Broadcast and Sponsor Cover Letter Types

Broadcast letters are a different hybrid job search strategy and can best be summarized as merging your resume and cover letter into one document. The one distinct advantage that broadcast letters offer is that these letters avoid the knee-jerk reactions employers have too many resumes and cover letter packages. These “preprogrammed” actions might include:

  1. forwarding it to the human resources department;
  2. setting it aside to review later; or
  3. depositing it in the “circular file.”

With a broadcast letter, you are delivering a personal piece of correspondence with no visual cues as to its purpose. Therefore, an individual must read (or at least peruse) your letter in order to determine its content. This, then, allows you the opportunity to communicate your message without being immediately “dismissed” as you might have been by using the more traditional approach of a cover letter with a resume.

Broadcast letters are extremely controversial. Some people praise their effectiveness, believing that they generate more interest because they eliminate the visual cues. Others deplore them, believing that they attempt to manipulate the truth, changing the reader’s perception of who you are. This, indeed, might be true. The greatest value of a broadcast letter is its ability to create a “different” picture of who you are.

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Another point of controversy relating to broadcast letters is that they clearly try to circumvent the traditional human resources resume-screening process. After all, a broadcast letter is a personal letter sent directly to a senior executive. If that executive is interested in you, she will pick up the phone and call you, or perhaps route your letter to a lower-level manager who is the hiring authority for your functional area. Although it’s true that one important function of the HR department is to recruit, screen, and recommend candidates, our job-seeking clients have told us time and time again that they have benefited tremendously from conducting a “guerrilla” campaign, working around HR.


Broadcast letters are characterized by the following:

  • Depth and quantity of information, which is greater than a traditional cover letter, as outlined in any of the other categories in this chapter.
  • The number of pages. It is more than acceptable for a broadcast letter to run two or even three pages, as appropriate for a particular situation.

Sponsor Cover Letters

Sponsor letters are a comparatively new phenomenon that has appeared over recent years. They can be best described as letters written by other individuals to their network of contacts on your behalf. These letters are convenient for only a small percentage of job seekers because the sponsor letter has one essential requirement: someone who is willing to be your sponsor.

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For sponsor letters to be potent, you must have the “right” sponsor. It must be an individual who has a strong network of personal contacts, has an admirable reputation, has impeccable credentials, and is willing to “go the extra mile” for you. The impact of the sponsor letter rests almost completely on the credibility of your sponsor. If you select a sponsor who does not have these qualifications, the letters will ultimately be of little or no value to you.

When deciding who you might approach to be your sponsor, consider the following three critical criteria:

  • Your sponsor must be “appropriate.” Your sponsor must be at a high enough career level to have contacts at the level you are seeking– individuals who can get you in the door for an interview and make hiring decisions. Most likely, your sponsor is more senior-level than yourself, with a higher level of management responsibility.
  • Your sponsor must have contacted other than those you already have. Although the level of your sponsor might immediately indicate that she has contacts outside your own personal network, also be sure that your sponsor has contacts in different circles than you do. If you already have a contact at AT&T; you don’t need your sponsor there. Where you need her is in getting you in the door with companies and recruiters with whom you do not have a relationship.
  • Your sponsor must be willing to leverage his network of contacts on your behalf. When you ask someone to be your sponsor, you’re asking a great deal of him. You want him to dedicate time and effort to this project and “stick his neck out” for you. That’s right. When John Smith contacts Jane Doe about you, it’s his reputation and credibility that he risks. If you ask someone to be your sponsor, you’d better be sure that you can live up to his expectations and your promises.
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Sponsor letters are characterized by the following:

  • Authorship. Sponsor letters are written about you in a third person. They are not written by you, the job seeker.
  • Impact. These letters generally have a tremendous impact because of the reputation and credibility of the individual writing the letter.

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