And the last shall be first: First, the Cover Letter
- The best Cover Letter is short and addresses specific things in the advertisement. “In response to your recent ad in such and such newspaper I noticed you were looking for someone who could blah, blah ….and here is my experience in that area….” Be a little unique if possible. This may be the document that gets you to the top of the pile.
- The resume: It should be 1-2 pages at most. (I write more about my most current positions and just list earlier ones.) It should be specific and list jobs you had contact information. I like to list accomplishments at jobs, such as I saved my client money by consolidating their phones into one bill. Or I helped with a special project. Provide references. Avoid meaningless resume jargon i.e. self-starter, highly motivated ya da ya da.
- The Interview: we are being interviewed daily. We are also interviewing others. Could that person work for me? Could I work for/with them?
I was doing some volunteer work. Unknown to me, another volunteer was a supervisor in a department where I wanted to work. When my request for transfer reached her desk, she already knew and liked me. I had already passed the interview.
I interviewed a doctor once for a serious surgical procedure I needed. He did not get the job because he could not be specific about a concern I had. “Hmmmm, that’s a good question…” is not an answer.
Now if you are interviewing in the traditional sense for a job, then there are some dos and don’ts.
- Do dress appropriately, be clean and neat. Do be positive and honest with your answers. Listen more that talk. Be willing to adapt to the job requirements. Take notes, ask questions. Follow up with a hand written thank you note. Even if you don’t get the job, you made it to the office. So be encouraged and learn from the experience. Save the money talk for near the end of the interview or for a second interview. A wise former boss told me the first raise is the only one you are guaranteed, so go in with your highest reasonable expectation, but be willing to compromise. I have often been told, “That’s more than I pay my current…” Then then agreed to pay me what I asked or nearly as much.
- Don’t be late. Don’t complain about your former boss or work environment. Don’t embellish on your abilities. Don’t look at texts or answer your cell phone! (I should NOT need to say that.)
Once you get that dream job, live up to your first impression. Be the person your dog thinks you are. (That one is for pet lovers. For the rest of you: be the person your BFF or parent thinks you are.)
To keep the job: remember you are still being interviewed every day
Need help with a cover letter, resume, or interview? Please contact me.