Modern computers and spell check were invented for a reason!
Working in staffing really opens your eyes to the do’s and don’t’s of job applications. Aside from grammatical errors that make my skin crawl, careless mistakes are also really sad. It’s tough out there. Don’t make it harder by sending in a sloppy cover letter.
While your resume should speak for itself, the cover letter is a great place for you to fill in the blanks and highlight important accomplishments. You can use a cover letter to show specific interest in the company, to talk about gaps in your resume, and most importantly, to explain why you, specifically, are perfect for the role.
A nice resume does not always tell a hiring manager that you’re awesome. Make your cover letter shine.
Spend the most time on your opener
This goes for almost anything you will ever write. The first sentence sets the tone, and will make or break your cover letter. Think about this in relation to your own reading practices. If the opening sentences of an article make you fall asleep, there are a million other things on the internet for you to read. Recruiters think the same way about cover letters.
Another good way to stand out is to find someone to address the letter to. With an extra 5-10 minutes of research, you will generally find the name of your potential manager or the hiring manager.
Keep it brief
Unless you enjoy 19th-century Russian literature, long, rambling blocks of text are not fun to read. Attention spans are short, and cover letters are plentiful; take out everything that is repeated or even slightly unnecessary. Your cover letter should be three quick paragraphs at the most. You don’t need to write a lot to sound smart – keeping things brief is actually harder to do than rambling on unedited.
Don’t rehash what’s in your resume
That’s what your resume is for. The purpose of a cover letter is to say something about yourself that recruiters wouldn’t learn otherwise.
It’s OK to sound conversational
While you want to write a cover letter that makes you sounds like a professional, competent individual, you also want to write one that allows your personality to come through. Cover letters that sound manufactured or forced are a turn-off. If you don’t use obscure vocabulary words in real life, or you can’t use them well, don’t use them in your cover letter.
Typos will throw you in the slush pile. So will letters addressed to the wrong person, the wrong company or about the wrong position (it happens all the time). Professional writers don’t usually write in one swoop. They print out their work, read it aloud and write many, many drafts. Your cover letter should also be carefully crafted before you send it in. If you’re re-purposing cover letters for every position you apply to, make sure you do it properly. A cover letter full of grammatical errors will not get you an interview.
Writing is hard work. If you find yourself taking a lot of time to write your cover letter, you’re probably on the right track.
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on May 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm, and is filed under Job Search. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Sending out resumes, but not seeing the response you want? Whether you’ve been recently laid off or are looking for a change, there are a few things you can do to make your job search more effective.
Make a Website
If you don’t already have one, make a website. Nowadays, it’s cheap and easy. You can register with WordPress for free, or buy a domain with some version of your name for around $14/year. Sites like WordPress and Tumblr are great because they come with templates that make it easy to build a basic site. Start a blog that promotes anything and everything you’re proud of – a design, an article, a conference you helped set up, anything that shows potential employers what you’re capable of. Add your website to your signature, promote it on Facebook and LinkedIn, and list it on your resume.
Find recruiters in your area who specialize in your field. Provide them with a copy of your resume, and find out if they have any current openings. Opening your search up to recruiting firms (good ones) can be a powerful tool. Recruiters often have jobs that are unlisted or confidential, which you won’t have access to unless the company has your resume and has met with you to talk about your search.
Be selective with which recruiting firms you work with. Do your research and only spend time contacting the people who work in your industry. Don’t go to a fashion recruiting firm looking for an IT position. (Click here to learn more about working with us!)
Is there a specific industry or location you’re interested in? Do some research and compile a list of companies that you’d like to work for. What are their needs, who are the hiring managers? Check to see if there are any openings on the company website. (In order to keep the number of applications down, companies don’t always post open position on major job boards). If you don’t see any available positions on they company’s site, mail or email your resume and a tailored cover letter to someone high up the food chain.
While it might seem like extra work at first, keeping a spreadsheet of all the companies you’ve applied to and people you’ve contacted will make it easier to see the progress you’ve made. This is especially helpful if you’re targeting multiple employers. JibberJobber.com is one resource that compiles all the positions you’ve applied to, but you can also just keep a basic spreadsheet.
