Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When and How to Use Application Cover Letters

One important type of cover letter is an application cover letter.  Application cover letters are used by job seekers when applying for a specific job.  These letters should be written after a job and it's requirements are identified so it can be written to the specific job.  When writing application cover letters, keep these tips in mind:
  • Highlight your most important or relevant skills or accomplishments to the specific position in which you are applying.  This is your chance to show an employer that you have met all of the basic requirements (and maybe even some of the desired or preferred requirements).  Allow those skills may already be present in your resume, if a hiring manager or recruiter does read your cover letter, your skills really stand out.  Hiring managers or recruiters will not have to dig through your resume.  Instead, you have an excellent chance to impress them!
  • Organize your cover letter so it is easy to read.  Bullet points are a great way to make your cover letter easier to read.  Each bullet should be short, but descriptive and to the point.  Bullet points are an easy way to break up your letter so each chunk is shorter to read.  Recruiters and hiring managers will appreciate this.
  • Proofread and revise your cover letter.  Let's be honest, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, especially grammatical mistakes and type-o's.  Unfortunately, one simple mistake on your cover letter may not be forgiven.  Cover letters best represent you as a worker and mistakes do not represent you well.
  • Utilize a template.  Application cover letters can generally follow the same format.  If you create one that works or that is written exceptionally well, reuse it!  Most job seekers apply for many jobs.  Save time be using a template.
Now that you have some advice on how to write cover letters, let's talk about when to use them.  The general rule is to include a cover letter for all applications.  However, there are some exceptions.
  • Do include a cover letter if the online or paper application requests one.
  • Do include a cover letter if the application does not specify.  If you do not, you may be passed up!
  • Don't include a cover letter when going on interviews or career fairs.  Make a positive impression and get your points across in person.
  • Don't include a cover letter if the application says not to include one.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

4 Steps to Enhance your Resume

Photo By: Olivier Charavel
     When recruiters glance over resumes for open positions, they generally only spend several seconds on each resume.  During those few seconds, they have already developed judgements from your resume.  Unfortunately, the most qualified individuals will be looked over if their resumes are lacking.  In order to make sure your resume is not looked over by recruiters, follow these simple steps.  
  • Proofread, proofread, and proofread your resume again!  Proofreading cannot be stressed enough.  Misspelled words, an inconsistent tone, and other grammatical errors will only get your resume thrown into the "no" pile.  Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for the most impressive and best resumes.  Do not let a few simple grammatical mistakes detract from your awesome credentials. 
  • Make your resume professional and easy to read.  Some creativity can set you apart, but keep it professional.  A professional, readable font like Times New Roman works best.  An interview gives you an opportunity for your creativity to shine.  Using bullets can also make your resume easier to read.  If you are the best candidate for the job and have a lot to offer, get your foot in the door by proving it with a professional resume.      
  • Condense your resume.  Although you may have many impressive skills, try for a one or two page resume.  To condense your resume, highlight the most important skills and achievements.  Only go ten years back unless you had some major accomplishment or other impressive skills not already listed.  Do not be redundant.  Do not include references on your resume, those can be obtained later.  Another simple trick:  manage your margins!  Smaller margins leave more room for type on the paper.  Once you achieve that interview, you can expand on your skills and accomplishments and further impress the interviewer.  
  • Use strong and powerful verbs on your resume.  When describing previous positions and responsibilities, impress recruiters and hiring managers with powerful and descriptive verbs.  Would you hire someone using words like "did" or "made" or someone using words like "constructed", "created", or "generated"?  Using descriptive action verbs may set you over the top for a position.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

4 Steps to Getting Recruiters to Notice You!

With so many unemployed, qualified individuals in the nation, job searches can become overwhelming and discouraging.  Unfortunately, a college degree no longer guarantees anyone a career.  It may take hard work, dedication, and determination for many to find a job.  Spending time searching and applying for jobs can be very beneficial, but job searchers can do more!  Getting recruiters to notice you when searching for a job is a great way to open you up to even more opportunities.  Follow these four steps to help recruiters notice you:

  • Put your resume online every place that it is relevant.  For instance, Indeed or Careerbuilder are excellent sites to showcase your resume in a general way.  Many recruiters are using these types of sites to find resumes.  The more your resume is out there, the more likely a recruiter will see it.
  • Make your resume short, while highlighting your most important and impressive skills.  Recruiters may not have the time to peruse through a ten page resume where the skills are hidden within each work experience.  Many job seekers have several impressive skills and much experience.  However, recruiters need to look at resumes where those skills are easily visible to them.  Those resumes will stand out.
  • Be responsive to a recruiter if you do hear from one even if you do not think you will be interested in that specific opening.  A responsive candidate will encourage recruiters to keep them in mind for future opportunities.
  • Photo By: fredcavazza
  • Use LinkedIn and other social media sites.  Recruiters are putting open jobs on these sites.  Then, you can reach out to them if you see something that interests you.  Also, a lot of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for resumes.  Use it to your advantage!
These four simple steps allow your resume to be easily accessed by recruiters and easily read by recruiters.  Furthermore, maintaining a relationship with recruiters may lead to future opportunities.