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About Cover Letters

11 The Accomplishment Oriented Letter

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The word resume means "summary," and resumes began as biographical sketches. They listed hobbies and interests, and things like your height, weight, and ages of your children.

Today, resumes are more sales- and marketing-oriented. They have become sales tools. Some are so accomplishment-oriented ("at my last job, I worked a miracle") that they bear almost no resemblance to the modest resumes of the past. If you have an accomplishment-oriented resume, it's easy to cut and paste a marketing letter. The two-step formula for this letter is: 1) I hit triples and home runs at my last job, so 2) I can hit triples and home runs for you. Below is the text of an excellent accomplishment-oriented letter.

4421 Oak View Road | Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57103
C: 919-555-1212 | F: 919-555-1213 | mbordeaux@example.com

May 24, 20—

William S. Frank
10475 Park Meadows Drive, Ste. 600
Lone Tree, CO 80124-5437

Dear Mr. Frank:

For some time my wife and I have been discussing a move from the South Dakota prairie to Colorado, and my research shows CareerLab to be active there. In eleven years with Northern Bank, I have developed skills in managing people, budgets, products, and services. These skills work well in any organization or profession.

Here are some of my accomplishments:

  • As Director of Consumer Loans, I successfully managed 20 loan officers in 8 locations. In four years we tripled our outstandings ($15,000,000 to $45,000,000) and profits, while keeping our delinquencies at the same low of 1.0%-1.3%.
  • As Retail Manager of our largest branch, my staff was motivated to increase deposits 30% ($73,000,000 to $90,000,000) over the last three years. I accomplished this with measurements, rewards, and enthusiastic training sessions.
  • In the last three years I reduced my branch staff from 30 to 23 (23%) by implementing automation and reorganization. This saved us $70,000 annually.
  • I developed our large line revolving credit product and also developed new fee income which is now 20% of total fee income.
Since my training has been in the banking profession, that is where I will concentrate my search. However, I think you will agree that the skills I have developed are adaptable to other situations. I will be home for two weeks beginning May 24th. I would like to visit with you and look forward to hearing from you some time then.


With best wishes,

Maurice M. Bordeaux

Maurice crafted a thoughtful, persuasive letter. I could tell by reading it that he got some phone calls. Well-written letters always do.

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.