do anything for you until you're in the system.

In your letter you can say, "I applied via your careers site for the position, and I was hoping you could assist me with further insight into how to proceed."

One thing I'm on the fence about is at the place in the application where it says, Referred By, if you put the name of the person you met with, they may get a referral reward. (We get $500 where we work). That would be a nice bump, but I don't know how cool it would be to name someone in HR.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:31 AM on July 25, 2012

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