5 Parts Of A Cover Letter (A.K.A. How To Write A Good One!)

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In this article, I am going to demonstrate the mechanics of a well written cover letter. I hope this provides some knowledge about the parts of a cover letter, and enables you to generate interest from a hiring manager.

1. The Salutation (The Hello)
Get a name, any name. By hook or by crook try to get a name.  Sometimes you can’t – then try To whom it may concern or Dear hiring manager.

     Dear Hiring Manager:

2. The Opening (The Grab)
Your opening paragraph is your introduction and presents the reader with some immediate and focused information regarding the position you are pursuing and a few core competencies that demonstrate your strength:

Having contributed as an operations and general business leader, I am writing to express my interest in [Name of Position] with [Name of Company]. You will see on the enclosed resume I turned around an under-performing business, substantially improved productivity and employee morale, and possess critical and creative thinking skills that will facilitate my swift contribution to your sustained growth.

3. The Second Paragraph (The Hook)

12 Ways to Get a Job Interview and One Way Not To

Nowadays, most of the work I do involves helping recruiters and hiring managers find and hire perfect people for imperfect jobs. In the manual I give them I also provide a bunch of countermeasures for candidates to use whenever they meet interviewers who don’t follow the steps I recommend. Some of these are highlighted below.

Job Hunting Tip #1: don’t apply directly to any job posting. The only exception to this rule is if you’re a perfect fit based on the skills, experiences and titles listed on the job description. If you’re not a perfect, you shouldn’t spend more than 20% of your time applying to jobs. However, if you think you can do the job, even if you’re not a perfect match on the requirements listed, there are many things you can do to get an interview. Here are my favorites:

  1. Use the Backdoor. Once you know the job title and location, look on LinkedIn or use Google to find the name of the hiring manager or department head. If this doesn’t work, call and ask someone in some other function who’s the VP of the department. The big idea: use the job posting as a lead to work rather than an application button to press.
  2. Get More Referrals. Getting a referral from someone in the company is the best way to get an interview. It’s even better if the referral will give you a personal recommendation. If you’re serious about getting a better job, networking to get referrals should represent 50% or more of your job hunting efforts. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to triple the size of your network in a few weeks.
  3. Be Different. I had one candidate prepare a competitive analysis for a product marketing position in the telecommunications industry. He sent it to the VP who routed it to the Director. He told me he got an interview as a result.

5 Things You’re Doing Right (But Could Be Doing Better) In Your Job Search

The Muse, Contributor

The bad news: You’re probably doing a lot of things wrong in your job search.

The good news: You’re also likely doing several things right.

The bad news: Some of those things you’re doing right? You could actually be doing them much better.

The good news: We’re about to show you how.

1. Sleuthing Out Contacts Within a Company, but Being Too Forward With the Approach

I like the go-getter in you. You’re not going to just sit there and blindly apply for advertised positions online. No, sir. You’re going to find and endear yourself to people on the inside of companies of interest, to give yourself a leg up on the competition. All good. But not so good if you’re charging at strangers via LinkedIn or other channels like some kind of crazed bull. That’s not networking; that’s ambushing. And no one likes to feel ambushed.

Do it Better

Approach people in a way that you’d want to be approached by a stranger. I’m guessing that you’d be more than willing to chat with or help someone if he or she contacted you in a friendly, flattering, or helpful way before asking for anything from you, right? Be that stranger. Built rapport first before you ask for any big favors.

2. Updating Your LinkedIn Profile, But Alerting Everyone at Your Current Employer That You’re Looking

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that your keywords, brand, and tone align with your career goals is incredibly smart. But if you’re a covert job seeker, you can run into some serious snags (especially if your colleagues or boss are among your LinkedIn contacts) if you update several things on your profile without first turning off your activity broadcasts.

Do it Better

If you’re trying to fly under the radar with your search, before you update a single thing on your LinkedIn profile, head into your privacy settings. Within the privacy controls section, select “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts” and uncheck the box that says “Let people know when you change your profile…” This will stop all announcements going out to your network, keeping you in the job-hunting clear.

