Friday, June 27, 2014

31 Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter Examples

Traditional cover letter wisdom tells you to start a cover letter with something to the effect of:

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to apply for the position of Marketing Manager with the Thomas Company.

We say: The days of cookie cutter cover letter intros are long gone.

Here’s the thing: Your cover letter is the best way to introduce to the hiring manager who you are, what you have to offer, and why you want the job—but you have an extremely limited amount of time to do all of those things. So, if you really want to get noticed, you’ve got to start right off the bat with something that grabs your reader’s attention.

What do we mean? Well, we won’t just tell you, we’ll show you—with 31 examples of original cover letter introductions. We don’t recommend copying and pasting them because, well, your cover letter should be unique to your stories, background, and interests, but you can most definitely use them to get inspired for your next application.

(Want even more help? Sign up for our free cover letter writing guide.) 

Start With a Passion

Many companies say that they’re looking for people who not only have the skills to do the job, but who are truly passionate about what they’re spending their time on every day. If that’s what your dream company is really looking for (hint: read the job description), try an intro that shows off why you’re so excited to be part of the team.
  1. If truly loving data is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It seems like the rest of the team at Chartbeat feels the same way—and that’s just one of the reasons why I think I’d be the perfect next hire for your sales team.

Start With Your Love for the Company

Similarly, many companies want to hire people who already know, love, eat, and sleep their brand. And in these cases, what better to kick off your cover letter than a little flattery? Bonus points if you can tell a story—studies show that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.

Of course, remember when you’re telling a company why you love it to be specific and genuine. Because, um, no one likes an overly crazed fangirl.
  1. I pretty much spent my childhood in the cheap seats at Cubs games, snacking on popcorn and cheering on the team with my grandfather. It’s that passion that’s shaped my career—from helping to establish the sports marketing major at my university to leading a college baseball team to an undefeated season as assistant coach—and what led me to apply for this position at the Chicago Cubs

Start With an Attribute or Accomplishment

The unfortunate reality of the job hunting process is that, for any given job, you’re going to be competing with a lot of other people—presumably, a lot of other similarly qualified people. So, a great way to stand out in your cover letter is to highlight something about yourself—a character trait, an accomplishment, a really impressive skill—that’ll quickly show how you stand out among other applications.
  1. My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably diffuse an international hostage situation. I’ve always had a knack for communicating with people—the easygoing and the difficult alike—and I’d love to bring that skill to the office manager position at Shutterstock.

Start With Humor or Creativity

OK, before you read any of these, we feel we have to stamp them with a big disclaimer: Do your homework before trying anything like this—learning everything you can about the company, the hiring manager, and whether or not they’ll appreciate some sass or snark. If they do, it’s a great way to make them smile (then call you). If they don’t? Well, better luck next time.
  1. I’m interested in the freelance writer position. But before I blow you away with all the reasons I’m going to be your next writer, I would like to tell you a little about myself: I didn’t grow hair until I was about five years old, which made everyone who crossed my stroller’s path believe me to be a boy (my name is Casey, which definitely didn’t help). Hope I got your attention. (Via @CaseCav)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

12 Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence."
Calvin Coolidge
Never stop and never quit; that’s the motto of a job seeker who will never give up until he gets what he wants. A true go-getter does not get discouraged when he hits a stumbling block. Instead he views this as a challenge and is all the more inspired to do better. If you are constantly motivated, you will eventually realize that even in a down market, job seekers are not that powerless or without any alternatives. In fact, you have more control over your career circumstances than you allow yourself to think.

The following are strategies that consistently generate strong results for job seekers:

1. Be patient and remain positive.
A lot of job seekers tend to have a short fuse especially when they feel that time is running out. The longer you're looking for a job, the more frustrated you become. To remain productive, pursue a handful of target companies on your list. If one opportunity doesn't work out, you've still got others to look forward to. Another strategy is to be persistent in calling hiring managers for a follow-up, after you've submitted your resume or have been to an interview. Let them know that you are interested, but avoid being rude and impatient. Calling them once or twice every day will not get you any favors. Remember that the hiring process is usually extensive, and companies are just being careful in making their decision. Explore a lot of your prospects and always strive to keep an optimistic point of view.

