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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted October 05, 2007 by

Cover Letter Mistake #3: Call Me Because I Won’t Call You

The last paragraph of your cover letter can be very powerful. How you end it could leave a lasting impression with the employer – good or bad. So before you sign off using your typical, “Please call me at your earliest convenience to set up an interview” kind of mumbo-jumbo, take care to let the employer off the hook and put the responsibility to follow-up squarely on your shoulders.
Mark this date
By stating that you’re going to follow up with the employer on a particular day makes you appear confident and willing to go the extra mile for an interview. It makes them feel important and that you honestly want to know about the job if you are willing to follow up with them.
It also eases the pressure off of them since they expect you to call. If they’re interested in speaking with you, they might set your resume aside and mark it down in their planner that you are going to call. That way they can be prepared to schedule an interview.
Do what you say
Whatever you do, if you write in your cover letter that you’re going to call them on a specific day, by all means – do it! By not following through, you have jeopardized ever getting called by the employer.
This is actually worse than including a passive ending in your cover letter. By not following up like you claimed you would, you’re showing yourself to be irresponsible – not a highly sought out trait for a new employee.

Go the extra mile

If you follow up the date that you stated and never could get in touch with the contact, you can leave a voice mail stating that you were following up on the specific job posting. You can choose to follow-up with an email and/or try to call them back another day. The point is to let them know that you followed up when you said you would.
Now don’t get me wrong, you do want to try to actually speak to them. However, you don’t want to harass them either. Give it a couple of shots and if you can’t get them on the phone, leave a message and follow-up via email, if you so choose.
Follow-up is very important. That’s why stating you’re going to do so in your cover letter is impressive and important to the hiring manager. Keep it simple, keep your word and you might just come out with an interview.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

Posted September 14, 2006 by

10 Things To Avoid In Your Cover Letter

Like it or not, your cover letter is the first document that creates an impression about you (good or bad). Because first impressions really count, you need to take a careful approach to writing cover letters in order to avoid rejection. Here are the 10 major don’ts you need to avoid:
1. Don’t use cover letter templates, however good they may be. There are three things you must know that go against these templates: 1) they are stale & boring 2) most templates are likely to have been downloaded from internet 3) therefore, yours will be exposed as being identical to many. Use samples to get ideas on how to write your own unique letter.
2. Don’t write a lengthy first paragraph that will only bore the reader. A lengthy first paragraph also dilutes your impressive qualities and eventually weakens the entire letter – this is the last thing you want to happen.
3. Don’t exclude your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. Remember that the cover letter is your sales letter; you should highlight your main strengths and prepare the reader psychologically to want to read further.
4. Don’t write a vague letter without mentioning specifics, such as the job title and job code/number if you are responding to an advertisement.
5. Don’t address your cover letter ‘To Whom It May Concern’. It shows that you don’t care enough to do your research to find out who is receiving the resume packages.
6. Don’t use fanciful fonts. Don’t unnecessarily use capitalized or bolded words, or grandiose phrases. Don’t send the letter without nixing silly spelling or grammatical mistakes.
7. Don’t use cliché language such as “As afore mentioned, I am enclosing…” This will only irritate the recruiter. Instead use simple phrases such as, “enclosed please find my resume.”
8. Don’t include personal information like your race, sex or marital status in the cover letter. These things are against the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and as such will not impact the decision whether or not you are called for the interview.
9. Don’t use copies of the same cover letters with just the address and date lines changed to send for similar jobs. If you don’t customize the entire body, the letter may either be irrelevant or a mistake may silently make it into the final draft.
10. Don’t brag or make statements that can’t be quantified. You should be humble, yet accurate – employers these days often verify your statements for accuracy (and uncover exaggerations).
The trick with the cover letter is to capture the reader’s imagination as soon as they begin reading. This entails keeping your cover letter neat and tidy with a simple format, and avoiding common errors, such as the 10 listed above.

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Posted September 14, 2006 by

Three Tricky Interview Styles – And How To Ace Them

In this day and age, as job competition has increased, interviewing techniques have also gotten tougher. Larger corporations often adopt multi-layered interview techniques from initial screening until the job offer stage.
Interview Styles and How to Handle Them Confidently
The need for different interview styles has evolved with the increasing complexities of jobs and work environments, as a scientific means to testing candidates.
Behavioral Interview
This style of interview uses the premise that past behavioral and performance history reveals enough indicators for a prediction of future performance. This type of interview can begin with concealed questions, such as asking you to narrate a tricky situation you have handled in the past. For example, “Please let us know your best accomplishment and how you were able to accomplish it.” However, the questions will not necessarily be limited to your past. Look at this one: “If you had to purchase accounting software, how would you choose it?” This question aims at bringing out your software knowledge, as well as the decision making process that you may use.
Case Study
A slightly refined technique within the behavioral interview is the case study style. Expect to encounter a real-life situation here. Something like “evaluate different accounting software as a precursor to purchase and implementation” should not surprise you. If you take this question with an open mind, you will be able to produce the best answer without getting flustered. You will recollect different variants of software that you are acquainted with through years of usage. From your current knowledge, you will make the right choice by analyzing various aspects like robustness, customizability, user-friendliness and cost effectiveness. You may even brainstorm with your team of users.
But what does all this signify to the interviewer? Simple – it speaks of your:
• Experience
• Confidence
• Willingness to engage people
• Team spirit
• Composed and robust decision making style
• Problem solving ability
• Perseverance
Stress Test
You will probably face questions like “why are there so many job changes in your career?” or “why weren’t you promoted in your last job despite being there long-term?” These are clever questions, designed to make your squirm in your seat. They will make unprepared candidates go speechless. But the interviewer is watching you closely and observing changes in your face, behavior and body language.
Quite naturally, these are hard questions that require time to remember exact scenarios and find ways to simplify and shorten your answers. Give precise answers, including specifics about the question. Since there are no wrong answers in the stress interview, what they are really looking for is how you respond to unexpected stressors.
These are three prevalent types of interview styles. However, in actual practice, you may come across a blend of one or all three. Use the information above to be successful, and you will be able to give the interviewer exactly what they are looking for.

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