We all know the importance of a decent cover letter and why we need to use it to sell yourself when applying for a job. However, if you aren’t careful, you could make some of the most common mistakes made and that is going to harm your chances of being successful when applying for a job.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when writing their own cover letter is giving away too much information and being too truthful. Although no one is suggesting that you should lie on your cover letter there is a possibility that you can give too much away and put them off of hiring you.
For example, writing something like “I know I don’t have much experience, but I am a quick learner” is going to do you no favors. The whole point of your resume and cover letter is to sell yourself, not to give them a reason to move you off of the “to hire/to interview” list. Another example is telling the reader (who you don’t know) the reason why you left every job, OR what has been happening in your personal life. If you have a major job gap, it’s a good idea to touch on it briefly i.e. “After taking time off to raise a family…” or “After taking a year-long personal sabbatical…” You don’t ‘need to tell the reader that you were going through a messy divorce or needed to take time off work to decompress. Some things are better left unsaid. What you say could work against you.
Rather than concentrate on the negatives, turn it into something positive – so, for example, “Based on my unique experiences, I know I would be a valuable asset to your team,” or something similar will work for you. You are telling them that you feel you would fit in and that you are already considering the team that you are likely to work with.
Remain positive and show them why you would are the right choice for the position. Including these assets in the cover letter will help you be as successful as possible when it comes to finding your perfect job.
While the job interview can be scary, it doesn’t have to be hard to make a good impression. In fact, if you follow these 8 simple tips you will be able to make it through the interview without freaking out, impress the employer, and be able to move forward with your job search process.
- Eye Contact: This is one of the most important things you can do in an interview. Making eye contact with your interviewer shows that you are confident in your expertise and interested in what your interviewer is saying. However, be careful that you are not staring your interviewer down. Be confident, not creepy.
- Smile: This will also show confidence as well as put your interviewer at ease. A smile makes people feel like you are an enjoyable person and they will mirror the smile back. When you see your interviewer smiling, it will help you feel at ease and the cycle will continue throughout the interview.
- Speak Clearly and With Purpose: If you need to, take a small moment and think about what you want to say (not too long or it will become awkward) in order to avoid using fillers such as “mm” “um” or “hmm.” This will make your answers precise, purposeful, and clear.
- Be On Time: There is nothing that will put your interviewer off more than tardiness. Their time is valuable and if you are wasting it, even for a moment, you are giving the impression that you don’t care about them or their time. Be early if you can, but do not be late.
- Be Honest: Lying is not appropriate or acceptable in the real world, so why would it be okay in a job interview? It isn’t. Be honest and it will make your life and your interview easier, as well as will prevent a termination down the road, if your lie is discovered.
- Dress Professionally: It is an easy thing to overlook, but if you go into the interview looking dingy or unkempt, then you will put off an image that you don’t care about yourself or the interviewers. Dress like you care about yourself, the job, and the interviewer, and you will be on the right path to getting the job.
- Don’t Interrupt: It seems simple enough, but it is important to remember. While you want to make sure that you express who you are and why you would be good for the job, you do not ever want to interrupt the interviewer. No matter how good you think your comment is, it is not good enough to interrupt your interviewer.
- Be Friendly: Don’t be sarcastic or rude. Even if you are having a bad day or you just want to be done with the interview, make it seem like there is nowhere else you would rather be.
Follow these tips and you will be in good standing for your interview, and, on your way to getting the job.
Looking for a new job without tipping off your current boss requires a little thought and planning. There may be reasons you want your boss to know you are looking for a different job – maybe your company is undergoing downsizing and is encouraging some employees to leave, or your boss knows that your spouse has been transferred to a dream assignment in another state and understands your need to move on – and you might even enlist her help in your search. But, in most cases, you will be more comfortable staying in your current job if your boss and your co-workers do not know you are looking elsewhere.
First of all, recognize that you owe your present employer your full attention while you are on the job. Don’t use company time and resources for your job hunt. Work on your resume on your computer at home. Take vacation days, rather than calling in sick, to go to job interviews. Contact prospective employers after office hours, either by emailing from home, mailing actual snail mail using your own stamps, or leaving voice mail messages with your cell phone as the contact number. You can check your cell phone for messages on your lunch hour or after work.
A typical job search might take several months, so you need to be careful not to drop clues all over your office that you are looking for greener pastures. It is not a good idea to show up one day wearing formal business attire to wear to an interview after work if you normally dress casually at the office. You may be oblivious to what the people around you wear, but you can be assured that somebody in your office will notice your newly pressed suit and start asking questions or spreading rumors.
Use your informal network of friends and business associates to help you find a new job. Be careful, though, to let them know that your boss does not know you are looking for new employment. Ask them not to contact job leads on your behalf, but rather to let you know about them first so you can follow up yourself in a way that will not attraction attention at your present job. Never post your resume on public spaces like Facebook, because you then have no control over who sees it, including your boss.
If you need to provide references for possible employers, it might be a good idea not to include people from your present job. Instead, keep contact with people who have left the company that were familiar with your work, or ask industry contacts outside your company if you can use them as references.
