How to Prepare Your First Pain Letter

Meet the cover letter’s (possibly) more effective replacement.



Nearly everyone has spent significant time crafting a cover letter that includes the perfect balance of personality and professionalism. And nearly everyone has confidently submitted that letter to a job opening and received no response.

The letter may have been ignored because it was sent via a career portal to no one in particular. Unless you’re reaching a hiring manager directly, it can be difficult to stand out in a sea of other online applicants. That’s why the “pain letter” is different.

Contrary to its name, a pain letter is not all that painful to write. The alternative simply identifies specific problems your skillset solves for specific companies you are applying to. Here are some basic tips on what to do and include:

Seek Out Potential Employers

You don’t need to wait for a job opening to send the letter to a company you are interested in. Just find the right business (or businesses) that can benefit from the pain you resolve. If you are a sales coordinator, for instance, seek out startup companies that are quickly benefiting from sales but may not have enough team members to keep growing.

Research Before Writing

You may get away with knowing little about the company you’re applying for with a cover letter, but that cannot be the case with a pain letter. Before you even get ready to type, research everything you can about the company you’re applying to. That’s how you determine what type of pain you can relieve for them.

Name Your Pain(s)

Tell the company in question just how you can help them. For example, instead of saying you’re a sales coordinator, consider saying something along the lines of “I solve the pain that comes when accurate sales records are not kept.” You don’t need to limit your abilities to one, either.

Know the Recipient

The most important thing your pain letter needs is a named recipient. The quickest way to fall on deaf ears is by sending a letter to a generic email addressed to no one specific. Find the name and contact information of the hiring manager or director of the job description you are applying for before sending.  

For more pain letter essentials, click here.