Cover Letter Superstar

May 7, 2010

 

THIS is a cover letter: http://www.adventuringcompany.com/pa/

Creative job seekers- take note!  Don’t copy, of course, but this gives you an idea of how to seriously differentiate yourself.

That’s all.  Just look and learn.

 

 

 

 

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Your Uniqueness

April 26, 2010

I recently saw a post on twitter that referred back to an article on the AMA site about Peter Drucker’s teachings on personal growth.  It is an older article, but it’s relevance is timeless.  What stood out specifically was his statement about figure out your own uniqueness and applying it to both your personal and professional life.

Consider what’s unique about what you do, and in what areas you excel and contribute the most, both at work and outside of work. Focus on those strengths—your own core competencies—and find new ways to value and cultivate them. Odds are you can apply them to a variety of jobs, volunteer positions, and more.

Think about your life, both as it is now and where you’d like to be. Consider not just your work, but also your family, friends, interests, activities, and pursuits. Assess what’s working, what’s not, and what you might want to add or subtract to create more satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is one of the core ideas in Forget The Parachute, Let Me Fly The Plane.  There is something you were meant to do, something at which you excel.  There is a career out there that will fulfill you.  You just have to figure out what it is.

Many people spend their lives wishing they were doing something that mattered, something that made them happy, something that made a difference, or any other number of somethings.  Don’t spend your life wishing you were doing something else.  Figure out what that something is, and start towards it today.  There is no time like the present.

If you aren’t sure what career applies to your unique skills and characteristics, check out our e-book.  The information and exercises are designed to set you on a path to career fulfillment.

 

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Catch your Dream Date- Tonight!

April 20, 2010

 

Got your attention, did I?

Does your resume grab attention like this?  Will one quick glance at your name, cover letter and/or resume make the reader think, “I HAVE to call this person NOW”?

For the majority of you, I’ll be that’s not the case.  But it needs to be.

You are competing in a huge sea of other people. Assuming there is no one profusely vouching for you at any specific company, something about you needs to “WOW” whoever first sees your resume.

Here is an example of an extreme “wow”.  Below is a highlight, check out the post for more.

“… I co-owned and participate in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successfull pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of 100 million annualy...”; “I am well-traveled and I speak English, French and Spanish“; “References available from friends, family, US District Attorney, etc“.

While I don’t recommend highlighting your history of criminal activity, this is a very clever way of saying “look at me, I’m unique!”.  It does show how you can attempt to turn a negative into a positive.

What can you do that makes you shine through the sea of people?

(hint, promising dates is not a good idea)

I really can’t help you with dating right now- other than to suggest finding a job and recruiting are a lot like dating.

However, I CAN show you how to add in the “WOW” factor to your resume.  For those of you who have the perfect job, are ready to apply, but worry you’ll be stuck at the bottom of the pile, check our our Resume Overhaul services.  We’ll work with you to get you to the top of the pile!

 

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Highlights

April 15, 2010

Yesterday I attended the NAB Career Day through an invite from PinkSlipMixers.  The set up was much like speed dating. A line of job seekers waited (patiently) for 5-15 minute sessions with Career Coaches and Advisors.

Most of the people I spoke with were seeking advice on their resumes and one theme was common across the board.

- Highlight your achievements -

So many resumes follow the “list your duties” format for current and past positions.  While it’s fine to list what you did in general, your achievements are what will stand out more than anything.  You want to show a prospective employer that your work contributed to the success of your past employer in some way.  Perhaps you efforts brought in more customers, or you were able to reduce expenses, or you developed a new product that helped the company.  Your potential highlights are limitless, but vital to proving you are a valuable team member.  It’s even better when what you achieved relates to the needs of the job you want.

Go through your resume and make sure you add in highlights- it could be the thing that gets you in the door.

 

(if you want more resume tips, check out our 10 Secrets of Successful Resumes)

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Resume Madness

April 14, 2010

Resumes seem to be on people’s minds a lot lately. It keeps coming up in conversations, not only from clients, but friends and family too.

One of the most common questions is “Is my resume really that important?”. My answer, it depends on the company and how you “got in” with the company, but in general, a strong yes. Regardless of if you are submitting your resume blindly or through a contact, it is a representation of you, your skills and background.

As an example- while Sarah, the Director of Sales, recommended you for the opening in Operations, it’s Sam, the head of Ops, and Pat, HR, who will actually see your resume. They like what Sarah had to say about you, but if you send them a resume that lacks relevant information, has typos, etc., it could hurt your chances of progressing.  You want to come across as professional and capable as possible. Every piece of communication should relay why you are the person they need- from your phone calls, to your emails, to your resume, and on through the interview process.

There are a few things to pay attention to when writing your resume, and we’ve put together a list of the top 10 to help you get through the madness of creating/editing your resume.

It’s free, so go ahead and check it out!

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Any Job

April 9, 2010

A few months ago I met someone who asked me about my career.  I talked about the Connected Career and described our goal- to help people figure out their dream career and how to get it.

I had barely finished my sentence when he asked me to help him get a job.

Here is how the conversation unfolded:

_________

Stranger: So, can you help me get a job?

Me: I can help you figure out how to get the job you really want. What do you want to do?

Stranger: Anything

Me: I’m sorry, that’s too broad.  What do you enjoy?  What have you enjoyed in the past or even something you’ve always wanted to try?

Stranger: Too many questions, I just want a job.

