I have a number of cover letter tips to share today. The first one I learned from our Western Technical College students. Copy and paste your resume heading to the top of your cover letter! It makes your cover letter and resume look uniform and consistent. You can even choose to copy and paste it to the top of your reference page. Yes, reference page. To those of you that list your references on your resume, this is not done anymore. To do an efficient job search, you need three main documents: The cover letter, the resume and your reference page.
A cover letter is your chance to give the employer a first impression about you as a person. Your resume must be a professional and to the point document, listing your skills and abilities. A cover letter can reflect you and your personality. To those of you that only submit a resume and skip the cover letter? You are shorting yourself.
A cover letter is made of three main sections. The first paragraph is to be introductory in nature but also be eye-catching to the person who is reviewing your materials. That first paragraph should include the position you are applying for. One way to be eye-catching would be to spend 10-15 minutes reviewing the companies website….look for things that appeal to you and comment on those things in that first paragraph. You would in essence be answering the question: ” What appeals to you about working for this employer?”
The last paragraph in a cover letter is closure. You want to state what you expect to see happening. “I look forward to hearing from you.” Or, “Should you care to discuss my qualifications further, I can be reached at: ______”
The middle paragraphs (1-3) should be your sales pitch. When you are deciding what you want to say that “sells” you to the position consider this: Employers are examining candidates in three areas for the most part: Work Experience, Education and Strengths. What can you tell them about yourself in those three areas that sells you to the position opening? If it helps you to print out the position opening and highlight the skills and abilities that they are looking for, by all means do that.
Don’t forget to read your letter out loud when you are done. You can catch some problem sentences in this way. Make sure you sound professional. Watch for misspellings and make sure your spacing is business letter format spacing.
Happy Cover Letter writing!
As most of you know I have been subscribed to Career Sherpa (author Hannah Morgan) for quite some time. Today she has posted a new article that makes perfect sense to me! So I am sharing it with you. See link below.
If you will recall, I have mentioned several times that I am an expert in job seeking. I can claim this since I have been working in the field for close to 30 years. That does not mean that I can’t be open minded when new trends come along, and this new trend that Hannah is mentioning seems logical.
Besides that, guess who helped me see this? One of our students at Western, that’s who! I was doing a mock interview recently with one of our Bio Med students and his answer to “Tell me about yourself?” was not the text book answer that I would normally coach someone to give. But his answer was far more interesting to me than anything I could coach him to say! And when I read the below article from Career Sherpa this morning, it reminded me of the awesome answer our student gave to the “Tell me about yourself?” question. So my new advice? Keep your answer short and interesting! There will be chances to share your skills and abilities throughout the interview.
Another awesome article from Career Sherpa (you might want to subscribe). The following article gives great descriptions of little things you can gradually incorporate as habits to improve your networking abilities. Pay attention to etiquette (what is proper and what is not). Enjoy!
I have over 30 years of experience with employment and training, first for a non-profit and now for a Technical College. I still have ah-ha moments. Last night I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio on the way home. He was passionately stressing the importance of knowing what you want to do, what type of work you want to do BEFORE finding the right college/the right training. Now today I find an awesome article written by Hannah Morgan (Career Sherpa)(I subscribe). The link is below. What a beautiful story with some powerful meaning. Besides that, it again stresses the importance of aligning your achievements to a specific job opening (what it is you want to DO)when you are writing your resume.
PS: Remember to make a list of your talents/gifts when determining what you want to DO.
Enjoy the following article by Hannah Morgan.
It isn’t hard to figure out when you need to move on. And the feeling builds if you don’t do something about it. So how do you fit job search in when you are working, attending classes, AND caring for home and family?
One must make the time. Decide what part of your day will work best for you. Where could you squeeze in an hour or so to spend some time on job seeking activities?
Prep: An effective job search requires three main documents. You need a cover letter, a resume, and a page with your references typed on it. All three can have your resume heading on top (including all your contact information).
First: If you are a Wisconsin Technical College student, make sure you have registered on Wisconsin TechConnect. Other than that one website, (where employers go looking for our graduates), don’t waste time looking through jobs within on-line job boards. Start your job search by making a list of the companies you would like to work for. Go to those company websites and save alerts that let you know when a new job is posted. Now you can quickly check on any alerts you receive each day. Be sure to check your voice mail and email daily when you are in job search mode!
Second: Think about who you know that works at the companies on your list. Connect with these people, sharing information and building a mutually beneficial relationship, which is what networking is all about. Offer your help to the people you know. Introduce them to someone you recently met or share an article with them that you know they will be interested in.
Third: Social Media can help you do your networking. Connect with those you know through social media. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, time to create one.
Make time for your job search. If you can’t find time daily, find time on certain days of the week. Plan it out and stick to it.
Source: 6 Ways to Get Your Job Search on Track, by Hannah Morgan, 11/16/16.
I know that some of you are saying, “Really?” I need to have a LinkedIn Profile now! Isn’t job seeking hard enough!
Job Seeking isn’t easy. I can be very time consuming and some times feels fruitless. But one must be persistent. When in job search mode, always, always be persistent!
Networking has been the #1 way to find employment since before Richard Bolles wrote his first edition of “What Color is Your Parachute.”
Creating a LinkedIn Profile really isn’t that hard once you have a top notch resume. Use some of LinkedIn’s video’s to help.
A link to help students: https://students.linkedin.com
Be sure to scroll down and watch all the video’s – Enjoy!
You have graduated. You likely polished off the third and final draft of your resume as part of an assignment here at Western Technical College. Congratulations! Now to worry about interviewing. If you are lucky, one of your instructors had someone from Career Services come in to talk about the art of interviewing. We would have shared an awesome tool that can be found on our website at: https://www.westerntc.edu/finding-employment
Some tell us that “Perfect Interview” isn’t a real interview, so how can practicing in that program help? I can guarantee you that if you take the program seriously and sincerely practice with it, it WILL help you feel more confident in an interview.
How can I confidently say that? Because I know through experience that feeling confident in an interview is all about practice. Practice talking about yourself and your skills. To feel confident, you must talk out loud about your skills and abilities and say them again and again. No memorizing mind you. That is not what I mean. If you memorize, that will be obvious to the interviewer. Just practice answering interview questions out loud at home. You can use “Perfect Interview” on our website, or you can get a good book on interviewing (recommendation: Knock Em Dead Job Interview: How to turn Job Interviews into Job Offers, by Martin Yate)and practice answering questions. Please remember that you do not want to use “canned” answers. By that I mean make your answers YOUR answers to the questions. That is what I like about Martin Yate’s book. Rather than give you canned answers, he talks to you about what the employer is looking for and why he/she asked the question so that you can give your best answer from your perspective. Plus he provides help for every question you can think of. Once you spend some time practicing, your confidence sours! It is all about practice.
Below, another awesome article from CareerSherpa – by Hannah Morgan