In an earlier blog post, we addressed your resume, specifically focusing on two aspects that can make it stand out.
In this post, we’re moving our attention from the resume to the cover letter. After all, if your cover letter isn’t put together well, your resume may not get the chance to shine.
Of course, you want to make sure that the cover letter is presented properly. This involves using the proper materials (stationary and envelopes), as well as making sure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
If you commit mistakes in either of these areas, your cover letter won’t make it very far in the hands of the hiring authority. And once again, your resume will not get a chance to shine.
So for the purposes of this blog post, let’s assume that you have presented your cover letter properly, which means that the hiring authority reads (or at least skims) the entire letter. Then what?
Well, now we move from presentation to execution. In other words, how well did your cover letter do what you wanted it to do?
Below are five ways to make your cover letter stand out:
1. Customize every cover letter you write. Find out as much as you can about the company and then customize your letter to convey your understanding of the company and what it does. Don’t just “shotgun” out form letters for numerous job openings.
2. Address an actual living, breathing person. Do NOT use “To Whom It May Concern.” By conducting some research, you should be able to find out the name and title of the person eventually reading your letter.
3. Get to the point. Explain the reason for your correspondence, make specific reference to the position for which you’re applying, and mention any prior communication or contact you’ve had with them. Brevity is your friend.
4. Tailor yourself to the position. Mention prior experience that shows how you’re a potential fit for the position, including tangible ways in which you helped your previous employers. But once again, be brief.
5. ASK for an interview. In sales, the salesperson should always ask for the sale. So you should ask for an interview in your cover letter. That’s the next logical step in the process, so display confidence that you’ll be taking it.
Landing a new job is all about standing out from the crowd. Now that you know how to accomplish that with both your resume and your cover letter, your job search will be that much more effective.
With the fourth quarter of the year just around the corner, the employment marketplace is entering the “home stretch” of 2014, so to speak.
As a result, it seems like an opportune time to ask this question: Is your team burned out?
It’s a fair question, considering the state of the economy since the Great Recession occurred five years ago (and since there are many pundits and analysts who believe that we’re still feeling the effects of that recession). Frankly, it’s a question that every manager and team leader should be asking themselves.
After all, the employees that are usually most at risk for burnout are your best workers—overachievers who want to accomplish as much as humanly possible every single day.
Isn’t it ironic? If you have a team comprised largely of overachievers, that team is more at risk for burnout.
That’s precisely why every manager and team leader should consider the following five steps for keeping their team from getting burned out:
1. Assess the situation. Simply put, what’s the mood? Are team members irritable? How do they interact with each other? Are they dealing with multiple deadlines and potentially stressful situations? If possible, pull a few of your more trusted employees aside and solicit their input.
2. Acknowledge the situation. If your team is at risk, communicate to team members that you understand what’s going on. Believe it or not, just the fact that they know you know will actually help to alleviate their stress level.
3. Incorporate more variety in the workday. Doing the same tasks over and over can contribute to burnout. Cross-training employees will not only relieve their stress, but will also make them more valuable and ultimately, more productive.
4. Offer more flexibility. Employees need flexibility in their schedule in order to attain a healthy work-life balance. Strive to offer that flexibility. A little bit can go a long way.
5. Have more FUN. Nothing combats stress better than fun. Have a “food day” in the office, or hold an annual cookout. Events like these relieve stress, and they also help to build camaraderie and contribute to a more positive company culture.
Are the members of your team burned out? Are they on their way to becoming burned out?
This is the time of year when you find out whether or not you’re going to achieve the goals you’ve set for team and its members . . . and also which goals you’re going to set for next year.
Make sure that your team is operating at the top of its game and NOT at risk for flaming out.
Choosing to work for a bigger company as opposed to a smaller company can be a decision that’s based as much upon a person’s personality and individual preference as on anything else.
After all, some people just feel more comfortable working at one, as opposed to the other. However, there are certain criteria to consider when weighing the pros and cons of each one. That’s because, no matter your personal preference, there are pros and cons for each one.
Below is a breakdown of five criteria involved in deciding which size of organization is right for you:
1. Resources—As expected, bigger companies hold the edge in this department. They do so not only in terms of money, but also in terms of equipment. Since they can usually afford the most up-to-date hardware and software, their employees enjoy the privilege of working with them. This is sometimes not the case with smaller companies.
2. Growth and development opportunities—Working at a smaller company could give you the chance to wear many hats, allowing you to learn new skill sets and acquire additional knowledge. At a larger organization, where roles are more clearly defined, growth opportunities might take the form of special training classes (paid for by the company).
3. Salary/compensation—As with resources, larger companies have deeper pockets to pay out more in salary, compensation, and benefits. However, smaller companies can often compete with the big boys. Other advantages they offer are more timely raises and a more flexible schedule.
4. Recognition—Those who crave recognition (and crave it on a consistent basis) may find employment at a smaller company more palatable. That’s because the close-knit nature of the organization is more conducive to a company culture where both formal and informal recognition is an integral part of employee retention efforts.
5. Pace—Work at a smaller company usually transpires at a faster pace than a larger one, sometimes out of necessity more than anything. On the other hand, processes at a larger company are slower and more deliberate. So that makes the pace at which you enjoy working quite important.
Ultimately, the key to choosing the right size of organization is knowing what you want in terms of your employment and your career. Knowing what’s important to you is a major step in deciding if you’d like to work for a bigger company or a smaller one.
What are the things you want to accomplish and in what timeframe do you want to accomplish them? How important is skill development and training? What role does compensation play in your decision?
Which company is right for you?
The importance of a candidate’s resume can’t be overstated. After all, if a hiring manager has the choice of two candidates they consider equal in every other way, how do you suppose they’ll “break the tie,” so to speak?
With the candidates’ resumes, that’s how.
Your resume is the “hook” that helps you navigate the entire hiring process. First, it gets your foot in the door with a phone interview. Then, if you secure a face-to-face interview, it should ideally create a positive impression of you for those who are conducting that interview.
Without an impressive interview, it’s difficult to create the kind of opportunities you’re seeking during a job search. That’s why your resume must stand out from the crowd.
However, how exactly do you accomplish that?
Obviously, the way to NOT accomplish that is by exaggerating on your resume or by outright lying. That is never an acceptable strategy, no matter how justified you might feel by implementing it. Not only is it unethical, but it also backfires far more often than you think.
No, the way to stand out is not to add false information to your resume. The way to stand out is to focus on the content that’s already in your resume. Specifically, you should focus on doing the following two things to that content:
1. Strengthen the content by emphasizing your skills, expertise, and experience in relation to the position for which you’re applying.
2. Make the content more attractive by enhancing its presentation, which includes its style and format.
It helps to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. What would you want to see on a candidate’s resume? What would impress you? What would stand out?
Not only that, but your resume should also provide the following three pieces of information:
1. How you present (brand) yourself
2. What you’ve accomplished in the past
3. What you’re capable of accomplishing in the future
The strongest candidate doesn’t always get the job. The candidate that submits the strongest resume usually does. Make sure that candidate is you.
Time Staffing Inc.