Posts Tagged ‘cover letter’

Here are a few tips on doing a killer job search. And no, I don’t mean visiting your former employer and running amok with a machete.

  • From your research (yeah, I know you know how to do that), find some interesting tidbit about each employer you’re targeting in your job search, and mention it in your cover letter.
  • Better yet, connect the tidbit to how you can benefit them. And I don’t mean, “I read in the Boston Business Journal that you’re being sued for sexual harassment. Since I’ve been sued for that several times myself (I like to sneak around corners and bump into my co-workers to cop a feel), I could help you make it go away.” That’s the idea, though. Just substitute a more positive factoid, or one that may be a problem that you can help them solve, but not one that the National Enquirer would pant over.
  • Send your contacts some helpful info. A job lead, a link to an article about something they want info on or a topic they’re interested in, a link to their favorite porn site (not really). But don’t immediately ask for them to reciprocate. “Here’s that info on when Charlie Sheen’s mother ship is coming to take him home. Have any job leads for me?” is SO not cool.
  • Ask more questions than you answer in your networking interactions. And not, “What’s my area of expertise? What do you want it to be, baby?” Just focus more on them than you, and you’ll be surprised at how much more likely they’ll remember you, want to help you, pledge their eternal devotion to you, and grovel at your feet. Really.
  • Dress the part. Even if it’s not an actual job interview. When you go anywhere that has anything remotely to do with job search/networking/strategic shmoozing, dress like a – dare I say it – winner. I’ve seen job seekers show up at networking events in flip flops and muscle shirts. I mean, come on.
  • Keep busy. If you know what time “Are You Smarter Than a 5th-Grader?” comes on, you’re in trouble. And if you’re not, in fact, smarter than a 5th-grader, you might be tempted to stick your wet finger in an electric socket. So set up informational interviews, volunteer, work part-time, take a class, teach a class at a community center. Do constructive stuff you can put on your resume, that’ll help you continue to develop your skills and regularly interact with other humans.
  • Keep a positive attitude. If you’re negative, you’ll be much less likely to find a job, for a slew of reasons. Mostly because the majority of people you come in contact with will think you’re a pain in the ass, and they won’t want to have anything to do with you. Unless they’re negative themselves, in which case you can whine together in your dark cloud of blehhhh.
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Here is a sample cover letter. Note that it includes the two key elements of an effective cover letter: why you give a flying jockstrap about them, and concrete examples of how you can help them fulfill all their wildest fantasies. Or at least some of them.

Dear Okra-Man,Super Broccoli

I’m very interested in joining your team at Vegan-Superheroes, Inc.  I recently read on veggieherochronicle.com about how your organization is looking to develop your green capabilities. As my particular superpower is emitting highly charged electromagnetic forces after consuming broccoli, I’m confident I would be a valuable addition to your team.

As you can see from my resume, I initiated chlorophyll-induced power-trances at Niblets Corp., which directly resulted in raising our mega-power capabilities in the must-be-a-f*cking-miracle body healing sector by 300%.

Although I specialize in broccoli-related powers, I’ve also improved the quality of drinking water in multiple urban centers by regurgitating magic neurons into their water supplies after ingesting brussel sprouts and Swiss chard.

I would love to talk with you further about your needs at Vegan-Superheroes. You can reach me at 555-555-5555 or greenisgood@gmail.com.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Spew-Green-Magic Man

 

Check out Explode, a comedy thriller/mystery novel. Spontaneous human combustion, or murder?


I cautioned in an earlier post against spewing your resume. Beyond not spewing to any and every employer, you also don’t want to be the obedient little jobseeker and just trot out all your info online for the HR pod people. Trot, trot.

No, you want to make a list of places you’d give your big toe to work for, hunt around online to find the contact info for the manager/director of whatever department makes sense in terms of your field, hunt around some more to find info on the company’s goals, problems, etc., and then contact the aforementioned person to let them know how you, with your many superpowers, can help them banish the beast.

Notice I didn’t say send your resume to that person only if you see a job posted that you’re interested in. You actually have a better shot if there isn’t one. Yep, that’s what I said. If there is a job posted, everyone within a hundred miles will crawl out from under their rock to send their resume for that one job. But if you send the superpower letter for a possible opportunity that would be a fit, you can ask to set up an informational meeting to discuss the above further, without asking that person to interview you for a particular position.

Why would you want to bother, if there isn’t a job listed in which you’re interested? Well, there may very well be a job that became available ten minutes ago, that hasn’t been posted yet. Or someone is about to give notice next week. Or maybe the person who updates their website is sitting with his finger up his ass.

How do you find the manager’s name and other relevant company info? LinkedIn, baby. Do a search for the company. Also, Google the company name and the position you’re looking to connect to a person, and you can usually find it. Use your network (of course, you have one. Don’t you???) to see if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows what you need to know.

By the way, when I say “superpowers,” you know I don’t mean it literally, right? It’s much more effective to show a prospective employer how your experience and talents match what they need, rather than brag about how great you are. How great you are will come out anyway, but in a much more real way. Just like with sex, it usually works out better in the long run if you don’t fake it.

In my job, I see many resumes from desperate job seekers who seem to think the resume spew approach will land them interviews, in much the same way lottery-players think that, even though the odds of their winning are something like one in 10,000, they actually have a shot.

In case you have no idea what the resume spew approach is, it’s the dubious method of job search that consists of spewing your resume out all over the place, to any job you think you may have a chance in hell at.

Usually the resume spew doesn’t include a resume that emphasizes the skills and experience that match what the employer’s looking for, or a cover letter targeted to the specific employer(s) you’re sending it to, telling them how you can help them solve their problems with your talents and experience, much less who they are and why you’re interested in them, as opposed to the other 99 companies to which you spewed your resume. Mostly it doesn’t even reflect jobs or companies that are even remotely a match with your background.

Guess what? The spew doesn’t work. Employers want to know why you’re interested in them, and how you can help them. They don’t want to know that you just found them on the first page of monster.com because their company name starts with “A,” and that you couldn’t give a crap about them specifically. Giving a crap is one of the main things employers look for (more about that in a later post). When you spew, you just piss employers off. Not exactly your goal when you’re looking for a job.