• Writing Your Cover Letter – You Really Can Do It

    August 31, 2006 by

    The dreaded cover letter. This is where you, the job candidate, have to convey all this important information as to why you’re the perfect person for the job. It shouldn’t be that difficult, right? For multiple reasons, however, it makes some job seekers procrastinate applying for jobs. Do you ever find yourself making the following excuses?
    I’m Not a Good Writer
    Even if you’re not a writer by trade, you can put together a great cover letter. If you know writing a cover letter is not your strong suit, then research some samples for your career to help you with wording and keywords.
    Think about what is most important to you to convey to a potential employer and jot that down. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. Concentrate on getting your thoughts on paper. You’ll have time to go back and tweak the sentences.
    I Don’t Know What Achievements to Include
    Be sure to look at the job announcement for which you are applying. What made you interested in it to begin with? Why did you feel you were qualified? Whatever those reasons are, you need to include them in your cover letter. You may know why you’re qualified, but the employer still has to be convinced.
    Once you figure out these key achievements, writing them in a short bullet list really makes them standout. Bullets help skimmers pick out the important information so they know right away if you have the “right stuff” for their company.
    I’m Not Sure How It’s Supposed to Look
    This is a common concern. You might have all the information you need but now you’re sitting there wondering if it’s formatted correctly and professionally. Don’t get hung up on this. You can waste a lot of time and energy if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
    When you go to format your cover letter, be sure that the header matches your resume. You resume and cover letter should look like a cohesive package. Now, if you don’t have your resume written yet, then you can decide how you want the header to look. The header includes your name and contact information ¬– so you want to make sure it stands out so the employer knows how to contact you for an interview.
    I Don’t Know How to Customize My Cover Letter for Each Position
    As a rule, you don’t want to send out a generic cover letter to each company to which you apply. The employer will know that it’s generic and that you didn’t spend too much time or effort to make it special for the job they are looking to fill.
    Instead, do your research. Find out what that particular company’s history is, what the position entails and what their future plans are. Include the company’s name in your cover letter, along with the position you are applying for. If you find out an interesting tidbit about the organization, include it. Be sure to do so in a natural way though. If you start including every little thing you find out, then the purpose of your cover letter will be lost.
    So while it can be intimidating to write your cover letter, when you surround yourself with the information you need, it goes so much easier. If you get stuck, take a break and then come back to it. Sometimes a fresh mind is all you need.

    Continue Reading

  • Get the Results You Want By Using an Executive Summary on Your Resume

    by

    In the not-so-distant past, the resume objective section was widely used. The resume objective, simply put, is a 2-3 line statement summarizing the goals you have set for yourself and the position you seek.
    Many experts in the field feel that a section on resume objectives may be omitted. They suggest the use other useful information instead. A resume objective focuses on your personal goals, which often reads like a wish statement – in most cases, in complete disregard of what the employers want to know and expect to get from you. For this reason, more and more job seekers are using the executive summary instead of a resume objective section.
    Resume Objective vs. Executive Summary
    Resume objectives can be construed as being self-centric. For example, “Seeking a position in the sales department with an opportunity for faster career advancement” focuses completely on you. It does not tell the employer anything about your past career, your strengths or what you can do for them.
    • A resume objective could lead hiring managers into thinking about the specifics of your objectives (i.e., what you want) instead of your skills and strengths.
    • Resume objectives tend to be career-limiting and one-dimensional.
    • A resume objective narrows down your opportunities when you are multi-skilled and qualified for more than one position.
    An executive summary, on the other hand, talks about the results that you have achieved and the potential you possess which makes recruiters take notice – it also helps establish your professional identity. An executive summary presents you, in terms of your career skills, accomplishments and abilities, to the hiring manager or organization before they start reading your resume. That is why the executive summary is so important today.
    Think of the executive summary as the introduction to a novel. You can read the introduction, find out the main characters and the plot before you actually start reading the novel itself. The introduction gives you the push you need to actually begin reading the book. If you like what you read in the introduction, you usually go on. It’s the same thing with the executive summary and your resume.
    Why the Executive Summary Is Used Now Instead
    Obviously, resumes that win interviews are simple and focused. An executive summary achieves this by saying who you are (professionally), what you have achieved and how and what you can contribute. A recent survey revealed that more than 72% of resumes that win interviews are well summarized and focused. Also, many job seekers who have changed their resume format to include the executive summary instead of an objective section have acknowledged this. Here’s why the executive summary is more often used now:
    • It highlights your career skills and presents them as desired by hiring managers.
    • It exhibits how you can benefit the organization by presenting your abilities and strengths as they relate to the current position that you are targeting.
    • Executive summaries grab attention, permits use of descriptive verbs (such as accelerated, delivered, re-engineered and generated).
    Executive summaries help recruiters decide whether to call you for an interview – and we all know that the real test of a resume is whether or not it produces interviews. So replace that objective section on your resume with a rewritten executive summary. It just might get you the results that you are looking for.

