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You gotta have a hook full of pain

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You hear it all the time from your English teachers; "Hook your reader in the first paragraph or you'll lose them."

Now, English teachers everywhere are sitting smug, their red pens resting easy because hiring managers have figured out the "hook." Liz Ryan at Forbes is recommending that applicants ditch the cover letter to write the "pain" letter, and it begins with . . .

A hook (duh!). Ryan recommends a fresh news item about the company that acknowledges something great they do - who doesn't like that? Then, and here's the tricky part, you present a "Pain Hypothesis." A what?

An example works best:
"I can imagine that hiring as many people as you are, keeping tabs on payroll issues might be a constant challenge. With regulations constantly changing, it’s not easy to keep everyone paid correctly and well-informed in a growing company." That's a Pain Hypothesis. You are saying “You have a guinea pig, eh? Have you run in…