How to Write Your First Pain Letter

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Cover letters can bring you one step closer to closing the deal with an employer. But, career experts say that pain letters are much more efficient. The difference between a cover letter and a pain letter is that the latter shows you have identified a problem an employer is facing and suggest ways to resolve it. Whereas a cover letter expresses your interest in a job, a pain letter goes beyond that explaining what you can do for the company which is what employers really want to know.  

Pain letters can do a lot more than cover letters, and they get more callbacks from employers. In fact, sending a pain letter is the best way to contact employers directly as they are more likely to listen to you.

See Also: How to Write a Cover Letter

If you think that your cover letter isn’t getting you enough interviews, here is how to write a pain letter instead.

1. Conduct Your Research

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A pain letter requires that you go into more depth explaining why you are a perfect fit for the job and is not as generic as a cover letter. The only way to ensure you will write an effective pain letter is to conduct thorough research on the employer to find who they are and what they are working on. This is a crucial step considering that you need to find out what problems they are currently facing and what you can do about it.

2. Find the Problem

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After you’ve finished going through the company’s page and learnt more about what they do, it’s time to get down to the real problem. Address the ‘pain’ of the employer and come up with ways to show how you can make things easier for them. For example, does the employer have problems attracting more customers? How can you help them gain access to a wider audience and increase their profits? At this point, you shouldn’t focus on yourself or your skills rather what you can do for the company.

3. Think of Your 'Pain' Hypothesis

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It can be incredibly risky to start talking about a problem the employer is facing, especially when there is no real issue – or it isn’t their biggest priority. This is why it’s important to focus on a problem that you know troubles them a lot. The best option is to pick one of the main concerns of the employer and expand on that. Here is a sample:

“I imagine that bringing in new customers and building loyalty is a challenging and time-consuming process. With such competition, it becomes difficult for a company to stand out. But, there are ways to improve the situation.”

After you have made your introduction, start talking about the problem and refer the possible solutions that you have come up with. When doing so try not to tell employers what they should do. They might not appreciate that. Instead, mention a possible pain point and explain how you can be of help.

4. Come Up With a Story

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To be more convincing try to tell a story. Think about past achievements and mention one or two that are relevant to the solution you are suggesting. This is to show that you have the appropriate knowledge and experience to help them. Your story is likely to have a greater impact if you quantify the results so don’t be afraid to use numbers when appropriate.

5. Close the Letter

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Just like in a cover letter, the closing paragraph of the pain letter should clearly state your intentions and next steps. After explaining the solution you came up with to the employer, say that you would like to meet with them to talk about it further. For example, you could say: “If this is something that you are willing to try out, I would be happy to discuss it with you.”

Since this is not a cover letter, there is no need to attach your resume in the email, in fact, it is better if you don’t. It gives employers the time to think about what you have said, hear you out and invite you in for a chat. Once you have arranged a meeting, you can take a copy of your resume with you. Employers might expect you to.

A pain letter gives you the chance to tell employers how you can be of use. Instead of focusing on you, it talks about the employer and their ‘pain’ which is what they really care about and as such they are more likely to pay attention.

Have you ever written a pain letter? What did you include in it? Let me know in the comments section below…