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“Do I really have to write a cover letter?” Is a common question asked by those in the job search. The short answer: yes. The long answer: yes, you should write a cover letter. Cover letters help to tell a story that is hard to convey in a resume. It is your chance to push for an interview and answer any questions your employer might have by looking at your resume. Make sure your cover letter stand out by avoiding these three cover letter fails.
Fail #1 | Assuming “One-Size Fits All”
Your cover letter should address specific needs the employer expressed in the job description and should be customized to every employer. Think about cover letters like mail. No one enjoys receiving really generic mail that is addressed “Dear Current Resident”, just like employers don’t enjoy reading really vague and generic cover letters.
Fail #2 | Repeating Your Resume
Your cover letter is a supporting document to your resume. You should not repeat any accomplishment statements or stories that are told on your resume in your cover letter. Instead, pick two or three experiences or projects that are most relevant to the job description and go into more detail about how your experiences match what they are looking for in the job posting.
Fail #3 | Making Your Cover Letter About You
It’s not about you. Your cover letter is your chance to flatter the employer with how much you know about them through your research and how much you want to contribute to their goals and mission. Let your enthusiasm and excitement shine, but leave statements about what you’d gain from the position out of the cover letter.
Cover letters can be tricky to write but are so crucial for standing out in today’s job market. If you are still unsure of how to customize your cover letter and make your accomplishments shine, I’d love to chat – click HERE now!
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We’ve all heard the phrase, it’s all about who you know when it comes to the job search. At first, the idea of networking and building connections might feel overwhelming. You might tell yourself you can’t network because you are introverted, you don’t know how to talk about yourself, or maybe you think it isn’t important for your field. Here is your reality check: networking is necessary for everyone, in every field. These three tips are here to help you make the most of your time while networking.
#1 | Have a Pitch: Having an elevator pitch is crucial to networking. More often than not, networking will be more conversational than just walking up to someone and talking for 30-seconds about yourself. However, the point of having a pitch is to provide you with the language to talk about your skills, achievements, and goals. If you have that plan you’ll be able to bring your pitch into conversations at formal networking events or even at a family barbeque. Don’t have a pitch? Think through this formula: current + past + future. What are you currently doing? How has your past shaped where you are now? Where do you want to go next?
#2 | Set Goals to Put Yourself Out There: Have a goal for why you want to network. Exploring careers? In a new place? Maybe you simply want to expand your network. While you’re setting the purpose of your networking, you also want to set a timeframe. Want to attend two networking events a month? Great! Put it in your calendar to help hold yourself accountable.
#3 | Don’t Save Networking for the Job Search: Many people believe networking is only beneficial during the job search, however, if you save networking for just the job search it may seem forced. You want your networking to be more focused on relationship building than asking for a job. If you are continuously thinking about networking throughout your career, you’ll have that established rapport and network to lean on when you need it.
Take advantage of that next networking opportunity and focus on getting to know others while also building long-term relationships. YOUR next job opportunity could come from someone you haven’t met yet—get out there and start establishing rapport with individuals in your industry.
Need more advice? Download our FREE Top 5 Resume Tips for New Professionals!
Whether I am working with a CEO, a customer service manager, or a teacher, I consistently see the same resume mistakes over-and-over again. Remember—if you haven’t written a resume in five or more years, things have changed! Please see the list below for the most common resume mistakes and how to avoid them. CLICK HERE TO CONTACT ME NOW!
Tip #1 – Don’t include personal details. Believe it or not, people sometimes include photos, marital status, and personal hobbies. Photos and personal details allow individuals to pre-judge you BEFORE you even get to the interview. Stay with professional information and documentation.
Tip #2 – Don’t include SO MUCH information. I understand that your work history is important and it’s difficult to know where to ‘draw the line’ with what is and what isn’t included. However, including everything makes NOTHING stand-out. Focus on what that particular employer needs to know about you. Keep the information concise and on-target for your desired positions.
Tip #3 – Beware of strange formatting. Don’t decide to utilize three different fonts, some clip art, and various colors. It’s very important to be consistent with your formatting and to give your resume a clean, cohesive, and consistent appearance. Remember – a recruiter or hiring manager is most likely only reviewing the document for about 5-7 seconds…you do NOT want that person to be distracted by formatting.