Apply to Jobs You’re Qualified For
This might seem obvious, but applying only to jobs you’re qualified for will greatly increase your chances of being contacted. Hiring managers are overwhelmed because people apply to every position they’re even remotely qualified for, so their inboxes are flooded with people they’ll never call. Make yourself the person whose resume gets a second look because the job is actually a good match for you. Take some time and tailor your resume to the position you’re interested in. Read our resume tips here.
Looking for a job isn’t just about responding to ads- expand your search and improve your chances of finding a great position!
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on May 13, 2013 at 12:29 pm, and is filed under Chronicles For Candidates, Job Search. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Being unemployed can be a huge blow to your self-esteem. If you feel unproductive and useless, you have two options: decide you are doomed and feel sorry for yourself, or find ways to stay motivated.
Stick to a schedule
When you were employed, you woke up at the same time every day and got dressed. Now that you don’t have a set time to wake up, you are free to lounge on the couch all day in your pajamas. While you will certainly have days like this, it should not become a habit.
One of the best ways to stay focused and positive during a job search is to keep a routine. Looking for a job is a full-time job, so treat it like one. This means you should wake up at the same time you’re used to, have your morning coffee, get dressed and start your day at a reasonable time.
Set up a home office
Set up a home office space where you can keep all your materials in one place. If you live in a small apartment, avoid the temptation to work on your bed or anywhere else you associate with relaxation. Working in a coffee shop can be one way to combat loneliness and isolation, and especially if you live in a small space, can be an effective way to get some work done with minimal distractions.
Make to-do lists
Make to-do lists full of specific, short and long-term goals so you can see the progress you are making. Tasks can be s as simple as a list of job boards to visit throughout the day, or even errands you need to run unrelated to your job search. Make sure you are realistic with your goals so you get a sense of satisfaction from checking things off.
Remember to take breaks
If you are starting to feel frustrated, take a break, but make sure you set time limits so you know when you need to return to work. Get outside and go for a walk or get some exercise. Take a workout class, or call a friend to vent your frustrations.
Because making connections is one of the best ways to find work nowadays, make sure you are out of the house and talking to people. While you might hate answering the “what do you do?” question right now, don’t be afraid to tell everyone you know that you need a job. You never know where your next opportunity is waiting, and no one will know you’re looking unless you tell them.
Volunteering, while not a way to relieve financial stress, can be a great way to keep you spirits up and put things in perspective. Find a charity that works for a cause you’re interested in, and seek out opportunities. Getting out of the house everyday
Keep your head up, and good luck!
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on April 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm, and is filed under Chronicles For Candidates, Job Search, Mentionings, Sites For Seekers. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
According to a U.S. Department of Labor survey, 70.9% of the total United States population is comprised of men and women ages 20 – 24. That’s a pretty hefty percentage who recently abandoned childhood dreams of a career as a superhero or a princess.
“Get your degree so you can get a real job,” your parents said.
But if your parents have your best interests in mind, why have you graduated and still don’t have a job?
The same survey from the Department of Labor suggests that only about 13% of 20 – 24 year-old college graduates are part of the labor force. That leaves a pretty hefty percentage of them living at home, wishing they held the mask and cape you abandoned. It may feel like it sometimes, but spending four years in college wasn’t a waste of time; if you only have a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is twice as high.
Common discourse on the economy aside, finding a job after graduation has been difficult since the 1970s. When you graduate, especially if you didn’t work during school, you have few marketable skills and little experience to show, no matter how good your grades are. Some employers simply won’t hire people right out of undergrad, opting for candidates with a Master’s degree or who paid their dues in an unpaid internship.
A recent New York Times article broke down what anyone in their 20s already knows: right after you graduate, and especially if you have a liberal arts degree, you often have to work for free. That is, if you can afford it.
So what can you do to improve your chances of finding a paid position?
Pay Your Dues While You’re Still in School
It’s in your best interest to find a part-time job or an internship while you’re still in school, preferably in a field you enjoy. This will vastly improve your job prospects and will help you make contacts that will be invaluable once you graduate. if Do this while you’re still in school, and you will have a better chance of being able to move out your mom’s house.
If you didn’t have time for an internship in college, you probably have leadership skills from a club or group that you can highlight in your resume. Unfortunately, it’s become the norm for companies to hire unpaid interns, and you may have to take a position like this if you want to advance in your field (especially if that field is media-related). The sad truth is, many people can’t afford to take an unpaid internship, and if you find yourself in that boat, you’re definitely not alone.
