Career Corner: business proposal letter

Written by David E. Behrend

Over 23 years counseling and guiding lawyers nationally through a career or employment change has reminded me of how important your business proposal letter is in securing another position. No it is NOT a ‘cover letter’ which basically is given a 10-15 seconds look, accompanied by your resume.

Over the years I have come to conclusion that this ‘Business Proposal Letter’ is invaluable for any lawyer in pursuit of an employment change or career transition. Assisting lawyers in this concept has resulting in securing opportunities for a number of them. If one initially sends a resume presumably to the hiring source/individual, not HR, it immediately reflects ‘you want a job’ period.

My preference is like an appetizer, the letter stands on its own going to the potential employer who hopefully will now want to see your entree/resume.

We know that hiring really is ‘does this individual lawyer fill a need here at my firm, company, or non-profit.’ The letter needs to reflect your understanding of the employers needs NOT just your own needs! Many lawyers whom I have counseled over the years put together a letter than reflects primarily on their-not the employers needs.

There is one thing that an email or hard cover letter will put off the recipient, and it’s immediately making it about yourself, starting with ”I”. When ever sending a communication for employment opportunities never start a paragraph with the word “I’ because it immediately sends a messages that you are more important than the individual to whom you are corresponding!

This will enable you to think about the issues, which should relate to the company or firm to whom you are addressing this correspondence. After all you have not blindly sent the letter, but have done your research and recognize your potential value to the employer.

After all, as I explain to my lawyer clients, the question is ‘what’s in it for them; do your skills, knowledge and proven capabilities fill a need for the firm?’ After all it really is a ‘win- win’ situation if it is a good fit. Assuming the letter is appealing to the employer at the firm or company, a resume may be requested-but now they will be expecting it, and hopefully set up time to speak with or meet you. Good job or career hunting!

About the author

David E. Behrend

Director of Career Planning Service, I have been a consultant working with attorneys and other professionals for over 25 years. My focus is on career development, concentrating on meaningful or necessary job change or career transitions. I have authored many articles on the subject, and have appeared on numerous radio and television shows. My practice offers both office and telephone career consultations.

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