    Continue Reading

  • Five Tips For A Successful Job Search

    by

    Everyone who is on a job search has different preferences – however, for practical reasons, your job search can’t be longer than what is reasonable. Unfortunately, many job seekers aren’t aware of the intricacies involved in the recruitment process of any organization which can result in longer job search lead times. The second unfortunate thing is that a good percentage of these job seekers have wrong ideas, or worse yet, overestimation of their skills and abilities. This can result in total failure at the prescreening stage.
    1. Always Begin With Self-Assessment: This is equally applicable to those seeking subsequent job changes as well as new candidates. Your self-assessment should tell you more about your character type, your job preferences, willingness to take responsibilities and abilities to take risks, as well as whether you are a leader or want to tread a safer path. It should also shed light on your salary needs, in addition to your skill sets and experiences. This includes revelations on your perception of life and your job, the job security you need, ability to multitask and motivate employees.
    If you are brutally honest in your self-assessment, it will help you acquire those skills that you lack and target your resume to those jobs that call for matching abilities.
    2. Research The Job Market: This is not about just looking at the classifieds in different media, but categorizing them to analyze later as to how many of them match you to about 90-95%. If your tabulation is skewed unfavorably, try and find out the reasons, which could be anything from your ambitious expectation of salary, mismatched skill/age/experience or location preferences. This is what they call the proverbial pin pointing of the problem. Once you identify it, it becomes easier to deal with realistically.
    3. Choosing a Career Field: Although this is broadly decided through your education, you need to identify your niche to choose a field and narrow down your job search. Bear in mind that your chosen field probably has prospects and growth potential within the industry to make room for future job changes. For example, choosing to be a cost accountant has a higher scope in every respect than a broad-based job search for an accounting position.
    4. Improve Your Job Search Skills: Student counselors and HR counselors assess and guide your job search skills. Being on track and informed keeps you abreast with changes in job market demands. Job search skills include adaptation to circumstances with respect to your resume, interviews, and handling salary issues and behavioral issues effectively. Career workshops are critical to learn what employers’ expectations are, how they are changing and how to handle sticky issues effectively.
    5. Job Search Campaign: Begin your campaign with realistic targets for a start date, job position, location and salary. Shorter targets normally mean accepting smaller salaries and organizations. Expanding your network, pursuing advertisements, approaching employers directly, having target cover letters and resumes and being enthusiastic & persistent will pay off handsomely in both the long and short run.
    Your job search strategies should address all the concerns of both the employers and yourself. The five tips above lead you on the path to a better job search and are effectively designed to plug the holes on either side.