2. Don't underestimate the power of first impressions.
As you continue applying for positions in various companies, take care of how you interact with others. Attempt to leave a great first impression, whether it’s the secretary, the hiring manager or your fellow applicants. If you wish to differentiate yourself from other candidates, you must appear to be more eager, determined and serious to get the job. You must let them know how much you want to be there: show up early, dress smartly, be alert and be prepared.

3. Let employers know what you have to offer.
In every job interview, you have to convince the employer (or the hiring manager) why they should hire you out of all the other qualified applicants. The best way to do this is to identify the needs of the company and how you can fill them, using your skills and expertise. You must present yourself as an asset, and how being part of the team is a benefit to the organization, given your experience. Specify relevant challenges that you have overcome in the past, problems where you found practical solutions, and ideas that have produced tangible results. Employers always want to know that they are getting value for their money, and so you must convince them that hiring you is a definite advantage to contribute to the growth of the company.

Habits 4-12 and the complete article

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The 50 Best Niche Job Boards

The #1 Job Board for the Retail Industry

ClearanceJobs is the premier secure job board focused exclusively on candidates with active or current U.S. government security clearances.


Energyfolks is a growing network of energy interested students and professionals from across the world’s top universities.


FlexJobs is an award-winning job site for part-time or full-time flexible jobs, such as telecommuting or flextime, in 50+ categories, entry-level to executive.

The largest part-time and full-time hourly job resource

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The 5 Best Questions A Job Candidate Can Ask In An Interview

While you certainly have questions you like to ask (like these three), and maybe you ask one question to identify a superstar... if you’re an experienced interviewer you may almost always feel it's a waste of time when you ask the candidate, "Do you have any questions for me?"

Why? The average candidate doesn't actually care about how you answer their questions; instead they try to make themselves look good by asking "smart" questions. To them, what they ask is a lot more important than how you answer.

On the other hand, great candidates ask questions they actually want answered because they're actively evaluating you and your company… they're deciding whether they really want to work for you.

Here are five questions great job candidates ask:

“What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?”
Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don't want to spend weeks or months "getting to know the organization." They want to make a difference right away.

Plus they want to know how they’ll be evaluated – so they definitely want to understand objectives and expectations.

“What are the common attributes of your top performers?”
Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.

Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Or maybe flexibility and creativity is more important than following rigid processes. Or maybe landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Or maybe spending the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer is as important as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end solutions.

Whatever the answer may be, great candidates want to know because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do, they definitely want to be a top performer.

Questions 3-5 and the complete article

Monday, June 23, 2014

Find Unadvertised Job Openings with a Clever Google Search

Alan Henry

Most job openings at most companies go unadvertised—that is, they're posted on their site, but they're not farmed out to recruiters or posted on massive job boards. That also makes them harder to find. Thankfully, Google can do the job for you. Use these search strings to uncover matching gigs.

The market for new jobs is so competitive that most companies don't see a need to spend a ton of money hiring third-party recruiting firms or posting their jobs to the top of big job boards just to get candidates to apply. Between internal referral programs and word-of-mouth, posting a job to the company's "Careers" page is usually enough. To uncover those unadvertised openings, all you need is a little Google-fu. The folks at the Glassdoor Blog explain that all you need to do is cast your net over the major employee applicant tracking systems that companies use to post and manage responses to their job postings:

Do you know what an applicant tracking system is? Wikipedia defines it as “a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs.” As a jobseeker, you refer to it as the electronic blackhole that eats up resumes. Specifically, it’s the system you interact with when you apply for a job on a company careers website. One of the more popular applicant tracking systems is produced by a company called “Taleo.”

With a little help from Google, you will be able to search company websites that are using the Taleo system. In this way, you will be able to find jobs that are not posted on (insert leading job board name here) and have an edge on your competition. Let me show you how.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

6 Ways Google Alerts Can Help You Land A Job

Nancy Collamer

When it comes to cracking the hidden job market (where openings aren’t advertised), knowledge is king. That’s why Google Alerts should be part of your job-search toolkit.

What are Google Alerts?

They’re free emails Google automatically sends you whenever the search engine finds information relevant to topics you’ve told it to look for — including articles, news stories, press releases and the like.

You can use Google Alerts to monitor news about any company, nonprofit, product, person or industry relevant to your job search.

