Monthly Archives: January 2011

Shopping for a Job in a Crowded Store

I have friends and family who live for Black Friday.  They love getting up at 2:00 a.m. and fighting the crowds for those amazing sales.  I don’t know about you, but I am still in my Turkey coma at that time and want to sleep.   For me, this experience rates right above my dislike for rush hour traffic and grocery shopping after work.  CROWDS!  I want to shop when the stores are quiet, the selection is great, and the odds of me receiving great service are high. 

If you are anything like me when it comes to shopping, then ask yourself if you prefer the same experience in your job search? 

Job boards are great, but think of the volume of people sitting in the comfort of their homes surfing the Internet and applying for jobs?  It’s mind-boggling.  And be sure to not forget about the number of people applying for these jobs who aren’t even qualified. 

Serious job seekers are shopping for something very targeted and want great service—they want to be noticed.  How do you expect to be noticed in the crowded database of applicants if all you do is just apply for jobs online? 

The solution for a high selection and high service job search experience is to do it the old fashioned way:  personal interaction.  Talk to people, and I mean real people with your voice.  In our technology age of texting, this concept might seem a bit foreign, but it’s tried and true.  Pick up the telephone, share a cup of coffee with a subject matter expert, attend a reception, it doesn’t matter.  Just get in front of people. 

Online resources should primarily be used as a research tool when it comes to seeking employment. Speaking with people and building relationships render the best job selection and best service. 

Quality, Service, Selection = Time, Relationships, Networking = Succesful Job Search Experience.

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7 Deadly Sins of Cover Letter Writing

Nearly every time I receive a cover letter for editing, the job candidate warns me ahead of time that their letter will need a lot of work.  In as much as job seekers do not like to write resumes, they almost always detest having to write a cover letter.  Before you send your next cover letter, make sure you are not committing one of these seven deadly sins with your letter. 

  1. To Whom It May Concern:  This outdated introduction is number one on my list of the 7 Deadly Sins of Cover Letters. To Whom It May Concern or Dear Sir screams laziness.  With the Internet, today’s job seekers CAN find the name of the HR professional or hiring manager with just a bit of effort.   
  2. Start the letter with the word “I”:   Yes, YOU are the one looking for a job, but the reader needs help and isn’t all that concerned with your wants and needs.  By starting your letter with the word “I”, you are immediately making your letter about you.  Basic marketing and advertising will teach you to focus your campaign on the customer.   
  3. Groupie without skills:  It is no secret to those who know me that I love Cinderella, but Disney is not going to interview or hire me because I talk about this beloved Disney Princess.  My passion for the organization and its business and customer is important, but I have to first prove I can do the job at hand.  
  4. I feel, I think, I believe:   If you aren’t confident in your ability, then how can you expect a company to be confident in you?  Show your confidence!    Highlight your contributions and the value you have brought to past experience.  
  5. I am seeking experience:  What you want isn’t all that important to the reader.  Have you ever heard the statement that you will only get what you want in life after you give someone else what they want first?  What you want will be the result of giving someone else what they want. Find out what they need…..and be the solution. 
  6. Form letter as opposed to tailored to specific company:  Form cover letters can be spotted a mile away.  Canned letters are boring especially those that only reiterate what is clearly stated on the resume.  Cover letters need to be tailored for each company and position.   
  7. MISTAKES:  I’m not only talking about typographical errors here.  Here are some common yet deadly mistakes in cover letter writing:
    1. a.      Addressing your letter to one company yet targeting another in the body of the letter.
    2. b.      Misspelling the company or contact name
    3. c.       Forgetting your phone number or email

Cover letters focus on the value you can bring to a future employer.  You are the product or service that provides the solution to what business needs.  By avoiding these 7 deadly sins, you will find the message of your cover letters will be more customer focused.  Now, go and sin no more.