Make Your Resume Job-Specific
Lots of people don’t understand that it’s absolutely essential to tweak your resume for each job you apply to. The chances of having a resume make a strong impression increase exponentially when you think like an employer: use keywords that are derived from the job description, and trim out any information that is unrelated or looks like filler. If you don’t know anything about keywords, this article is a good place to start.
Apply to Jobs You’re Qualified For
Another reason Millennials aren’t finding jobs is because many are applying to jobs that aren’t suited to their skills. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but that isn’t to say that because your marketing degree isn’t getting you the job you want, you should start applying for entry-level accounting positions. You might feel it’s a catch-22: if you limit yourself to jobs that you’re continuously being rejected from you’ll never actually get hired. This isn’t always true. Focus on applying for jobs that you’re qualified for and want —you earned your degree in the field that you did for a reason. Use social media to network with people at firms that you are interested in and stay on your toes. Job hunting takes time.
Expand Your Resources
Start looking into staffing agencies (like us!) who have lots of jobs that aren’t posted online. Companies often come to us to do confidential searches, and if you’re in our network, we might be able to help you snag a gig you wouldn’t have found otherwise. Check out our job listings here.
Look for positions at startups, who are always expanding and looking for young people who are excited about their projects. Because enthusiasm is a big hiring factor, and the companies are small, don’t be afraid to reach out to the founder of the company on LinkedIn. Even if you can’t get a paid position, it will fill a hole in your resume, and you’ll make some valuable contacts.
Volunteering is another good way to find contacts and to keep you occupied while you’re unemployed. Do a quick Google search and try and find something you’re interested in.
Keep Your Social Media Accounts Polished
As much as you might like to tell yourself that employers don’t check your social media profiles, they do. Your profile isn’t as safe as you think; more and more companies are screening their applicants on Facebook or Twitter. Do the smart thing and clean house of all those tweets about how you hate hunting for a job or how “productive” you’re being watching daytime reality TV on your couch. Also, the fact that you’re 21 means you can legally do keg stands, but can you reasonably have pictures of it on your Facebook page? Think about what’s important to you, and keep your private life private.
Make sure your LinkedIn account accurately reflects your resume and your accomplishments, and make sure you have a professional-looking picture. Companies are using LinkedIn more and more to pre-screen applicants. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, it’s time to set one up.
Try to Stay Positive
Don’t let discouragement deter you from remaining steadfast in your job search. It takes time and persistence. Remember, the market is tough right now. Make use of the connections that you have made in school and seek out new connections in the hopes that they will open doors for you. Not being able to land a job is not necessarily indicative of your abilities; it is a result of these challenging times. If you start to feel like your efforts are futile, step back and channel your inner superhero. You have the power to make things happen when you set your mind to it.
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on March 12, 2013 at 10:32 am, and is filed under Chronicles For Candidates, Human Resource, Job Search. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Scoring an interview is only half the battle – you also have to land the job. Here is a list of some of the best ways to be prepared if you want to land your dream job.
Do Your Research
Know the company you are interviewing for inside and out, and be ready to ask questions. A good place to start is the company’s website or their LinkedIn if they have one. Check out the company’s mission, what projects they are pursuing, and be aware of their competitors. Ellen Gordon Reeves, the author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?, stresses the importance of research: “you need to know as much as possible about the people you are interviewing with”.
Review Accomplishments from Your Last Job
Spend some time thinking about what you accomplished at your last job, and be ready to talk about your position and what your specific duties were. Especially if you’ve been unemployed, it’s always a good idea to spend some time refreshing your memory. Be sure to come up with a few specific problems you’ve dealt with, in order to be prepared for questions.
Know Why You Want the Job
Yes, you want to be able to pay the rent, but why are you really applying to this job specifically? What are your underlying goals and motivations? What do you know about the industry and what can you bring to the company? There are all questions you should have answers to before you go in for the interview.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
Don’t bet on spontaneously coming up with great answers to interview questions. Have a friend sit down and be serious about going over potential interview questions . It will feel awkward at first, but practice is the best way to ensure that your answers come naturally.
