job search tips

More words = More Qualified? Wrong. Three Cover Letter Tips for the Modern Job Search.

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I used to jam pack all the words I could on a page to describe why I was the best candidate for the job in my cover letters. More words = more qualified, right?

Wrong.

The verbosity of complex experiences doesn’t mean more readership, it means less. Do you have that person in your life that is constantly talking versus the one who refrains, but when s/he does speak up - it is profoundly worthwhile to listen? Be the latter in your cover letter.

The purpose of a cover letter is to illustrate how you are the perfect (or near perfect!) candidate for the job. Land an interview to tell more! Here’s how:

+ The job posting is your compass. Demonstrate your skills and qualifications for the job by first knowing what experience the company/job are requiring. Customize your letter accordingly.

+ Use bullet points to draw attention to hard and soft skills, education and/or professional experiences relevant to the posting. Let your text breathe with white space. Pack a punch with succinct sentences and powerful accomplishments.

+ Highlight memorable stories. Those applying for the position have a similar skill set. Convey what makes you unique. Illustrate your skills instead of listing them. Share a distinct professional accomplishment or a personal story tying yourself to the company or brand values. Stand out!

Give yourself the advantage by sending a strong cover letter even if not required of the posting.

What are your best cover letter tricks?

Find Strength in your Job Search

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Take a note from The Terminator. If you are feeling discouraged or facing obstacles you are developing mental muscles.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

How can you develop strength in your job search?

💪🏻 Lean on your people. You will face rejection and discouragement. Seek out personal cheerleaders that will speak the truth about who you are and give you a boost of encouragement.

💪🏻 Try something new. If you are facing walls in your job search - switch it up! Go for a quick win by talking to someone new, researching a new target company or complete a #linkedin learning course to enhance your #skills.

💪🏻 Flex your physical muscles. Take time to take care of yourself. Complete the workout or go for a walk. Do a physical activity that you enjoy!

Ask the Experts: How Do I Get Noticed by Employers?

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It is a privilege to be a National Resume Writer Association’s Ask The Experts Contributor answering how to get noticed by employers when you aren’t getting callbacks from your online applications. Check out my answer along with other experts on their blog.

Psst! I’ll let you in on the secret: connect with people more than job boards.

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Don't forget O*NET - A Trusted Career Resource

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Are you looking for reliable career information? Check out this oldie, but goodie online resource:

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.

 Locate dependable occupational information and use advanced search functions to:

📌Find what’s hot. Identify growing industries.

📌Reverse look-up job titles. Use keywords to discover a new-to-you or unusual job.

📌Skill-based search. Find a new career based on your unique skill set.

Exchange fear with confidence in your job search. Unlock the door of opportunity and hire Meg for a one-hour job search strategy session.

Psst! One secret that will land you the Interview.

How important is LinkedIn really in the job search? New research findings by ResumeGo has our answer. The study found that job applicants who listed their LinkedIn URL (that led to a robust profile) on their resume were 71% more likely to land an interview than those that didn’t.

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So, there are two takeaways here:

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1.   Include your custom LinkedIn URL hyperlink on your resume AND

2.   Spend time crafting a comprehensive, on-brand profile.

Increase your chances of landing an interview by making a good digital first impression.

Need help unlocking the door to your next opportunity? Check out our writing and coaching services here.

Find your Person: 4 Cover Letter Writing Strategies

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Dear Whom It May Concern:

Nope. Try Again.

Attention Hiring Manager:

There is a better way.

Write to a person and make it personal when writing your cover letter. While a bot will typically be sifting through your career documents first, a PERSON will be hiring you.

Take time to find out who will read your cover letter and address it to them. A few simple tricks to track down your reader:

- Company website. Search the staff page for the person behind the job title listed in the posting.

- LinkedIn. Leverage your connections and the search function to track down the 'who' for your letter.

- Call the company. Inquire over the phone. You mean use my phone to actually *call* someone?! Yes! Chat with the receptionist/ administrative assistant (whoever answers!) and ask who you can direct your cover letter to.

-Sleuth. Use Hunter [dot] io to track down any professional email address. You will need a first and last name and company name.

What other tricks do you have up your sleeve to find your cover letter reader?

Remote Work is here to Stay: Is it right for You?

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Remote work is here to stay. It's not all laptop beach photos and working in your PJs. Remote workers report feelings of loneliness and isolation in Buffer's State of Remote Work 2019 report. A few considerations to ponder before accepting a remote gig.

According to those surveyed, 99% of remote workers want to work remotely (at least some of the time) for the rest of their careers. 95% of those same workers encouraged others to do the same.

Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Doist, said “remote work isn't just a different way to work – it's a different way to live," with workers enjoying a great sense of flexibility for both work and play.

However, many in-office professionals don't see behind the sexy side of remote work. 22% of remote workers have difficulty unplugging from work and 19% experience loneliness, a slight uptick from Buffer's 2018 report.

When on the hunt for a new gig, consider if remote work is right for you. Take into account:

+ A workspace in your home. 84% surveyed work from home. Ensure you have an area that is primarily dedicated to your work in the hours you need it.

+ Remote costs. Most companies do not cover costs associated with working remotely like the internet, a co-working membership or drinks when working from your local coffee shop.

+ A community to support you. To combat feelings of isolation and loneliness ensure there is collaboration across company channels as well as in your personal life.

Design your Network with Three Types of People

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You are the boss of your own network. Design it thoughtfully.

Whether you realize it or not, you are already part of a variety of systems. You may just be so embedded in them that you can’t see them. Think about people in your circles at work, socially, geographically, family, community, schools, church, etc.

These are your natural networks! While some circles are chosen for you based on your workplace or where you send your kid to school, others you can take ownership. 

Intentionally ADD people that ADD value.

Typically, a valuable network has these three types of people in it:

Connectors. People who have large networks themselves and know a lot of different people. Their natural matchmaking capabilities see opportunities for people around them.

Champions. People who want to see you succeed; cheerleaders that will speak your message without external motivation.

Experts. Natural teachers who have particular expertise. Experts are imperative to your network because they can supply you with the information you need.

Build and nurture your network now by offering value to those around you. Not just when you need something.

Consider: Which type are you? Who is most valuable to you?

Join a collaborative community of professionals who are intentional about nurturing their personal and professional growth. Oh, and access to free/discount services sweetens the deal too! 😉 Join here.



Take your Job Search to the Next Level with Gumption

I’ve been chatting with some pretty amazing (and successful!) professionals recently and I’m finding a common thread in their stories: Gumption.

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GUMPTION [/ˈɡəmpSH(ə)n/]: A spirited initiative or resourcefulness.

I love that phrase - ‘spirited initiative.’ When applied to the job search it could take on many forms particularly in how you present yourself, in-person and within your career documents.

If you or your search is feeling lackluster, seek to:

+ Engage people. Proactively connect with people and I don’t just mean in the typical ask-someone-to-a-coffee-meeting sort of way. Really show interest in people with your body language and eye contact. Smile. Notice the admin to the CEO on the daily.

+ Address pain points. Connect your professional accomplishments with a target company’s challenges through story via cover letter, resume and at the interview.

+ Take risks. Apply for jobs where you don’t meet every qualification. Connect with people that seem out of your league. Try that freelance gig on the side. People who take risks aren’t afraid to fail (ahem, learn;)

+ Write notes by hand. After an interview genuinely thank the interviewer for having you. Restate your interest in the position and recall a memorable moment of discussion.

How has gumption taken you to the next level? Where can you apply it in your job search?