    Continue Reading

  • Internships + Education = $

    by

    Although there are still some college students out there who believe that a bachelor’s degree alone is enough, there are many more who know better.
    Yes, it is true that a college graduate hired for an entry level job will earn more than a high school graduate; however, the fact of the matter is that a college graduate who has one or two internships under his belt will earn an even higher salary in the same entry level job.
    This is more than enough reason to get out there and do those internships. Whether they are paid or unpaid, the practical experience is invaluable. For writers, the opportunity to increase your portfolio should never be passed by. That entry level job can be quickly parlayed into something more substantial in a lot less time if you bring loads of experience to bargaining table.
    I have only had two internships, both unofficial, but I have an extensive, diverse portfolio. So, when you finally graduate and go out interviewing for the entry level job that will pay more because you have more than just good grades to show for my four years in college, you will know that you have earned it.

  • 20 Startup Ideas and $100 Million!

    by


    Entrepreneurial-focused graduates and soon-to-be-grads…this read is for you!
    B2DAY makes every entrepreneur salivate by dangling the $100 million carrot for the ability to deliver the deal-closing prototypes noted in the article.
    Any takers? Check out the article HERE.
    Dennis Smith
    WirelessJobs.com

  • Ready for the Move Up

    by

    QUESTION:
    My previous job title was Quality Control Leader. Along with this title came a lot of responsibilities, which I handled well. I had to leave this job because of a move. I’m now with a company that employees up to 700 people. The company is going through a lot of changes at this time, adding and moving people around within the company. The company is not using me to the best of my ability. I was put in the position of a floor inspector, I have the education and experience of a Quality leader. I would like to know how to ask my Boss to look at my resume so he will know what I’m capable of.

    ANSWER:
    You’re right. It’s definitely time to have a talk with your boss. Actually, it’s time to have some conversations with your boss about the work, your background, your enthusiasm about the job, and your desire to move into a more challenging and rewarding career.

    Continue Reading

  • The Electronic Pink Slip Blues

    by

    The Dallas Morning News announces this morning that Radio Shack lays off 403 employees via e-mail. Yikes.
    Employees knew the cuts were coming (the company told employees on August 10th that it would reduce its workforce by 400-450 jobs), and knew the communication would be made via
    e-mail.
    While legal, it’s still a drag to get the notice on email. Well, at least I think so.
    Am I alone?
    Dennis Smith
    WirelessJobs.com

  • Job Seekers: Keep Walking

    by


    The interview road is oftentimes a difficult road to walk. Why? Interviews and interviewers are difficult to interpret. Just when you feel like you had the best interview of your life, your phone goes silent (“Didn’t they say they’d call back this week?”).
    Other times, you feel like you crashed and burned in the interview, then you get a call (“Hey, we’re really interested in you!”). The problem? It’s not really the job you want.
    Keep the faith, job seekers. The walk is worth the investment of your time. Remember, it’s not what you do the day of the interview that matters. It’s what you do the day after the interview.
    The successful job seeker knows what it’s like to endure the perils of job search. He might not be smiling the entire time, but he does keep walking. Check out this funny animation clip that reminds me of my own interview journey CLICK HERE.
    Dennis Smith
    WirelessJobs.com
    technorati: Job Interview

  • 350 Career Videos on Your Site — Free!

    by

    We recently announced that college career service office and other employment-related sites may now run on their web sites a search engine that allows their visitors to search our library of 350 career videos. The videos may be viewed through the visitor’s browser or downloaded to their computer. If the visitor chooses to download them, they can do so into iTunes and then onto their Video iPods. Those that do will be able to watch the videos as video podcasts. Sweet.
    Want to see an example? Central Missouri State University is doing a great job displaying our career videos. Want to run the videos on your site? Just email me at [email protected] and ask for the career video search engine code.

  • Unauthorized Recruitment Video for the Canadian Military

    August 30, 2006 by

    What comes to your mind when you think of the Canadian military? I grew up in Winnipeg and my only memories of the Canadian military from my childhood was the large almost deserted army base about a mile from my house, the occasional helicopter flying overhead, and the armored personnel carriers that seemed to only be used to ferry physicians and nurses during blizzards.

    Continue Reading