Read things 3-5 and the complete Forbes article

Personal Branding FAIL: 4 Errors Job Seekers Make

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For those interested in finding work or advancing their careers, establishing a personal brand is essential. This practice effectively involves the cultivation of certain, positive associations with an individual’s name, as when a job seeker brands him or herself as a green plumbing expert, or a people-oriented real estate professional.

As such, more and more individuals are starting to take personal branding seriously. However, according to online marketing professional Rich Gorman, not all branding strategies are created equal. Some well-meaning individuals, either through neglect or misinformation, end up doing more harm than good to their personal brands.

By isolating the most common personal branding fails, individuals can ensure that their branding efforts yield only positive results. Here are a few:

1) Using A Boring LinkedIn Headline
By now, most job seekers understand that LinkedIn is an incredible platform for seeking and finding employment—but are you really using the site to its full potential? The opportunities for personal branding via LinkedIn are abundant, yet it is easy to miss them. For one, make sure you’re not settling for a boring headline. Yes, “Sales Representative” may be your job title, but that’s unlikely to distinguish you from others in your field. Instead, use something that’s more creative, more attention-getting, or simply more loaded with descriptive words.

2) Being Afraid Of Social Media

There are many who believe that, because social media sites can lead to personal branding breakdowns, they are better off avoided altogether. These folks are right that the wrong words can cause reputational peril, but wrong in thinking the solution is to abandon social media altogether. Instead, be strategic in using Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites to cultivate your expertise and authority. Share posts or articles that pertain to your field, and offer your own insights and opinions.

5 Ways to Keep Employers Interested After an Interview

You’ve just finished a phone interview with an employer. Although you’re feeling positive about the interview, the employer said they would only be in touch if they don’t find someone more experienced. Feels like a slap in the face, right?

If you find yourself in this situation after an interview, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. Your first thought after a bad job search experience might be the employer will never contact you. You could also make the decision to forget about the interview and move forward with the rest of your job search. Regardless of how you’re feeling about the interview, don’t give up hope just yet.

There’s a secret to getting noticed by employers after an interview; you need to keep them interested even if they don’t hire you for the position. If you can make a good first impression and catch an employer’s interest, they’re bound to keep you at the top of their list of potential candidates.

To keep an employer interested in your application, it’ll require some action on your part. Here are five ways you can keep your application at the forefront of an employer’s mind during their hiring process:


1. Take initiative. 
If the interview didn’t end as you had hoped, it’s up to you to keep your name fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Take initiative to follow up with the interviewer and establish a connection. Even if the employer cannot offer you a job, find out if they can keep you updated about future job opportunities. This way, the interview doesn’t go to waste and you have a new connection.

2. Read between the lines during communication.
Once the interview is over, take notes of the positive and negative feedback you received from the interviewer. For example, the employer said you’d be a stronger candidate if you had at least one year of experience. Instead of ignoring the interviewer’s feedback, inquire about internship opportunities. This shows your eagerness to learn and your interest in the company.


3. Gauge the employer’s attitude.  – Read more about way #3, ways 4&5, and the complete glassdoor article

5 Job Search Time Wasters To Avoid

by Helen Evans

Searching for a job can be a full-time job in itself. Between searching online job boards and networking with others, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the job hunting process. While there’s no substitute for hard work, there are some things that you might be doing that waste your time.

Here are a few job search time wasters to avoid:

1. Applying For Jobs You Aren’t Qualified For
If you are in desperate need of a job, you may be tempted to apply for all of the latest job openings posted online. The problem with this strategy is that every employer has its own set of criteria for each job posting. If you don’t meet this criteria, applying for the job will only waste your time (and the time of the employer).

Recruiters and hiring managers are not likely to consider you for the position if you don’t meet their minimum requirements. Instead of wasting your time applying for every job listing you can find, focus on applying for jobs that you actually qualify for.

2. Not Expanding Your Search Methods
Many job seekers focus all of their energy searching online for job opportunities. Online job boards should be an integral part of your search, but it should not the only avenue you focus on. Try setting up email alerts for new job postings that meet your criteria and trying new job search outlets. Aside from online job boards and social media, you can also attend networking events and job fairs to get in touch with recruiters. Diversifying your search will increase your chances of landing the job you want.

Read time wasters 3-5 and the complete Careerealism article at http://www.careerealism.com/job-search-time-wasters-avoid/