3 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door When a Traditional Application Won't Do

Erica Breuer

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

As an animal lover, I have mixed feelings about that expression. It’s gruesome, but that doesn’t make it any less applicable in daily life. There are always multiple paths to reaching a goal and crafting job-hunt related messages is no exception.

Sometimes, a traditional application simply isn’t the best way to open doors. As much as a good cover letter can help you at some companies, it can detract points at others. For example, it’s increasingly common to see a job description that includes “no traditional cover letters” in the application instructions. Or, to follow a company that’s clearly growing, but that doesn't have many openings on its site. Or, if you’re a consultant or freelancer, you need to sell yourself differently than the average 9-to-5er does.

So, if you’re trying to get someone’s attention at an awesome company and have a feeling the traditional route isn’t the right one to take, you’ll probably find (at least one) of these alternatives useful:

The “Wham-Bam” Message

By “wham-bam,” I mean a cover letter that’s short and to the point. Instead of selling yourself with three to four paragraphs, you do it with a matter of sentences. The idea is to get in, show the company that you understand its needs and have the experience it’s looking for, and get out. Try something like this:

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