Why Google Alerts Help Job Hunters
That kind of “insider information” can give you a big advantage over your competition. You’ll learn about expansions (which means jobs to fill), business opportunities and key personnel changes long before the general public takes notice.

Think of Google Alerts as your personal electronic job search assistant who works 24/7.

Here are six ways to put Google Alerts to good use:

1. Monitor employers you’re interested in. You can use Google Alerts to get the inside scoop on what’s happening at places where you’d like to work. Then, if you decide to apply to them, you can casually drop into your cover letter, resumé or interview the news you’ve picked up.

For example, if you got a Google Alert with a story saying the company plans to expand into China and you speak fluent Mandarin, you’d mention this skill and strengthen your candidacy for a job.

Bad news can sometimes be as useful to you as good news. For instance, a Google Alert revealing that a company is facing a product liability suit might be a signal that the firm will be gearing up to hire more people for its PR or legal teams.

2. Research employers by location. You can use Google Alerts to track breaking news about employers of interest in a specific geographic area, which can be handy whether you’ll be job-searching where you live or where you plan to move.

For example, if you work in the insurance industry and hope to move to Sarasota, Fla., you might do a Google Alert for Sarasota insurance companies. You might also try search terms like “signed new lease” or “expansion” to stay up-to-date on companies in growth mode.

Ways 3-6 and the complete Forbes article

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Non-Boring Way To Show Off Your Soft Skills In Your Job Search

Lily Zhang

Have you ever described yourself on your resume or in your cover letter as a “hard worker” with a “positive attitude” who is able to “learn quickly?” Let me guess—did your job application seem to disappear into the HR black hole? I can’t say I’m surprised.

Here’s why. While the prevalence of applicant tracking systems, which match up job applications with the skills listed in the job description, has grown, in the end there’s still a human doing the final screening. And humans don’t connect with a series of keywords—they connect with good stories.

In other words, don’t sell yourself short by just throwing in flat, overused words to describe your soft skills. Show them off in a more concrete way, and I guarantee you’ll have more success.

Here’s how to do it—in every aspect of your job search.

In Your Cover Letter
Think of your cover letter as the conversation you would like to have with the hiring manager, but on paper. It’s your best chance (before the interview) to really bring to life what you can do.

As you’re writing, pick two to three of the skills in the job description—say, technical prowess, a knack for taking initiative, and strong communication skills—and think of one or two stories that really highlight them:
As the technical lead for a major client, I not only executed all updates on schedule, but I also took on the responsibility to train and mentor two new employees to get them up to speed for the good of the team. Understanding that this was not a client we could afford to lose, I made sure to stay in close contact with our customer service representatives and made myself available to answer any technical questions to ensure our client felt well attended to.

In Your Resume

In the Interview

Find out how to show off In Your Resume, In the Interview, and the complete Forbes article

Monday, June 16, 2014

10 Resume Tips That Will Enhance Your Personal Brand

Remember the days when you would find yourself sifting through hundreds of resumes and they all seemed to blend in together? As a previous hiring manager and recruiter, I remember getting lost and uninterested by line three of the long, 12 line introduction paragraph at the top, if there was one at all.

Quite often it seemed as if the old fashioned word documents were cranked out in less than two hours, they all had the same Times New Roman font, and all had the same top with name, address, phone, and email centered underneath each other.

If your resume still appears anything like I have described above, it is time to make a significant revision – especially if you are in the job market! Competition is fierce out there candidates, and you only have one chance to present yourself at your best. Time to bring your resume up to 2014 standards!

I understand that sometimes hiring a professional writer is just not financially feasible, especially if you are unemployed and trying to watch expenses. Here are ten awesome tips that will be helpful in creating a resume and personal branding package from your home while on a tight budget:

2. Add Your LinkedIn Profile

Don’t forget to add your LinkedIn profile link at the top. Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Run, do not walk, to the LinkedIn site and start typing. Recruiters look at LinkedIn immediately to review your profile. You can easily download a LinkedIn badge or logo and insert a hyperlink with your profile link.

4. Lose The Long Introduction Paragraph

Many companies and hiring boards use applicant tracking systems to screen for keywords.  Instead of the paragraph, include six to nine core competencies at the top under your name that are relevant to the job description and your background.

