Anne Holland

Copywriting Tip — Swipe Exact Wording from Prospects' Notes

July 22nd, 2004

We’re hiring (yes, again), so I’ve been plowing through stacks of resumes emailed in response to ads I’ve placed.

The quickest way to sort the pile is by glancing at cover letters to see if they refer to specific skill sets from the ad.

I’m dismayed by how many applicants spotlight their favorite talent in their cover letter (“I’m great with people” “I love writing”) even though it’s not a skill our ad mentioned.

So there they are singing and dancing about how wonderful they are at something, but it’s not the thing my ad very specifically said we were looking for. The tiny percent who took the time to craft a letter that said, “I’m great at X, Y, Z that you say you want” are the ones who we call for interviews.

My top runners all used the exact wording we put in the ad itself to describe the job. So if I said, ‘You must be good at spread sheeting’, they don’t reply “I’m good at Excel.” They use the exact term “spread sheeting.”

Copying exact terminology not only can help you land a job, it also applies to: – search engine marketing (and how!) – ad headline writing – reply notes to RFPs and enquiries from business prospects

In fact, if you’re in b-to-b, you could try training your sales reps to cut and paste key words directly from prospect’s inbound requests when reps reply.

The nice thing is, it’s such easy copywriting. No brain required. (So why doesn’t everyone do it?)

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