Figuring out the right tone has to begin with our cover letters. Sometimes what the appropriate tone is will be obvious from the help-wanted ad.
For example, there is a need for a social media expert at a well-funded startup. Usually, our response would call for an energetic, results-oriented, conversational tone. It delivers the signal that we are the kind of professional who will leap in, sense what's needed and do it.
If the help wanted has been placed by a large brandname law firm, then we will likely adopt a statesmanlike tone. We will present ourselves in a measured, detailed manner.
Those are the easy situations to read. Then there are the others in which we have to be master sleuths.
If the ad is a long one with myriad bullet points about the duties and what skills and experience are required to carry out those duties, we will probably adopt the typical corporate tone. The ad indicates the organization is oriented toward process. It might be an insurance company or for a compliance position in a consumer products corporation.
On the other hand, another ad for help would present the requirements in two paragraphs. The organization is not a startup. There we have to read between the lines. It's not clear what kind of professional would be the ideal hire. Therefore, we might adopt a mashup tone of both high energy and the careful plodding of someone who understands the importance of aligning with the organizational culture.
What's a sign you are not picking up on the essence of the employer or prospect for your business? No response. That could mean you should be experimenting in your cover letters with tone.
Please contact Jane Genova (http://janegenova.com) for a complimentary consultation on your marketing communications for search for work (firstname.lastname@example.org).