Archive for Resume/Cover Letters
In this day and age with technology and instant communication at our finger tips, people pay less attention to details and the little things that create a final product. This is especially true in the current job market. People begin to skip steps and slack off on things such as resumes. I recently read this article from FOX Business news, How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter.
First impressions are critical, especially during a job hunt, and a cover letter is often a candidate’s first–and possibly only–opportunity to catch a prospective employer’s attention.
For college grads hitting the job market, a customized cover letter for a job opening is crucial to presenting themselves as a worthy candidate to an employer.
People often think that cover letters are over-rated and not necessary, this is certainly not true. Even if an employer doesn’t ask for one, you need include it with your resume. It shows you can communicate and pay attention to detail. It also shows that you care enough about the job to take the time to write one.
The perfect cover letter can make you stand out from all the other job applicants. If you still don’t think it’s necessary, try putting yourself in the employer’s shoes. Why should they interview you? What do you have to offer them? Remember, it’s the first impression that counts.
Do you have a success story or any feedback on cover letters? Please feel free to share in the comments section below. If you’d like more help with your resume contact us today!
A problem that I come across a lot when working with my career coaching clients is their ability to position themselves effectively when applying for a job. Last week I was working with a client, Susan. We were putting together her cover letter and resume for a position she was very excited about. Her problem was that she could only focus on the area that she felt did NOT fit the job. This very talented, highly educated professional was focusing all her energy on the one part of the job description where she was not a perfect match. And she was obsessing over that one area.
This insecurity had her completely blinded from all the areas where she was an EXCELLENT fit for the job, and it affected her ability to market herself in her application materials. This is where I stepped in and held up the mirror so she could see how damaging this perspective was. Instead of looking at it from the angle of what she did not have, I turned the tables and explained how much she did have that matched the position.
I was able to language the transferable skills she had into a direct match for what the position was looking for and cover all the requirements, including the area she thought she was missing. Susan was amazed and even more excited about applying for the position right away!
Here are three proven ways to focus on your strengths instead of your insecurities:
- Prior to concentrating on one job description in particular, write out a list of your professional accomplishments. What are you particularly proud of in these scenarios?
- Next pull out the strengths that these examples highlight. For example if you are proud of an award you received at work, what talents and skills did you showcase to win the award? What expertise won you this award?
- Now look at the job description and find where these strengths fit what the job is looking for. If the position is looking for experience with a particular software that you do not directly have, but one of your strengths is to learn technology quickly, highlight that skill in your materials, and provide a concrete example. You obviously cannot make up experience you don’t have, but you can highlight to the employer that you have the underlying skills to be successful.
By accomplishing this you’ll feel more confident that you are marketing yourself effectively in each application. If you are having trouble pulling out your strengths and need an objective expert to lend a hand, contact us for a job search strategy session.
If you are unemployed and are concerned about the gap in your resume, you should first know that you are not alone. This is a common concern for people who are unemployed.
Have you heard of the term “survival job”. These are generally lower paid and low end job. A survival job usually is needed for financial reasons. This phrase has been around for a long time, but is becoming much more common given the long amount of time that people are unemployed. After someone goes through their savings they literally need something, whatever it is, to pay the bills.
A survival job can be a way to boost your confidence and give you a sense of purpose. It will help you pay your bills and get you out of the house everyday. It also can help you fill that gap in your resume. The cons of course is that it will take some time away from your job search and that it is a lower paying job. Things will most likely still be very tight. It is unlikely that a survival job would help you get your foot in the door to a higher paying job, although that does occasionally happen.
I found a great article about survival jobs from US News: “Can’t Find Work? Get a ‘Survival Job’“. They give some great examples of what survival jobs look like.
One word of caution: I was speaking with one of our group career coaching clients and he was telling me about a friend of his who is a manager in a big company. They look for employees who are strongly motivated by money. It’s mostly a sales job. He told me that in conversations with his friend about survival jobs, his friend had told him when they see resumes with past jobs that aren’t aligned with being motivated by money, they don’t give that person an interview. When he asked his friend what that meant he gave an example of a woman who had worked in a social workers office and then for a non-profit organization. Although this might have been her dream job, her resume did not reflect a desire to make money (in his eyes) and it went in the no interview pile.
