Cover letters and resumes

What EVERY Cover Letter Needs

Here's a copy of a message I received today from my colleague, Jimmy Sweeney, Google+ (2)that I thought would be important information for all you job seekers.

Cover Letter Tips: Put The "Secret 7" To Work For You!

"Hello Lee,

Many hiring managers face a pile of cover letters each and every day from job seekers. 

If you want yours to stand out from the crowd, make it short, succinct, and snappy! 

In other words, grab the reader's attention and hold it. 

The last thing you want to do is bog down the employer with a multi-page letter filled with ponderous prose.

Instead incorporate the following seven secrets--the ones every cover letter should include:

Secret #1: Write a one-page cover letter, period.

Secret #2: Leave lots of "white space" in your letter so it's easy to read.

Secret #3: Create three paragraphs maximum or the cover letter will overwhelm.

Secret #4: Number or "bullet" your lists when this technique fits. It catches interest.

Secret #5: Bold face the first sentence of each paragraph to highlight your point.

Secret #6: Write only three sentences per paragraph for quick scanning.

Secret #7: Print out your letter and read it yourself. Is it a good example of the secrets on the list above? If not, edit where needed.

Effort = Effectiveness!

The time you spend now will come back to you a hundredfold when the hiring manager selects the most promising job seekers to call for interviews. 

Your cover letter is the first step. 

Make it count by using the seven secrets above.

 Bonus Cover Letter Tip: Don't be afraid to ASK for the opportunity to be interviewed. Ask and you shall receive! :-)

Yours for OUTSTANDING job search success,


P.S. The most-overlooked moneymaking secret in today's job market is the 'humble' cover letter. Perfectly focused cover letters are the fastest, easiest way to dramatically increase your job interviews and job offers, PERIOD."

Employee referrals, customized letters key to getting an interview

The best way to get your foot in the door at a large company is with an employee Google+ (2)referral, says Kristen Fife, a recruiting expert based in Seattle. It's important to customize your cover letter to indicate how you can help the employer with your particular skills. "I would love to be able to fill 600 positions tomorrow, but when we’re looking at the volume of applications that we do, the applicant has to help us understand how they are a fit for that position," says Curtis Colvin, who works as a director of recruiting.

Read the entire article here.

Make a lasting impression with your professional bio

Google+ (2)Create bios of varying lengths -- including a long one, a short one and a two-liner -- to display across your various online profiles, Meredith Fineman writes. Each bio should include a solid call to action as opposed to looking like a list of accomplishments.

Read complete article here.


Three essentials for writing a résumé for a posted job opening.

The first essential ingredient in writing a résumé for a posted job opening is a succinct, specific job objective.  The job objective tells the reader quickly whether your résumé is worth reading.  (It's imperative to do this if your résumé is being scanned for key words.)

Employers get stacks of résumés for each job posting they make, and they simply don't have time to read each one from beginning to end.  For the most part, all résumés that don't grab the attention of the reader within the first few seconds get tossed.

So, how do you grab their attention in that split second?  With a short, precise job objective.  This makes the employer's task easy.  If the employer is looking for an Administrative Assistant, all they have to do is go through the pile and pull out all the résumés that say "Job Objective:  Administrative Assistant." at the top of the first page.

If you don't include a specific job objective for an open posted position, the résumé may never be read at all.

Also, if you make the job objective long and rambling, that résumé may get discarded as well.  Five to 7 words should be the maximum length.  Focus on the employer's needs, tailor the objective to the company's posting, and avoid any generalizations and clichés.

The second ingredient is to tailor your entire résumé to support your objective.  There is absolutely no reason to include information that doesn’t do this.  Remember:  your résumé is a strategic marketing piece, not a tell-all autobiography.

And the third ingredient is to use powerful action words to describe your accomplishments, especially those accomplishments that made your previous company money, saved them money and/or increased the effectiveness of the organization.

Remember always:  getting your résumé read in the first place is a major milestone in getting interviews, and the only way to get your résumé read for a posted job opening is to indicate decisively and immediately that you're a match for what they seek.

The Real Purpose of a Résumé: Getting Interviews

The first résumé you send to an employer is an advertisement designed to get you an interview.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Many people think of a résumé as a summary of a person's entire life and career.  They often stick in everything they've ever done, and every bit of information about themselves with the idea that the employer is going to do be impressed enough to give them a job.

Unfortunately, employers are not in the business of helping people by handing out jobs.  When it comes to hiring staff, any employer has only one thought in mind:  how to make their business more profitable.  Employers hire people because they believe those people will help them make more money, safe money and/or increase the effectiveness of their operations.

A résumé must demonstrate clearly and concisely that you will help a potential employer's business be successful, especially smaller businesses.  Your résumé MUST contain all the best evidence supporting that claim.

The more you make yourself look like someone who can achieve results for an employer, the more interviews you will get.

The core imperative in writing a résumé is to make an identity-building statement central to the needs of the employer communicated so clearly and effectively that it's apparent immediately that it's worth the readers time to offer you an interview.

Keep in mind that employers are not the only people who will see your résumé.  Keep copies of your résumé with you always, and give them to friends, relatives, neighbors, or anyone else you meet.

The more people who see your résumé, the more employers will call you for an interview, and that includes many employers you never thought of approaching.

It's advertising!  Sending résumés directly to hiring authorities may be the best way to make sure they hear of you, but it's not the only way.

IT'S ALL ABOUT GETTING INTERVIEWS - No interviews, no job offers.  No job offers, no job!  You know the rest.

Write a compelling job objective statement in your resume to get noticed

If anyone tells you not to put an objective statement in your résumé, they are completely out of touch with how to get someone's attention in the 21st century.

Now, if your résumé objective statement reads "An interesting position with a growing company," you're stuck in the '50s, and few will pay attention to you.  However, if your résumé objective reads something such as "Computer Technician able to provide technical assistance to computer users in person, by telephone or electronically.  Skilled in the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems.  Seeking a position with a medium sized company in Greater Boston,"  you're going to grab the attention of anyone seeking a qualified Computer Technician.

The key is to know what you want to do, and to state it explicitly.  If you don't know what you want to do, writing a résumé is a distant task.  Clarity in how you will provide value to an employer is essential in getting noticed.  Write a clearly defined job objective and tailor the rest of your résumé to proving you're capable of carrying out your objective. Your résumé WILL be noticed!

Write a "master" resume.

The "one-size-fits-all" resume simply doesn't work any longer.  The most effective resume 'speaks' to the reader.

If your resume is in response to an advertised opening, it must reflect the exact needs profiled in the ad.

If it's sent to a targeted group of companies, it demonstrates how you can make them money, save them money, and increase their efficiencies.

If it's a networking resume, it addresses the type of problems your contact's peers are likely to be facing.

But, before you can write any of these types of resumes, you must create a master document from which you can cut and paste the needed information.

Here is a form you can use to create your "master" resume:   Download Quick Resume Worksheet