8. Add Quotes
Include some quotes from your LinkedIn recommendations in the top half of your resume. Quite often, I also strategically place quotes throughout the document in quote shape text boxes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

15 Resume Tips from a Tough Hiring Manager

by Sean McGinnis

For a large portion of my career, I’ve served as a hiring manager. In that role, I’ve reviewed an estimated five thousand resumes, perhaps more.

I’ve hired sales people, tech experts, managers, marketing people and editors. While my experience may not be as extensive as some long-time HR professionals, odds are pretty good that I’ve seen many more resumes than the average guy.

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on how to build a successful resume. My tips cover 20 recommendations, broken down across three categories: design, audience and other stuff (including a few pet peeves):

Resume Design

1. Use White Space Liberally

Going through a three inch thick pile of resumes makes you immediately appreciate the ones that are easy to read. Do not under any circumstances present a resume with quarter inch margins or less. The goal of building a resume is not to just jam one sheet of paper with information, but to present your qualifications in a readable and professional manner.

The Audience

5. Be Sure You Are at Least 80% Qualified

Please… make sure you’re qualified for the position. Pay close attention to the job description and requirements. I know you want to apply for the job that would be just a bit of a stretch assignment. Just be sure it’s not too much of a stretch.

Applying for positions you are not qualified for wastes both our time. Also, applying for any job that has “xyz” word in it just because it was recommended to you by your automated job search agent is rarely a good idea. Research the position and company to ensure a reasonable chance of a good fit.

Miscellaneous (Including Personal Pet Peeves)

8. Keep it Reasonably Short

One page preferred. Personally, I’m OK with two pages, so long as your experience warrants it. However, there is no reason to submit a six page resume. Ever.

9. Create a Professional E-mail Address

Ensure the first part of your e-mail address is “flattering”. You don’t want to submit a resume that with an e-mail address of Every little thing matters. Pay attention to the details.

Read all 15 tips and the complete article

Thursday, June 12, 2014

16 Ways An Interviewer Judges Your Potential

Someone just asked me what I look for when interviewing young people.

I answered, “I look for the same things I look for in older people. There are patterns of success evident very early on, and if a young person already possess them, he or she will be successful when they’re older."

So when I use the two-question Performance-based Interview to assess a person, here’s what I look for whether the person is young, old, or somewhere in between.

1. Commits and delivers results without making excuses.

This is the first rule of success. The important point is to get everything done that’s been assigned to you without ever making an excuse.

2. Confident, but not arrogant.

Taking reasonable risks, taking on projects outside of your comfort zone, willing to make mistakes, and being okay with failing, comes with you doing all of these things. Talking a good game, blaming others for not delivering the results, and not taking personal responsibility for whatever happens, is how you don’t get ahead. (See point 1.)

3. Has appropriate balance of thinking and achieving.

In business, not everything needs to be perfect. Those who are too smart overthink and underdo. Those who aren’t smart enough need too much direction or mess up too often. Getting a lot of good quality work done on time, all of the time, is the right balance.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

5 Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume

By Tom Mangan

Which blunders will send your resume straight into oblivion? There might be dozens, depending on the job, but experts say these five common resume mistakes are most likely to derail your job search.

1)  Your Age

Hiring managers need to know what you can do for them, not how many years you've managed to stay alive. Darlene Zambruski, managing editor of and, advises against:

  • Listing professional experience more than 15 years old.
  • Providing an exact number of years of professional experience in your opening summary.
"For example: 'senior accountant with more than 25 years of experience in...' -- this kind of data invites age discrimination," Zambruski said.

And don't forget that age bias cuts both ways: A resume that tells a future boss you're too young for the job is no good, either.

2)  Lists of Tasks or Duties Without Results
Your resume has to go beyond saying which jobs you've done: It must establish what you've accomplished on those jobs. Many applicants miss this key distinction.

"The only things that separate equally qualified candidates are the results of their efforts," Zambruski said. "For example, an administrative assistant may write, 'reorganized filing system.' That provides the task. What were the results? A better way to write it would be, 'Increased team productivity 20% by reorganizing filing system.' Results are what matter to hiring managers.

Things 3-5 and the complete Monster article

*** Some of my personal pet peeves.
- Listing your jobs so that the oldest are at the top of the list. 
- Made up titles - CEO of your lawn mowing business.

Monday, June 9, 2014

5 Steps To Ace A Panel Interview

These five tips can help you feel more in control of the process while facing a group of interviewers—with a professional, enthusiastic demeanor that helps win the job.