Me: How about you at least tell me your skillsets.

Stranger: I don’t know.  Nothing comes to mind.

Me: If you don’t know what you want to do, what interests you or what your skillsets are, how do you plan on finding a job?

Stranger: Isn’t that what you do?

_____

While this conversation was an extreme version of what we often hear, it is relatively common to hear of people wanting a change, wanting something different, but not knowing what that something looks like.  And for that reason, we wrote “Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly The Plane”.

Figuring out what you really, really, really want to do, are meant to do, doesn’t always come easy.  Having a guide to help you through the process can take you out of what you know and push you.   A little bit or a lot.

 

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Texting your Job Application

July 8, 2009

Do you think you could sum up your skills, successes and qualifications in 160 characters or less?

A company in Wales is asking applicants for just that.

Check it out here if it piques your interest: U want a job? Txt us, sez mobile phone co

I actually find the idea fascinating- a super short elevator pitch. What I love about the idea is that the applicants can’t use filler words or marketing jargon. You have to be succinct and stand out immediately.

In my life as a recruiter, too often cover letters are full of rambling sentences and overused terms that make my eyes glaze over. I always look for the key words or phrases that tell me why I should keep reading. With a submission this short, I can see the “why” in a fraction of the time.

I love the idea and am thinking of suggestion submissions via Twitter now. Let’s take it down to 140 characters!

Could you do it?

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Excellent Attention to etail

June 30, 2009

“Excellent Attention to etail”

What?

That is what I thought when I read this line in the “Top Skills” section of a resume. Then I laughed at the irony of the only typo on the document.

Do I believe this candidate has excellent attention to detail? No. Will I contact this candidate? Probably not (only if other skills seriously outweigh the oversight).

There are 2 reasons for this. One, the simple fact the word was a typo tells me this person does NOT have excellent attention to detail, and I have the proof in black and white. There could not have been a worse place in the resume the candidate could have neglected. Second, the resume was sent as a Word doc. “etail” came up as a typo when I opened it, and had the sender spent a few seconds doing spell-check (or paying attention to the red underlines), it would have been corrected.

Going back to whether or not I would contact this candidate based on the typo, my concern would be that other highlighted skills are as real as the attention to detail claim.

If you are sending out your resume to prospective employers, always, always, always run spell-check. If you are making claims of excellent, be sure that the content in your resume supports those claims.

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Resume & Cover Letter- Important?

April 29, 2009

While networking and referrals are the best way to get a job, resumes and cover letters are still an important part of the process. Too often, applicants put little effort into creating anything of value.  So, candidates, here is a quick overview of what you need to know.

Think about it this way- we all have heard how important first impressions are when meeting someone. Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager or HR person has of you. What does it say about you? What on your resume draws the reader in, making him/her want to read further- or better yet, contact you?

Think about this next time you revise your resume. 

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Gear the resume towards the job description and company. Highlight experiences and successes that directly relate. Yes, it takes more time, but if you want the job, put in the effort!
  • If you only have 1-2 jobs, add in relevant hobbies, memberships, anything that enhances your value.
  • Spell check.
  • You don’t have to include every single job, but make sure to include relevant ones.

And when you’re done with that…there’s a bit more.

There is another part to the resume submission process that is vital and that is your cover letter. It could be a separate Word document, or it could be an email. Whichever way you go, just make sure to include it.

A cover letter gives you another chance to WOW your reader- to show why he/she should call you immediately! Instead of listing your successes, tie them into the position. If you achieved high sales numbers at another company, explain how your process/skills will help you reach the same success at the new company. If your super skills in marketing lead to a 1000% increase in sales leads, let the reader know how what you did once, you can do again- for them. Personalize it to the company.

Some passion is better than no passion.   Find something about the position that excites you and use it in your cover letter. If you have a passion for the product, let it shine through. If you absolutely love project management (and it relates to the position) tell the reader why.

So, put some thought and real effort into your resume and cover letter, throw in a liberal helping of passion, and see where it can take you!

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Tips for Keeping Your Job

January 12, 2009

A few days ago, there was a link on the front page of cnn.com titled Keep your job: A 10-point survival guide.   It was on the front page of the top headlines- highlighting the importance of the issue (and fear).  Fear about job security is everywhere, in all types and sizes of companies, throughout all levels of employees.

A few of the points stand out prominently.  They echo the advice we give our clients and are worth expanding on.

Keep your network active.
Your network includes people you have worked with in the past, met at conferences or meetings, friends, etc.  You never know who may know of an open position that is prefect for you.  At the same time, you will find that you can help those in similar situations.  Stay in contact!

Make sure your work serves the larger goals of the organization.
Be relevant.  This is advice we often give to clients. Take on tasks that not only directly relate to the company’s immediate goals, but go one step further and do the things that have to be done that no one wants to do.  Sure, it may not be fun, but it will serve to highlight your value to the company.  Another idea is to find solutions to problems the company has currently.  Or, go one step further and find the solution to a problem the company doesn’t know it has, especially money saving solutions.

Update your skills.
This doesn’t mean that you need to spend money on classes.  Stay current on industry trends and changes.  Read articles, blogs, websites.  Join industry related groups, and go to meetings, or participate online.  Even comment on blogs (this could help expand your network!).

The main point here is – do something.  Don’t let the fear freeze you.  Be proactive, find ways to learn more, add value and at the same time, make yourself more valuable.

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