Survival jobs can be great to help you fill those gaps in your resume, however if you feel that it would have a negative impact on you and your career goals it might be best to leave those off. Every case is different and there are always other circumstances that come to play. The bottom line is that you have to pay your bills. A survival job might be the answer for at least right now.
If you need help with your resume, contact us for a resume review session.
I want to share with you ways to adjust your resume and cover letter to reflect your new career path. This message is the third of 5 steps to reinventing yourself for your job search or career transition. Listen to this one to help you figure out how to have an effective resume and cover letter.
Are you searching for a new job or looking for a career transition? Then, watch this message about any “gaps” you might have in your resume. I have some good news; yet a word of caution about those gaps. If you are looking for your career path, check out this video for resume help.
In a competitive job market your resume couldn’t be more valuable! I recently came across this article from The Boston Globe about how “more job seekers are ‘dumbing down’ credentials” on their resumes in order to get the job interview.
I thought this topic was really interesting. Here’s my take on it.
Modifying your resume to fit the position you are striving for is a must. You have to do this. If it means leaving something off in order to get an interview, that’s not bad. What is bad is downright lying on your resume about a job, skill, position etc. that you have held and didn’t.
Client example: A career coaching client applied for a job and chose to remove the PhD listing. This client doesn’t go by doctor and it didn’t accurately represent who they were. It wasn’t important for that position or their direction.
When you tailor your resume to a position, it is a balancing act of being honest and truthful versus not presenting yourself accurately. Your resume should present yourself as something that you are. You could always bring anything omitted in interview as needed. .
Please note: There is no one-size fits all answer here as all situations, positions and experiences are different. Again let me emphasize you NEVER want to lie.
It is one thing to not disclose an important thing like a crime that you committed or a criminal record. It’s different not to disclose a PhD in order to get the interview. Remember each situation is individual and needs to be addressed as such.
If you need help with your resume, contact us for a complimentary consultation.
There are so many rumors that circulate about the "right or wrong way" to craft your career resume. Can you recall people in your lifetime, offering you free advice on the proper protocol for resume creation?
"Always list your career history in chronological order."
"Make sure you print on cream or grey parchment paper instead of plain white so you'll get noticed in the pile."
"Don't make even the tiniest mistake or your resume will get thrown into the trash!"
What other resume writing rumors have you been exposed to over the course of your career? Do you feel they're justified, or are some of them just hype?
The fact is, each career opportunity is unique, as is each employer. Something that appeals to one hiring manager may actually be a turnoff to another. You won't know what that might be until the day of your interview… so, there’s no sense in obsessing about it or trying to please everyone.
If you want help avoiding the resume writing rumors, we offer multiple resume and cover letter services that you can check out here.
If you'd like to speak to a professional career counselor about this or other aspects of your career search, contact me.
I was recently featured in an article about creating a great cover letter and resume for YP Nation.net. It shows how important these elements are throughout your job search. Check it out to get some great tips on creating your cover letter and resume. Here is an excerpt:
Hallie Crawford, a career coach based in Atlanta, Ga., agreed. “[Cover letters] are still very important because they can highlight how you communicate and that you have effective communication skills,” Crawford said in an e-mail to YPNation.
A cover letter should never be longer than one page and it should briefly highlight information from one’s resume–bullet points are generally acceptable, as the letter can then be easily reviewed, Crawford said.
Recruiters’ preferences vary, of course, but the three things Arendt looks for in a resume are: what you did, who you did it for and how well you did it.
Arendt also prefers a chronological form resume to a functional form resume. A functional resume, which focuses on skills rather than chronological work history, “really doesn’t help you stand out as much as the chronological [resume],” he said. A job seeker should also separate his or her accomplishments from job responsibilities to avoid any confusion between the two and to underscore what you have achieved, Arendt said.
Crawford also emphasized the importance of accentuating one’s accomplishments on a resume.
If you want more help on your resume you may be interested in our Resume and Cover Letter Review Session.