Employers generally want to get a good sense of the following:
- Your background, experiences, education, and overall qualifications
- Your knowledge of the job,, their company, and the industry.
- Your personality, work style and social style.
- Your skills
- Your future goals, career aspirations and how motivated you will be in the position.
Be able to talk about this list of things, and you should be able to answer most questions you are given in an interview.
If you’d like a list of common interview questions, you can find them broken down into categories here:
Be Prepared with Questions for the Interviewer
You should come to every interview with at least three good questions to ask your interviewer. If you’ve done your research on the company, coming up with some questions shouldn’t be hard. Here are some examples of solid questions:
-What performance expectations do you have for a successful employee in this position?
-Tell me about some of the company ( or department’s) successes in the past few years.
-Can you explain a typical project that I would be working on? What does a day in this position look like?
Look the Part
Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy an expensive outfit, but do make sure you plan an outfit ahead of time so will look put together. For a first interview it is always best to look more conservative than not, even if the company turns out to have a more business casual environment.
Bring Your Resume
It seems obvious, but can be easy to forget. Always have three copies.
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on March 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm, and is filed under Job Search, Office Observations, To Do Before You Interview. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
With the creation of the Facebook Graph Application, Mark Zuckerburg has proved that Facebook can compete with any social media platform, including LinkedIn. Last Tuesday, the company announced the introduction of a search tool that will allow people to connect by interest and location. This tool is going to be a huge asset for human resources and recruiters alike. Danny Rubin at the Huffington Post purports the example of a potential employer seeking out an employee who is fluent in French. The Graph Application allows this employer to search for a fluency in French within a Facebook profile. The employer could filter to have the search include ‘friends of friends’ or ‘friends of co-workers’. Predictions indicate this tool will be extremely useful because it allows employers to use their own immediate networks (which they already trust the most) to find a great hire.
Now that you know your Facebook profile could be analyzed in the near future by human resource departments, it may be time you made changes to increase your chance of a hire. Because the tool connects via pre-existing networks, it is important that you think critically before you delete your friends. Your friends can connect you to their networks which will allow for an increase in the number of people that can search for you. This makes sense if you think of Facebook as a new networking opportunity. The logic is don’t burn unnecessary bridges. Another way to increase your potential hire appeal is to make sure you list your full job title. You have to let these companies be aware of your experience in say photography or graphic design. If it is an applicable skill, go ahead and list it in your about me section. The next tip is to make sure your ‘like’ section is filled with companies you would like to connect with. However, this section could be used against your social profile if what you have chosen to like is damaging to your image. Basically, resist the urge to like anything profane or controversial. If you do feel the need to keep some of your more questionable interests or likes then Mashable suggests that you make sure you are adjusting your privacy settings accordingly.
Prior to launching this application, Facebook put up a Job Board search as part of its Social Jobs Partnership Initiative along with the U.S. Department of Labor Initiatives. It doesn’t stop there. Did you know Facebook right now has a plethora of job search applications for job seekers? For example, Be Known is Monster’s Facebook application that will update you with job and internship postings. There is an application called Business Cards which enables users to create personalized messages like a virtual business card that will sync with your Facebook profile. There are also applications like Hire My Friend that lets you to promote your job seeking friends. Furthermore, there are informational applications like Salary that give you insights on salary in a variety of fields. These applications are just the beginning. For a complete list you can use the Facebook Application Search and filter via jobs or resumes and see for yourself what beneficial applications you have been missing!
Since, Mark Zuckerburg is getting paid handsomely I suggest you let him and the Facebook team help you succeed in your own job search.
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on February 4, 2013 at 10:33 am, and is filed under Job Search, Social Media. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
The first step to using your Twitter to find a job is to ensure your Twitter is acceptable for the work place. Now I’m not pointing any fingers, but some of us on Twitter have a tendency to tweet whatever pops into our heads before we critically think about what we are putting online. Sometimes these thoughts are just funny quips but other times they can be damaging to your social image. A good rule before you send a tweet is to think ‘would I say this in front of a past boss?’ If the answer is yes, please proceed. But if the answer is no then trust me and don’t send that tweet because no one is going to think you are a comic genius anyway and it might just cost you the job.
