Ask a career expert what to talk about in a cover letter and they will inevitably tell you to make it about the company — not about you.
It doesn’t really matter that you desperately need a job; it doesn’t matter that this particular gig would look great on your résumé. What are you offering the organisation that they don’t already have?
Even once you’ve landed the job, that mantra — make it about them — can come in handy. Specifically, when you’re gearing up for a promotion, it’s critical to think from your manager’s perspective.
That’s according to Robin Dreeke, a Naval Academy graduate, a former Marine, the former head of a federal behavioural analysis program, and a current FBI agent. Dreeke also recently co-authored “The Code of Trust” with Cameron Stauth.
“I never think in terms of convincing anyone of anything — I think in terms of inspiring them,” Dreeke told us when he visited the Business Insider office in August. “If you want to move into a position of leadership, or you want to move up in the company, the first thing to ask yourself is, ‘How can I inspire them to want me?‘”
Dreeke went on: “You’ve got to understand what’s important to them. How do they see prosperity? What can you do to make their job easier?”
Dreeke’s insights recall Likeable Local CEO Dave Kerpen’s observations about “managing up.” As Kerpen previously told Business Insider, you want to make your boss look good to their boss, and in turn, your boss will feel better about you.
Maybe that means you turn in your project report early, so your boss can submit it on time to her supervisor. Or, maybe you come extra-prepared to a meeting with the CEO, so he can see how well your manager has trained you. All this, of course, in addition to doing stellar work.
The idea here is that simply being a high performer — and communicating that to your boss — isn’t enough.
“Demonstrate your skill,” Dreeke said, “but don’t do it for self-serving reasons. Do it so you can demonstrate how these skills and attributes that you have are going to be … a resource for your bosses to be successful and for the company to be successful.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.