If you want to know why a pain letter is called a pain letter, consider the following question: When a hiring manager is experiencing a pain in their business, what do they do? They hire someone to help out.

A pain letter is an updated version of the cover letter, but is a lot more specific.

Pain letters are made up of four different segments:

The Hook

Get personal if you can. Pain letters are directed to one specific person and if you know about any of their accomplishments or views now would be a good time to mention them. However, if those came from Facebook creeping, maybe hold off. Hiring managers in the public eye make this easy if they’ve published blogs are done local talks. The hook should be a couple sentences that say to your target “I agree with your beliefs, and we could be friends” though not in such specific terms.

The Hypothesis

It’s time to get empathetic. What is the job you’re applying for? If you’re applying to be a HR representative, you can express sympathy at how difficult it must be having to manage the hiring process on top of their other tasks. Don’t start selling yourself yet, simply mention you’re aware of a potential problem, and understand.

The Dragon-Slaying Story

Here’s where you can get selling. In one or two sentences, tell them how you solved a problem similar to the one they’re having. For example “When I was HR Director at the Wolfram and Hart firm, I dealt with a benefits system while providing 100 staff members with support in a difficult industry”. Don’t use the adjectives you may try to throw in to a cover letter, state what you did without the ego.

The Closer

Finally, close up your pain letter with a short ending. “If you need extra help in HR I’m available to talk whenever you are”. Flowery words are unnecessary to close up this letter.

The beauty of a pain letter is how short and to the point it is. Business owners are constantly bombarded with job applications, and by being that one candidate that speaks quickly, to the point, and addresses their unique issue you’ll gain more interest than the candidate who just wants to write a novel about their accomplishments.

In 2017 everything is being streamlined, and the job application and hiring process has not been left behind. Prospective employees who push themselves forward and show companies that they can solve a problem are going to land the interview, and then the job.

Sending out a couple hundred resumes with no cover letter or follow up just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

So be proactive, and start channeling that job hunting pain into something useful—your next pain letter!