Monday, March 2, 2015

You gotta have a hook full of pain

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 into that guinea pig rash that is all over town? A lot of people have!”

Don’t teach in your Pain Letter. Don’t tell the hiring manager what they should do. They know their job. Mention a possible pain point and stop.

Then move onto the "Dragon Slaying Story." Tell your hiring manger how you cured the guinea pig rash at a company where you worked.

Then wrap it up - do not go on for pages and pages - this letter should be as short as possible - we're all busy. Hook the hiring manager, complement them, slay their dragons and ride off into the sunset. It's as simple as that.

Where do you want to work? What kind of hook could you imagine that company may have? What dragons have you slain?


  1. Due to the information from this article, I learned many ideas on creating a good article for the readers, an interesting resume for the employers, and a well-written pitch for the producers. In addition, I also planned to write a good essay introduction for the finals.
    by Maung Thaw Htet (English 3850-01)

  2. After reading this post, I learned that you’re supposed to grab the reader’s, in this case the hiring manager, attention right away in order to be considered for the job. I thought you were supposed to write some pages that show off your skills, but you’re actually supposed to keep it brief. When I wrote to a job, I wrote about a page and a half. Not too much, but not too little. I wanted to pull their attention and show them why I’m the best candidate. In the future, I want to work at Kaiser as a nurse. I know for sure they get a lot of candidates in their selection pool, so it would be very competitive. For their hook, I think it would have to talk about the shortage in the staff and how they need great nurses that can keep up with the fast pace job. Since I am currently working on becoming a nurse, I haven’t “slayed” any “dragons” yet, but I would go into detail of a situation I might encounter in the future of how there was a problem and I fixed the situation before it went left, which means an even worse situation.

  3. At first it seemed complicated when mentioning a resume, but after reading this information given then a resume should not be as complicated. Getting to the point and having a strong hook to start with will lead any individual closer to obtaining the position in the job. Get the attention and make everything stand out so that the hiring manager can figure out what kinds of workers they are looking for. All it takes is a short summary of whom you are, different enough so it won't be repetitive like into what others would say about themselves. Make the reader want to keep reading without having to read too much and know a lot without too much information. Life experiences should be included to adjust and have an idea on what to expect if getting hired. Stay positive and end the resume strong to make the reader remember you. The stronger the hook the better. This information gave me an idea on were to start off when applying for a job and making sure my resume is strong enough and what hiring managers are looking for!