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Personalize Cover Letters: No More Excuses For Not Having A Name

Taking the time to personalize cover letters makes a difference. Case in point: that dream job at that awesome company you’ve been eyeing for a long time has FINALLY opened up. But the bad news is that while you are all pumped up about pulling all of your career credentials together, you realize… “Oh crud, I don’t know the name of the hiring manager over there…” Don’t despair. You can personalize cover letters. Avoid resorting to the “easy button” nebulousness of the boilerplate phrase of “To Whom It May Concern.”  That could be the death knell of your application. You… Read »




Spring Cleaning: Freshen Up Your Career Documents

It’s springtime!  Cue the singing birds, blooming flowers, and that warm promise in the air that summer is just around the corner. Ahhh… what a wonderful feeling! But to borrow a page out of our hardy forebears, this isn’t where one gets to rest on their laurels… time’s a-wastin’!  It’s time to do much-needed deep cleaning. But I’m not talking about purging the garage, or moving the couch to get at those annoying dust bunnies. Instead, let’s zero in on your career documents.  Why? Because most people let them gather dust and only clear them off to see the light… Read »




Career Chameleon 2.0: Six Tips You Need to Know Before Changing Industries

Let’s face it: the days of yesteryear when people slogged away in one profession or job have long gone past the wayside. Today’s work force is now highly motivated, mobile, and extremely transient.  Various numbers being tossed around these days range from 5-8 years at a single position before employees start poking around for new opportunities. Oftentimes, this can mean a lot of inter-industry switches… you simply trade one company or organization for another while moving up, but usually, you stay within the same field. But what happens when the field you are in is in the midst of a… Read »




There Is No “Easy Button” For Preparing Career Credentials

Recently, a client asked for a ‘killer cover letter that I can plagiarize’… and I just about fell out my chair. Other than the fact that I found this request to be offensive (simply because this person obviously doesn’t understand that this is how I make a living), this situation also revealed that the client didn’t ‘get it’ that an existing cover letter (or a résumé, for that matter) can’t be re-purposed for their own use. This copy-cat approach is simply not effective. Another time, in an ironic twist of fate, I received an email from a contact who said… Read »




Top 5 Common Cover Letter Pitfalls to Avoid

Some people may argue, legitimately, that many human resource managers and hiring directors barely exact a passing glance at the cover letters that job applicants labor so diligently over. But it never seems to fail that while many qualified candidates have a pretty solid résumé, most don’t deliver on the cover letter. So why are writing these documents so darned difficult? The main reason is that the majority of people are extremely uncomfortable with writing in general, and don’t really understand the exact purpose of a cover letter. Your goal with this document is to interest an employer in you… Read »




What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Emailing Your Résumé

Technology glitches aside, there’s a great deal of uncertainty when you email a résumé off for an open position. Mainly, you are worried whether you got the person’s (assuming it is the right person) attention, it made it to their inbox, and then there’s the worry whether it went into a spam filter by accident. The truth is that you SHOULD be very worried. Unfortunately, while you can’t control some of these factors, there are some things you can do to be as proactive as possible about sending your résumé via email. The first place to start, however, is your… Read »




Cover Letters – The Icing on the Cake

I get a lot of questions from clients about whether or not they should include a cover letter when sending in their résumé. My response is “Would you consider making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly?” The point being that the two go hand-in-hand, and unless a job position announcement specifically states that you should not send in a cover letter along with your résumé, you should ALWAYS include one. Why? There are multiple reasons. As more companies are using applicant tracking software to scan for job keywords, the cover letter also can get fed into this… Read »




Business Writing: An Essential Part of Your Professional Portfolio

I recently attended an industry meeting where the guest speaker addressed the topic of business writing, specifically emails. As I was listening, I found myself nodding in agreement to most of what she was saying, and also thinking about how often I receive disjointed, unclear and error-prone emails from various contacts. While these communiqués aren’t to be considered as ‘job applications’ per se, you never know where your correspondence might land. Especially when you are sending an email to a prospective employer and enclosing your résumé. If you don’t spell-check or proofread your writing, even in an email, consider what… Read »




Why the cover letter matters as much as the résumé

I have the occasional client who pauses when they are told what the investment level is for a cover letter. Why so much, they wonder. Is it really that important? Let me put it this way: What would happen if you had THE perfect résumé, but then sent along an accompanying cover letter that had grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors? What if you didn’t express thoughts in a clear, compelling way? How would an employer respond to this? If you guessed not favorably, you are right! Proofreading errors in a cover letter are the number one job prospect killer for… Read »





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