It is easier to find work when you already have a job. Put some thought into your strategy so you don’t suddenly find yourself unemployed while you seek work because your boss found out about your job search.
Going to an interview can be the most stressful part of the job search process. It is difficult not to get stressed or feel anxiety before the interview-you know there is a lot riding on the interview and how you perform during it can get you an offer or shown to the door. Being successful during a job interview is all about being impressive to your potential employer and keeping your cool.
So how do you keep your cool? With so much pressure to impress and get the job, how do you keep calm and ensure your answers effectively tell the employer why you are the best candidate for the job? While controlling your nerves during an interview may seem impossible, have no fear. We offer some tips and tricks that you can try:
- Schedule a practice interview: have friends or family set up a mock interview for you to practice, or you can go to a career counseling or career services center and see if they do mock interviews. If you have an idea of what is going to happen, you will feel more calm and will come off confident instead of nervous.
- Take deep breaths before going into your interview: It seems simple, but if you take deep breaths and focus on your breathing, then it will help slow down your heart rate and help keep your mind from racing. This will help you remain cool, calm, and collected.
- Be prepared: Have multiple copies of your resume (on resume paper) printed and ready to present in the even there is more than just the hiring manager interviewing you. Keep copies of certificates, degrees, and any other information that might be helpful in showing your value. The employer will be impressed to see that you have documents to back up your credentials.
- Smile: Smiling does a few things. It will show your interviewer confidence, help them feel more at ease, and if you do it long enough smiling can actually change how you are feeling so you are happier and more at ease during the interview.
While these strategies will help, there is nothing more important than reviewing your resume and making sure that your content is factual and that you are prepared to speak easily about your expertise and achievements. If you have been called for an interview, there is something in your resume that impressed the employer. Keep your cool, be honest and forthcoming in your answers, and clearly communicate to the employer the value you will be able to offer the company.
You’ll do great!
The days of having a generic, all-purpose resume has been replaced by the need for highly developed, targeted resumes. Now you must tailor make your resume to fit into the job description offered by the employer. Targeted resumes aren’t just a necessity, they are critical to you finding long term employment. Targeted resumes put forth your best face and allow HR Managers to see exactly what you bring to the company.
Targeted resumes enable a job seeker to market their skills by addressing a specific concern for the company. It allows them to see how your skills and past experiences will fit in closely with what they require. They also use targeted keywords that closely fit and attract attention to the needed qualifications for the position. You should play up your strengths and focus your attention there, but do not dismiss your past failures, embrace them and take responsibilities in them. But you don’t have to make them the focal point.
Chances are your resume is an all-purpose resume. What everyone likes about the all-purpose resume is that its broad and captures the wide appeal of employers. But saving time is not important, if you really want that job you have to have a complete targeted resume for each position you apply for. But don’t toss that original resume just yet, you still can use it as your base for completing your targeted resume.
Steps to creating a targeted resume
Use your all-purpose resume to build off of, this will save you some time in creating a brand new resume every time you apply for a job. It’s actually fairly easy to take your existing resume and tweak it to fit your needs. So here’s how you proceed:
Create your all-purpose resume
Think of everything that you’ve done in past jobs, experiences, education, clubs, sports teams, anything that you could use as a basis for who you are. Your all-purpose resume is the heart of your resume, employers will never see it but it will allow you to paint a lush picture of your overall capabilities.
Review the job requirements
If you find a job you are interested in, look over the job requirements in the ad. Review the requirements and see how your education and experience stack up with what they are looking for. You want the job to be a good fit and this is an important step of the process. Use the job requirements as your basis for altering your all-purpose resume. Highlight what the job requirements highlight. Tailor make your resume to fit what the company is looking for. Be careful not to overindulge.
Develop your targeted resume
When finished with researching requirements, you need to actually alter your resume. Look over your existing resume to see how you can alter it into the final product you will send to HR Managers. Add secondary keywords, accomplishments, training and skills to round out the resume. Your all set, now you just need to ace that interview.
Do you know when it’s time to move from a regular resume to an executive resume? There are a few subtle differences but will speak volumes when presented for certain types of positions.
Usually at the top of a regular resume is an objective statement. This is where a person will tell in paragraph form what they are looking for in a job and any expectations they may have. An executive resume will have an opening paragraph that will highlight their strongest points, often in bullet points and what that candidate can do for a company.
Executive resumes will typically be at least 2 pages but no more than 4. This is because they may have detailed educations, publications they have written or any awards they received. It is all relevant on an executive resume.
An executive resume will also have bolded words, highlighted or underlined sections so as to showcase their skills, achievements or awards. Additionally, the wording and structure will be much more sophisticated than regular resumes.
Once you have reached a certain level of experience, education, awards or achievements in your career which will now enable you to seek for more executive type jobs is the time to start using an executive resume.
It won’t do any good to present a regular resume when the position calls for a more professional applicant. So, don’t forget to update your regular resume to an executive resume.