Posted tagged ‘job hunting’

Building to a Tipping Point

December 15, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell begins his discussion in The Tipping Point with an explanation of how ideas, behaviors, messages and products spread the same way that viruses do. Like epidemics, successfully marketed products are contagious; small changes can have large impacts; and changes happen in a hurry.
When job hunting, you can consider yourself the product being marketed. As with a product, these three things are important. By making yourself “contagious,” you make sure that your abilities and news that your job hunting pass quickly through your network and beyond. Small changes, such as making a new acquaintance or volunteering to work an event, can have a big impact on your success. Remembering to write out a personalized thank you note, and mailing it in may be exactly the touch needed. Finally, when a job becomes available, chances are good things will move quickly and you need to be ready for that, by having a resume prepared for each type of job you are interested in.

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How to Write a Cover Letter

October 13, 2008

Cover letters are a must-have in today’s job world. Even if, sadly, most of them do not get read. Without one, you stand out as unprepared. With one, you stand a chance to catch the readers attention, present yourself and your resume in a little more detail and explain (briefly) why they should want you.

Do not put what you do not know, or what you want to know in your cover letter. The company wants to know what you can do for them; not what they can do for you. They are paying you – not the other way around.

Most cover letters are 3 paragraphs long. Any longer, and you will lose interest. Here is a break down of what should be in each paragraph:

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How to Write a Resume

August 8, 2008

The most important thing to remember when writing a resume is that it will probably only be glanced at. Hiring managers will probably be sorting through a pile, and be looking for something to jump out at them. So make sure that your resume will catch someone’s interest in under 30 seconds.

How? By following these steps (These are things I’ve learned – some by trial and error, and some through very good advice).

Best Foot Forward
Put the most interesting things about you, the things that are most relevant to that job, at the top. Most resumes have several sections, including (but not limited to): experience, education, activities, awards and computer skills. If you have really rare computer skills, and those are what the job ad specificially mentions the company is looking for, put that up front. Often, people put things in order according to a sample resume or random format someone told them worked. The truth is, putting your best foot forward (and your relevant information at the top of the sheet) will help catch and keep a hiring managers attention.

No Mistakes
Your resume is your first impression. It is unlikely you’d walk into a job interview with a stain on your shirt; why should you submit a resume with spelling errors or typos? Re-read your resume. Have other people read your resume. Believe it or not, I’m a professional editor, and for about 3 months I didn’t catch a typo on my own resume. I showed it to career couselors, my parents, everyone – it wasn’t until I showed it to a college friend, that she finally noticed a mistake. Have everyone you can look your resume over.

Don’t be Boring
A good friend of mine has on his resume that he knows how to make hummus. Believe it or not, this is what landed him his current job. He was applying for financial jobs – but when he went in for the interview, his interviewer asked about this unique skill. They got into a conversation about it; he got the job. If there is something unique or interesting about you, or something that you feel pasionate about don’t be afraid to mention it. It’ll help you stand out when the interviewer is looking at 5 resumes, all qualified, with the same skills and knowledge. Four resumes may be boring, but yours will show that not only are you qualified, but you’re an interesting person too.

It’s a resume – not a teenage girl’s notebook
Teenage girls in highschool have a tendency to write the name of their crush over and over – in different handwriting, just initials, last name, first name – every combination you can image. Your resume should not look like this. Use one font. Use bold only for important information (on my resume, the company names are bold, as are the two colleges I attended; nothing else is.) Be careful about embellishments.

Postive, Active and Concise
Most people use bullet points on their resume; I recommend this. However, your bullet point should not be more then one line. You should be concise and positive. Don’t put anything on your resume that you hated doing (what if an employer decides you’d be perfect to do that all over again?). Think numbers. (good example: I researched, conducted interviews for, and wrote 3-6 articles a month for 4 magazines). You probably didn’t notice but in that example I also used active voice. Try to avoid being passive. (Bad Example: Articles in several magazines have been written by me; I did this every month). This is probably the most difficult part of resume writing; but if done correctly it can also make all the difference.

Shine baby shine.
Finally, make sure you contact information is on EVERYTHING (Cover letter, resume, writing samples, etc) that you send to a potential employer. You don’t want to WOW them then not get the job because they couldn’t find your phone number!

Other Relevant Links:
How to Write a Cover Letter
Advertising Yourself: Resume & Cover Letter

Advertising yourself: resume and cover letter

April 1, 2008

Reading my textbook for the class I’m taking on Writing for the Media this week I realized how much writing a cover letter is really advertising for yourself. We were doing a section on ads, and had to write copy platforms – for a advertising campaign.

When you’re looking for a job, that becomes your advertising campaign. You are advertising yourself – so you should keep in mind all the things that ‘sell’ you. Basically, you should create a copy platform for yourself.

Unless you’ve studied marketing, that probably doesn’t help you much. So heres the break down:

A copy platform is, according to our text book, “a way of getting ideas and information of an advertising situation down on paper and of organizing those ideas in such a way that effective advertising copy can be produced from them.”

It is putting down on paper:

  • The Ad subject (You)
  • The Ad problem (getting you a job)
  • The product characteristics (in a few short bullet points, your best selling points with facts and details included – what you have to offer in a much shorter version then your resume)
  •  Ad objective (getting you a job),
  • Market (types of places you’re applying)
  •  Competition (things other people that are applying don’t have or are unlikely to have that you do – you’re advantage),
  • A statement of benefit or appeal (the one or 2 TOP points, things you are offering a potential employer)
  • Creative theme (come up with your own slogan or maing selling point)
  • Supportive selling points (again, selling points but put in a way that can is short and precise)

The entire piece should still be less then a page. I’ve attached one I did for myself as an example. I think that doing one of these before going in for an interview would help set in your mind exactly what you want to convey to the potential employer. You want to make sure all this information comes across clearly in your cover letter and that it is part of your (much broader ) resume. Then, when you sit down for an interview, you can hit all your points and ‘sell yourself’ to your interviewer. It will make you come across as confident and organized and, if you do a good job, they will be ‘sold’ on your product – yourself.

Copy Platform

Our text book is : Writing for the Mass Media by James Glen Stovall

Other Relevant Posts:
How To Write a Resume
How To Write a Cover Letter