Some of you are wondering if a company would even look at your online profiles. Many people don’t realize that their twitter profiles can be traced back to them. As of last June, statistics show that “50 percent of mid-sized companies and almost all large corporations use an applicant tracking system to screen candidates for job opportunities.” With the creation of more advanced tracking systems, human resource departments have increased access to what they refer to as your “social resume”. The point here is, don’t rule out the possibility that your potential employer hasn’t looked at your twitter.
Now that I’ve expressed my caveat about using this social media platform, we can discuss how useful it can be. An article posted by Dr. Sarah David purports that 42% of employers use Twitter to tweet candidates for job opportunities. A great article was posted on “Your HR Buddy” that details the top 10 recruiters on twitter. This is a great starting point. Be sure to start following these recruiters in your field. You can also use the Twitter search tools to look for recruiters that specialize in your industry. The advanced search tool on Twitter allows you to narrow your search to location and specific trends so you can find more relevant information.
In addition to searching for job postings, you can use Twitter to engage with others with similar interests. I encourage you to find ongoing conversations related to your field or with potential employers. Get involved in these ongoing dialogues and get someone to notice you. It is highly recommended that you use the ‘hashtag’ tool to tag phrases related to intriguing job postings. If you use Twitter to interact with potential employers, you just might tweet your way into a job!
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on January 25, 2013 at 10:20 am, and is filed under Job Search, Social Media. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the start of the New Year is a popular time of year for job seekers. This is a great time to reinvent your job search and approach it with a fresh strategy. This new strategy needs to come with an approach on how to stand out from the crowd. Throw out your generic resume, focus on growing your network and tap into your creative side.
- Tailor your resume and cover letter
Focus on your two to three of your strongest strengths and link them to the primary responsibilities of the position you are seeking. Show how you have learned new tasks and adapted to changes in past positions. An interest in learning is always appealing to hiring managers, but just don’t say it, show examples.
- Grow your network
Position yourself as an emerging leader in your field by creating a content-rich blogs and establishing strong social media presence. Try to make yourself a go-to resource or “expert” on a specific subject matter. One way to build your network of followers is to cite articles and posts from industry leaders in your field. Become active on industry social platforms, such as specialized LinkedIn groups. Don’t limit yourself to only growing your online presence; attend industry networking events to meet industry leaders and members of your industry face to face.
- Tap into your creative side
Get creative with not only the job search process, but with the application process, too. With regards to job searching, look into niche boards with focus on your industry. These boards generally have smaller applicant pools meaning less competition. During the application process, consider a video, multimedia or infographic resume, if appropriate for the position you are applying to.
Remember, you need take action. You will go nowhere fast if you don’t make any moves. You never know what could come of new job search strategies.
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on January 11, 2013 at 10:22 am, and is filed under Job Search. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Many job seekers hope to start the New Year with a new job.
As you start or continue your search, here are a few job hunting myths you should be aware of:
Myth 1: If you haven’t heard back that means the job is filled.
This is not necessarily true. Do not let this discourage you during your search. If you haven’t done so already, send a follow up email or phone call to the hiring manager for an update on the hiring process.
Myth 2: I am not the most qualified so I won’t land the job.
You’re skills and experience are very important, but personality and eagerness to learn can go just as far with employers.
Myth 3: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know that counts.
Truth is: it’s both. A good referral can get you an interview, but if you don’t have the skills and experience your referral won’t get you much further, if at all.
Myth 4: Send out as many resumes as possible.
It is not very difficult to spot out a generic resume. Be sure to tailor your resume for each job you apply for, especially for different roles. You want to showcase your talents for each position and only apply to roles you are qualified for.
Myth 5: It’s best to always accept the first offer.
Receiving a job offer is very exciting, but don’t accept an offer for the sake of an offer. Take a step back and think it over first, perhaps you can even make a pros and cons list.
Myth 6: Nobody reads cover letters.
While we all secretly wish this was true, it’s simply not the case. Cover letters are a great way to provide information that may not be effectively expressed through a resume, while also showcasing your writing skills.
Myth 7: A resume should always be one page.
Limiting your resume to one page presents a huge challenge to experienced job seekers if it means that you must also eliminate potentially important information. Make sure you include the most relevant information in the first page if you must spill onto a second page.
Want to learn about more? Click here for additional job search myths.
|Print article||This entry was posted by pyramid-admin on January 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm, and is filed under Job Search. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|