29 May 2014
Imagine if an employer gave you the chance to write a personal essay on why their company is perfect for you, and why you are perfect for their company. You’d be free to describe just how much working there would mean to you, be able to express yourself and your strong suits articulately, and best of all, directly address the person in charge of hiring. Well, guess what? That opportunity exists – and it’s called a cover letter. Though you may not be able to be as uninhibited as you might wish, a cover letter is an essay of sorts that can differentiate your application from the next, and add a refreshing, personal touch to your application materials. Whereas your resume is a factual, referential document that summarizes professional details including your work history, qualifications, and experience, your cover letter allows you to speak in a more expressive manner on your background, skills, and highlights of your career and education (the latter, particularly applicable if you are a recent grad). The objective when writing a cover letter should be to support the assertions of your resume, expand on your best professional attributes, and interest the hiring manager enough so that you get a call for an interview. To do this, make sure that you write about how your qualities and qualifications will allow you to push the business forward and benefit their overall goals. If you want to write a cover letter that describes you to a T, cover these bases: Clarify what position you’re applying for Describe why their specific company appeals to you Touch upon your skills, experience, and competencies in order to show what you offer Refer to a story that illustrates your abilities to show them, not just tell them Describe why your fit is just right for the position Thank them for their time and consideration Above all else, aim to customize and personalize the letter for your audience, and write it with the position you’re applying for in mind. Make sure to showcase the skills that are the most relevant for the job, as well as your credentials that best support your claim that you are the right person. Finally, don’t forget to have a fresh pair of eyes look over your letter to make sure it accomplishes this.
29 May 2014
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
A common question amongst many job seekers is how to overcome “imperfections” they may have on their resume. Nobody has a flawless resume—some may not have enough experience to fill out a full page, for example—but where there are imperfections, there are solutions to overcome them. Your resume should be a tool that works in your favor with prospective employers, not a roadblock that keeps you from the job. So if you’re currently on the job hunt and have concerns about your resume, look no further: here’s Jesse Siegal, Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s temporary staffing division, explaining the top 5 resume imperfections and how to overcome them: The imperfection: Your resume is “too long” The solution: Despite the very real need for your resume to be concise and well-organized—and what many may tell you employers want to see—there is actually no golden rule for resume length. We recommend that professionals with up to 10 years of experience limit their resume to one page and those with 10 and above stretch to two, but ultimately, the most important aspect of your resume is that it paints a comprehensive picture of you as a professional that aligns with the open position’s needs. If you feel your resume is on the lengthy side, try transferring your information to a functional or skills-based format by focusing on your skills and accomplishments at the top and moving your employment history to the bottom. The imperfection: Your resume is “too short” The solution: Again, there is no magic length for any resume. But if you’re a new grad, for example, and don’t have much experience to work with, it can be difficult to fill out a substantial resume. Still, there are ways to focus on and highlight experiences and achievements in the jobs you’ve had. List all your relevant internships, volunteer work, temporary work, and education, focusing on your accomplishments at each location. Be sure to draw specific parallels between your experiences and skills and those required of the job. This approach also works for those who have significant experience, but only with one company: focusing on each position you’ve had there, as well as promotions and major projects, can help flesh out a resume and give an employer better insight into your history. The imperfection: Job-hopping The solution: Thankfully, job-hopping isn’t nearly as looked down upon in the job market today as it once was; in fact, millennials are now averaging just over two years at each employer. Still, having a jumpy resume can potentially raise some red flags for employers, so you should address this within your resume itself. Include reasons for your job change in parentheses next to each job so employers know the reasons: for example, including “(department was outsourced”) next to the position it applies to in your employment history. This way, an employer knows the reason for the move up-front rather than playing the guessing game. The imperfection: Not enough experience The solution: It’s okay to apply for a job you don’t have quite enough experience for as long as you aren’t completely out of the ballpark. However, if you have 3 years of experience and the position requires 4 or 5, you’ll need to go the extra mile to show why you’d be a good fit. Highlight your education, accomplishments and achievements, and any volunteer work that may apply to the position and show you’re capable of its demands. As always, be sure to draw specific parallels between your qualifications and the position’s requirements. The imperfection: Gaps in your employment history The solution: If you’ve spent six or more months unemployed at any point in your employment history and it shows on your resume, be sure to fill in the gap. Describe what you’ve done in that time to stay relevant and keep your skills sharp by focusing on things like temporary work or independent contracting, continuing education, volunteering, etc. As long as you have something to show for the time you spent between jobs, most employers will be understanding.