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A Top Notch Cover Letter Can Get your Foot in the Door
If you have ever looked for a job, then you know that it is tough out there. Competition is always fierce, especially for those ?dream job? type of positions ? great company, great benefits, and great pay. If you want your resume to rise to the top of the pile in the Human Resources department and you want to get that call for an interview, then you need something to make your resume stand out from the rest. The best way to draw attention to everything you have to offer is to have a cover letter that jumps right off the page and grabs the attention of the reader. The cover letter is your first chance to make an impression, so make sure your cover letter makes you the one potential hire that is definitely going to be getting a call.
Before you can get into the content of your cover letter, you have to cover your basics. You should never, ever have a ?form? cover letter that you use with every resume you send. Tailor your cover letter specifically to each individual employer, mentioning their company and the position for which you want to be considered. Address the letter to the correct person ? if you?re not sure who will be doing the hiring, call the company and ask. Don?t assume you can address your letter to the HR department and have that be close enough. Taking the time to write a personal cover letter to each company lets your potential employer know you pay attention to detail right off the bat. Of course, you should also make sure that your cover letter is grammatically correct and free of typos. A sloppy cover letter is a one way ticket to the trash can for your resume.
Once you have your basics in order, you can turn your attention to what you are actually going to write in the cover letter. Your cover letter is your sales pitch to the company; you need to let them know why they should bet on your when they hire for the position. One great way to sell yourself is to show off how much you already know about the company. Let them know why you want to work there by specifically mentioning projects the company has been involved in that you admire or talking about the position of the company within the field. As you show off how much you know about the company, draw attention to the ways you can actively help the company grow and succeed by drawing parallels between your experience and their work.
After you have shown that you have done your homework and know about the company, go into some detail about the unique aspects of your work history. Draw attention to any special achievements or awards and any educational background you have that makes you a good candidate for the job. Remember, your resume will be attached to the cover letter, so you don?t have to go into great detail. Just pick out the highlights that will make the reader want to turn the page and delve into your resume.
How you close your cover letter makes as much difference has how you open it. State again exactly what job you want to be considered for, and suggest that you come in for an interview. You can also suggest a few dates and time for an interview to show that you are eager to move on to the next step. You should also give a time and date that you will call to follow up on your resume. A pleasant closing and your signature seal the deal on your winning cover letter.
Reinventing Yourself Can Make a Difference in Landing a Better Job Are you stuck in a dead end job that isn?t getting you any closer to your goals? Did you wake up one morning to find yourself knee deep in a career you never wanted and one that is not making you happy? Many people feel this way ? it can be easy to ?fall into? a career that you think is temporary and then get so caught up in the day to day aspects of the job that never quite get out of it. If you find yourself in this kind of rut, the good news is that it is never too late to make a fresh start. No matter what your age is or what stage in your career you are at, you can always reinvent yourself to get closer to that perfect job. All you have to do is work up the courage to make the jump. The first step in giving yourself a career makeover is identifying exactly what you want to do. While it may be true that there is always time to reinvent yourself and start over, if you have to go through the process too many times, you are only wasting valuable time that could have been spent doing what you love. Don?t fall into yet another career that isn?t all that is it cracked up to be. Think about the things that you wanted to do when you first entered the working world. What was your dream job then? What career field was your passion? Is it still what you want to be doing today? Discover your dream, and then start building your goals around it. Once you know what you want to do, the time comes to start researching it. How do most people get started in the field? Will you need to start your own business, or are there companies out there already doing what you want to do? What kinds of entry level positions are available? Will you be able to do this in your town, or would moving to another city mean more opportunities for you? Before you make the leap, research your job options carefully. You may need to plan financially for the step you are about to take, so do your homework up front. Talking to other people in the field you want to enter is a great way to get actionable advice from people who have been there. When you know what kind of experience you will need to get started in the field of your dreams, think about the experience you have had in the past, and what you have done that matches up. This can mean either work related experience or things you have done as a hobby or class you have taken in school. Be creative here ? you may have experience you don?t even realize you have. For instance, if you want to open a bakery, and you are always in charge of the bake sale at your child?s school, this counts as experience. Comb through your history and pick out all of the things you have done that will give you a leg up in your new career. Last but not least, you have start creating a new image to present to the working world. Start over with a brand new resume, this time highlighting the experience you have this is relevant to your new career goals. Work on a great cover letter that explains your passion and why you want to switch fields. If you are starting your own business, work on building a website and creating a brand you can be proud of. The sooner you start living your new career, the sooner your dream job will fall into place.
Important Networking Follow-Ups: How to Get Those Job Leads Calling When you leave a networking event, you may be buzzing at the prospects offered by all of those new contacts you made, but soon, the cold reality sets in. How will you be able to convert those contacts you made over a glass of wine into valuable business opportunities for you? Successful networking is all in the follow-up. If you?re looking for a job, following up is all the more crucial. Without touching base after a networking event, you become just another face in the crowd of job hunting hopefuls. The first important rule for following-up with networking contacts is to lay the foundations for the follow-up during the initial meeting. At networking events, there can be a lot of empty promises thrown around. Use that first meeting to convey the message that you haven?t gotten caught up in ?networking fever? but instead that you are very serious about exploring the job opportunity that you?re discussing with your new contact. Ask the contact when would be a good time to follow-up with them, and then reiterate the information back to them at the end of your conversation: ?I look forward to speaking with you Friday at 2 p.m.? If they don?t give you a specific time, then suggest one to them. This rule holds true even if your contact is giving you a lead on a job not with them but with another contact of their own. Let them know you appreciate the information by saying, ?Thanks. I will plan on calling Mary on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.? Not only will this convey your seriousness about the opportunity presented to you, but it may also get you some handy inside information, as the contact may reply, ?Oh, no, Mary will be out of town until Thursday ? call her then.? The next important rule to networking follow-ups is to follow up with EVERY lead a contact gives you. If a contact suggests that you call someone whom you know won?t really be able to help you in your job search, call him or her anyway. Otherwise, when your contact finds out you aren?t taking their advice, they may just decide not to give you any more the future and any business person can tell you that you never know from whom the most valuable lead will come some day. Keep the lines of communication open by giving any and all suggestions a whirl. Last but not least, do the actual following-up. Follow up with your contact exactly when you said you would, and in the exact manner you said you would (phone, email, letter, etc). If for some reason you can?t make contact at the arranged time, keep trying. If you haven?t made arrangements for a follow-up with a contact, then the rule of thumb is to follow-up with them as soon as possible after meeting them. Try to at least send an email or letter the next day saying what a pleasure it was to meet and that you look forward to talking more in the future, and then say in that note when you plan to follow-up with your contact by phone. Then, of course, stick to that new follow-up obligation. Even if the promises made by a contact while networking don?t pan out for you on the job front, don?t cross them off of your contact list. Keep them in the loop about your job search and your career goals. While they may not have been able to make if happen for you this time, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future. Your most promising business contact may be someone you already know.
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