Master the Power of a Handwritten Note: Part 2

Posted: August 12, 2011 in Networking
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In Master the Power of a Handwritten Note: Part 1, I talked mainly about the importance of writing personal thank you notes to people in the industry who have helped you in some way. This is definitely a great way for you to make a lasting impression and start a genuine relationship. Make sure you extend this habit to all areas of your life, whether personal or professional.

In the context of breaking into sports, the other type of handwritten note you can write is one that is directed towards someone in a position of power at a sports organization. This person can be an idol of yours whose job you hope to have one day or simply the head of an organization you really want to work for.

So far, I have tried out this tactic once to no avail. After reading super-agent David Falk’s book The Bald Truth, I decided to compose a handwritten letter. It made perfect sense for me to reach out to him. He grew up on Long Island. He is arguably the best basketball agent of all-time. I believed in a lot of the principles he outlined in the book about his personal code of ethics. He represented some of the best Georgetown basketball players including Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning as well as basketball god Michael Jordan. His firm is located in Washington D.C., not far from Georgetown.

With all these things in mind, I wrote him a letter, hoping I would hear back from him like I did with DeMaurice Smith. The letter was very genuine, and I did not ask him for a job. I simply wanted to take him out to lunch and learn more about his career. Although I never heard back from David, I still plan on crossing paths with him in the future.

That being said, writing a handwritten note  to a senior level executive of a sports company is another way for you to stand out from the competition. Blindly sending an email or resume is not the way to go. You will get lost in the clutter. The most important thing you can to when writing these letters is to personalize them as much as possible. Do your homework on the person to whom you are writing. Find out as much as you can about their background and draw comparisons to your own. Show them how you can add value to their company. What separates you from everyone else who is dying to work there? Make them want to get back to you.

Just like in sales, you have to play the numbers game when sending these letters. If you want to work for an NFL team, write all the GMs or owners. Do NOT send them a cookie cutter letter. Take a genuine interest in their career paths based on your research. All you really need is that one response that can change your life. I would recommend writing out a short list of people whose careers match your interests and reaching out to them through the power of a handwritten note.

  1. I use folding cards that have a nice picture on the front and blank inside. I hand address the envelope and write a short, personalized note inside (usually introducing myself and wondering if I might be a good resource for them). I usually enclose a business card (so my website, email and phone number are legible and my USP is on the reverse).

    I’d like you and your readers’ opinion. Does enclosing a business card take away from the personalization of a handwritten note?

  2. mjr89 says:

    If you are sending a note to someone you would like to connect with and have never met them, I think including a business card is perfectly fine. However, you might want to make the note a bit longer to showcase how much you know about their background and how it is applicable to your life, i.e. whether you share similarities, how that person inspired you, etc. Even if the note is short and personalized, the person may think that anyone could have written what you wrote (or maybe not). If you take your knowledge about them one step further, I believe he or she will be more impressed and inclined to respond. It may not even be a bad idea to write a note that goes onto the back of a piece of paper. That way the business card is not distracting them from the heart of your message.

    Another alternative might just be to include your email address and/or USP beneath your signature. That way you avoid the distraction of the business card altogether.

    All in all, I think it will depend on the personality of the individual you are writing to. Win them over with the power of words!

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