Job Specific Cover Letters, part 3: Applying for a Promotion

Read Part 1 - Overview, Part 2 - Entry Level Jobs and Part 4 - Professional Cover Letters

When you've been in the workforce for a while, and have built a strong CV, the degree of difficulty naturally goes up as you apply for higher positions. The situation has now changed considerably. As you progress, you have to apply for jobs where your experience makes you a credible applicant.

This is where your cover letter really has to be effective. The logic is different in these cases. You have to prove you can do a job above your nominal level. Applicants really do have to make a case for themselves, and that's where the cover letter really comes into its own as an asset in applying.

Foundations of your application

When going for a higher job, you must provide proof in the form of factual information as your foundation for applying for the job. Your CV, which is mainly your work record, can only do so much to demonstrate your abilities. You have to add your unique claims to the position in your cover letter.

For example:

An experienced accountant is going for a middle level job in his company, two levels up from base grade. So are all the other accountants at that level, so the applicant has to be competitive.

I've had extensive experience in all aspects of our Accounts Branch's work, including holding three relief positions in this position. I received very positive feedback from management and clients in this role, and that has encouraged me to apply for this job.

This reminds management that the applicant did well when working in that position. The applicant has a real claim to the job.

Supporting the claim to the job

The next phase is a true quality issue, establishing additional credentials over other applicants. All job applications are competitive, none more so than when competing for a promotion.

Our applicant now makes a further statement regarding their qualifications and experience:

During the firm's Internal Audit Program, I acted as a supervisor in Systems Testing and Analysis. This experience drew heavily on my knowledge of the Accounts Branch systems, procedures, and management guidelines. I was able to supervise our staff with confidence in many aspects of the current position's roles.

Our applicant was supervising other staff in relation to the key aspects of the position. That's quite enough to convince management to give this person an interview. It also makes this applicant very competitive.

Covering with logic

The basis of any claim to a higher position must make a clear case in favor of the applicant.

Our applicant has this base covered:

In my five years with the company, I've gained valuable skills and experience in all functions of the Accounts Branch. This work has given me additional professional qualifications, and many opportunities to improve my career prospects. I hope I will be considered for this position on the basis of my work for the company.

The applicant will be considered on that basis, because it's all good job related information. Anyone could read that cover letter and be quite sure this applicant has a real chance at getting the job.