Tip #4 – Ensure space is utilized. Your resume contains prime real estate and we want that real estate to work for us. Put a header at the top of your resume instead of the word “Summary.” Mention your past positions or future desired positions by stating something like, “Executive-Level Administrative Assistant” or “Entry-Level Accounting Professional.” And, don’t include things like hobbies and volunteerism if you have more pertinent and relevant information that is DIRECTLY related to your future roles.
The tips listed here are just the start of things to consider when crafting your updated resume. If you are still unsure of how to include certain information or what sections you need to use on your resume, I’d love to chat – click HERE now!
Click HERE to access my Writing a Brilliant Bio Guide NOW!
Do you feel the dread when someone asks for your bio? You probably worry about what to write, how much information to include, and the best way to weave everything together. You are NOT alone. It’s common for people to feel like they are bragging, over-estimating their skills, and are exaggerating their achievements within their bios. I’m here to tell you this: If it happened, then it’s a FACT. And, you are NOT bragging. In fact, you are giving people the ability to get to know you better and to connect with you further.
Here is a snippet of my 5 Tips for Writing Your Bio free download:
1. Identify Your Purpose. Why are you writing this bio? Are you speaking at an event? What is your topic? Is your bio for a social media site? Who will be reading the information? Think of your bio from the target audience point-of-view.
2. Shorter is Better. Impressive people have shorter bios. People—audience members and readers—have short attention spans. Don’t assume that you have to tell your life story.
3. Put the Most Important Information First. If you have an impressive certification, award, or educational background, call-it-out immediately. When considering whether or not someone should read your article or listen to your presentation, think of WHY they should…if you are an expert in your field, then talk about that FIRST.
4. Add Some Personality. If you have something unique to you that sets you apart from others, talk about it. Don’t squash your personality so that your bio sounds like all the rest. Often, it can be that little bit of personality that someone will remember.
5. Read and Rewrite. Challenge yourself to review your bio on a regular basis; things change, jobs shift, and people evolve. Don’t write it and forget it. Instead, ask a friend to evaluate your bio, discuss possible changes, and keep the file so that you can easily make modifications.
If you are ready to GO FOR IT and write your own bio, download my Writing a Brilliant Bio: A Step by Step Guide – it offers examples of completed bios, questions you can answer to get started, a YouTube tutorial, slides from a 45-minute presentation, and the 5 Tips for Writing Your Bio download – it’s a 17-page comprehensive guide that will allow you to create a bio that gets NOTICED.
And, if you still have questions, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
When you decide to rewrite your resume, you need to consider the different sections to include, which information that needs to be addressed, and how to position your education within the document. Whether you have a high school education, three college degrees, or have attended workshops that align with your future career goals, it is important to know how to list education on your resume. Check out the tips below for the best ways to highlight your training and educational experiences.
Tip #1 – List education after job history. I typically place education after professional experience UNLESS the person graduated within the last few months and has ZERO professional experience. For the most part, after you have worked for a couple of years, your experience outweighs your education.
Tip #2 – If you didn’t graduate from college, you can still list the experience—without listing the degree. For example, if you attended two years of college for business, but didn’t graduate, you could list it as follows: Business Administration Coursework – ABC University.
Tip #3 – You do NOT need to include your graduation year. This is true no matter if you graduated high school, college, or attended 10 workshops. At some point, when you start to put a graduation date of 20+ years ago, you will find yourself open to potential age discrimination. And, the date works both ways: someone who graduated last week may be perceived as “not knowing anything,” and someone that graduated in 1990 may be perceived as being “old.”
Tip #4 – GPA is not a necessity. Now, if you graduated from college last Saturday and had a 4.0 GPA, that may be the highlight of your document. If so, then definitely include it. At that point, you probably haven’t had a lot of time to grow your professional history. However, if you graduated in 1993 and had a 4.0 GPA, it’s probably not as important today.
Tip #5 – Not ALL education needs to be included. For example, if you attended a technical college for one year, then worked for a while, and eventually earned your degree from a different college, you only need to put the information for THAT institution. Simply list the degree and from where it was earned—that’s it.
Consider all of your education, workshops, and seminars as an opportunity for you to showcase your desire for continuous learning while demonstrating your entire knowledge base. And, if you still have questions about where and how to include education on your next resume, contact me today!