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How to Write a Cover Letter

Having a good cover letter  is the most important part of your resume and application package for any job.  This is the best chance you have to sell yourself to a prospective employer. It also tells the employer all the information they need to know about you that your resume left out and why you should have the job. Think of it as an advertisement, of sorts. Learning to write a concise, informative cover letter is one of the most important steps in your career development.


Cover Letter Tips

First, tell the employer why the job and their company interest you. Just a sentence or two will do; you don’t want to look like you are over-doing things. The location or the reputation of the company are good things to mention. And a prospective employer will be flattered to know that you see them as more than a job, and took some time to familiarize yourself with the organization.

Tell the employer things that make you stand apart from the rest of the applicants. You can include volunteer work or military duties that aren’t covered in your resume. Any special job-related trait that would interest an employer should be included, but make sure to avoid irrelevant information. No employer wants to know that you played soccer in fifth grade, unless you are applying to be a soccer coach.

Keep the cover letter to about a page, single-spaced, in a 12-point font. Don’t try to cram too much information into the letter – it’s just an introduction to pique the hiring official’s interest in you, so you can land an interview and then impress them with your skills and traits.

Include the cover letter with your resume and application package. Nothing is more frustrating for a job applicant than to spend hours on an amazing cover letter, and then forget to include it when you send the rest of the information via email or regular mail.

Check your application package for mistakes, omissions and errors, and then check it again. Once your application is sent, it can’t be undone. Anything that is missing or incorrect is going to be seen by the hiring official and can cost you the job. Your attention to detail or lack thereof, before you get the job, reflects upon the type of performance the employer can expect from you once you are hired.

A good cover letter is the key to landing the job. Use these tips and make it great!


Additional Resources:

Cover Letter Template

Cover Letter Samples

Resume and Cover Letter Guide

Interview Prep: Job Interview Tips and Techniques

There are several Job Interview Tips that can help you land the job that you want.  Remember that getting an interview for a new job is fairly easy. However, getting past the interview and landing the job is the hard part.   These Job Interview Tips will help you succeed with your interview.


Best Interview Tips

  • Dress appropriately. This cannot be stressed enough. You can never over-dress for a job interview – even if the location observes a casual dress code, it’s better to dress up than down. During your interview preparation, invest in a couple of inexpensive coordinating pieces such as a jacket and slacks, or skirts for females. A nice pair of shoes, several shirts and a few ties for males will create a nice wardrobe for the interview and beyond, and can be done on even the smallest of budget.
  • Relax. A potential employer can tell when an applicant is stressed and this can sometimes be off-putting. It can also have an impact on your answers to interview questions. The job market is tight and a lot can ride on a job interview, and applicants stress themselves out trying to impress the interviewer. Just remind yourself that the right job is out there, and be yourself. Let your personality shine through, but remain professional at the same time. It’s a fine balance but can be done.
  • Think positively. Your attitude shines through in your speech and mannerisms, and a potential employer can tell if you think poorly of the company or yourself. Go into the interview with a good attitude and tell yourself that you will land the job. A positive attitude is perhaps the most important part of the whole package that makes up you.
  • Practice. Find a friend or relative that has experience with job interview tips and techniques, or seek the services of a local job service agency to help you practice. Go over your answers to common interview questions and help prepare for any tough job interview questions that an interviewer may ask of you.
  • During your interview preparation, research the company. Interviewers almost always finish up an interview by asking you if you have any questions, comments or concerns for them. Before the interview, come up with a question or a comment about the company so you can look informed and avoid an awkward silence as you struggle for something to say.

Use these  Job Interview Tips to help you when you meet a potential employer for the first time. Be prepared and if you don’t snag the first job that you find, look at each interview as practice and a chance to learn and improve for the next interview.  Following these top Job Interview Tips ensures that you are on the right job interview track.  Good luck!

Employment Opportunities: Find a Job That Fits Your Skills

Want to find a job?  The best tools around are the ones that everyone is using — you can tell because everyone is using them. The tools in question are, as you may have guessed, job boards.  But with millions of people using job boards every day, you have to do something a little different if you want to be at the head of the crowd. Here are the best techniques for finding employment opportunities on a job board:

How to Find a Job:  Employment Opportunities

  •  Learn to Search: Searching a job board for employment opportunities is significantly more complex than typing a few words into Google. At the minimum, any decent job board is going to have three elements to their search: a category, a space for keywords, and some sort of location indicator (often a zip code). The location indicator is easy, and even the category is mostly straightforward — but learning to properly use the keywords field can take a lot of experience. For example, if you want to be a retail manager, you can look for “manager” — but you’ll find more positions (and better ones) in most cases if you search for “department”, “general”, or “shift” in addition to just “manager” (depending on your goal, naturally.)
  • Automate, Automate, Automate:  When you find employment opportunities that you are interested in, you should  never automate your responses to a job listing (see the next item), but the more you automate your searches, the less time you have to spend looking and the more time you can spend replying. Many job boards allow you to create an RSS feed for any given search; others will allow you to set up an email digest of new relevant jobs for searches you’ve done in the past.
  • Personalize, Personalize, Personalize: Don’t bother replying to jobs that don’t ‘click’ with you — that’s just wasting your time and theirs. But when you do find a job that you are interested in,  take the time to really sell yourself to them. Use the words that they used in their job listing to describe yourself (just make sure it’s true.) Give them every reason to accept you as a legitimate contender for the position, and don’t back down.  Use these employment opportunities to show them that they want you, and then show them that you want them — if you can do those two things, you won’t be on the job boards for long.
  • Job Alerts:  Utilize the option of Job Alerts that many job boards offer.   By utilizing this feature you will be notified via email when positions fitting your search criteria become available.
  • Employment Application:  Many companies provide the option to apply directly online by completing their employment application online.  Take advantage of this opportunity.  Remember never give out your social security, or banking information to anyone online.

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