1. Direct Your Attention To Each Person On The Panel
Upon starting the interview, get each person’s name (and ask for their business card or jot down the name), and then look at each person as you introduce yourself. This will help to break the ice and establish a connection to all of your interviewers.

While fielding questions, avoid staring at a single person (nothing makes you look more “frozen” than doing this!). Instead, make it a point to relax, smile, and open your gaze to the others in the room.

Even if a single member of the group asks you a particular question, look around at the others while you answer it. Doing so will help you project a confident image and build rapport with the entire panel.

2. Expect To Repeat Yourself
While one of your interviewers might take your answer the first time, you can almost expect someone else to either ask for clarification—or ask it again, later in the interview.

Why? Because, just like our verbal abilities, many of us have different listening styles. What is clear to one panel participant may need further explanation for another person.

In addition, each panelist comes to a group interview with a different agenda. You can expect a prospective peer to be interested in your technical or analytical skills, for example, while the boss might be more curious about why your last job was so short in length.

You may also find yourself repeating information from earlier interviews. This is perfectly normal in the context of a multi-interview hiring process, so avoid coming across as impatient or noting that you’ve answered this query before.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

100 Top Pinterest Boards for Job Search in 2014

Where to find the best job search resources on Pinterest this year.

As Pinterest continues to grow, these pinboards have become the best places to find the latest and greatest tips and resources for job searching.

Some are managed by companies and websites, others are pinned by job search experts and some are just people who have done a great job collecting bookmarks:

13. Job Search by The Daily Muse (7,679 followers)

24. 007 Job Interview Etiquette by 007 Marketing (5,522 followers)

31. Resume Tips by ABBTECH Professional Resources, Inc (4,609 followers)

38. Cover Letters by CAREEREALISM (4,000 followers)

68. Job Search Articles by Sheilah Head (1,561 followers)

See all 100 Pinterest Boards

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Use the 4 Major Social Networks to Get Your Dream Job

by Guukle

For quite some time, social media has been a major force in the daily life of the 21st Century job seeker. But which networks are the most productive? What should a job seeker do on each to get the biggest bang for their digital buck?

Here are specific tips to help you harness the power of each of the 4 major social media platforms… and get your dream job:


Its no surprise that one of the most important things you can do on LinkedIn is to make connections. What you may not know is that after you’ve made the magic number of 50 connections, you are moved up in the rankings and exposed to more like-minded people and companies, which brings more job leads.

As you develop one-on-one relationships, make sure you ask your recommendations from your links, especially those you have work for and worked with; the more you have, the stronger your appeal to potential employers. Make sure you return the favor: be active in recommending and endorsing those you connect with, even without being asked. More often then not, they will return the favor.

Finally, join and contribute to LinkedIn Groups, which are a flurry of networking activity and a great place to share and discuss content relevant to your career choice.


There are many aspects of Facebook that help job seekers tremendously. For instance, you can use Facebook’s Graph Search to find people that share your interests or perhaps  already work in your chosen industry and network (think of it as using Facebook like you would LinkedIn).

Be bold, yet professional and polite, about your ambitions. And be sure not to try and ‘friend’ people in your industry you don’t know. Instead, subscribe to their feeds to keep ahead in what’s happening with them and look for pointers on what you need to be doing. Comment occasionally to get known. Contribute to discussions. Then send the friend request.



Monday, June 2, 2014

15 Reasons Why Job Openings Seem To Appear Forever

by Lavie Margolin

Have you ever conducted an internet job search and noticed a job that is the perfect fit for you?
Then when you applied, you got no response?

Was it frustrating to see the same job, that you are supremely qualified for, posted in various online outlets for months and months?

Why is this happening?

There are several reasons and it may have nothing to do with how qualified the applicants are:

1. The position has a high turnover rate and in order to ensure a fresh pool of candidates, the job is constantly advertised.

2. The company has not found the right candidate for the job.

3. The company thought they found the right candidate but it did not work out and the search is now reopened.

4. The job will be filled internally but company has to source external candidates.

5. The job has officially been put on hold but resumes are being accepted until the job opens up again.

6. The company will not be reviewing resumes until a certain deadline has passed and is trying to gather as many resumes as possible.

Reasons 7-15 and the complete article