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Posts Tagged ‘cover letter’

Tapping Into The Hidden Job Market

You may think that when you complete an online search in a bid to find a new job, that you are getting an exhaustive list of recruiters currently looking for staff. Unfortunately you are not. It does not matter if you are using a major search engine like Google or an online job board like Monster, the fact is that a great many jobs will go un noticed by you simply because they have not even been advertised.

 

It has been estimated that there can be up to four times as many positions available than you have seen advertised in any given industry. This is a huge slice of the job market pie, and not one that you should be content to miss.

 

The question then remains, that if the jobs are not advertised anywhere, then how the heck can you apply for them?

 

It’s a fair and valid question to ask(!); and one that is much easier to answer than it is to actually find one of these hidden jobs.

 

That is, of course, not to say that it is impossible to successfully find and be offered a “hidden job”. This actually happens every day; the question is: how do you go about and locate these particular opportunities?

 

The first step is networking. For many the term networking makes them cringe. But networking is a serious part of business, especially if you are in the business of hunting for a new career. The old adage is indeed true it is not what you know, it is “who” you know when it comes to the recruitment industry.

 

All of us network every single day we make small talk with people in other departments or in companies that we have dealings with. You could even explain facebook and twitter usage in terms of networking.

 

Networking is, at its core, building relationships. That’s it. That’s all it takes to break into the hidden job market. If you are able to build relationships with managers in different departments or indeed within different companies then you are well on your way to hearing about a job that has not been advertised externally.

 

The downside is that companies often prefer to recruit internally, since those that apply are therefore known quantities and not virtual strangers to the management of this particular business.

 

Someone who is very good at networking can build and maintain a vast array of contacts within their industry. If you present yourself in the best possible light to the contact then you have won half the battle. These contacts will be willing to let you know about any up and coming positions if they feel that they know you sufficiently well enough!

 

The other option to get you into the hidden job market is to proactively call the companies that you want to work for and ask them outright if they are recruiting at the moment. If they say yes then it would be time to turn on the charm and get yourself an application pack.

 

With no advertising trail to follow, it is only by opening the channels of communication that we can hope to find out about these hidden jobs. The advantage to finding out about a hidden job is that there is always going to be less people applying than any other job that you will see advertised. This only serves to make it more important that we find our way into this hidden job market.

Do You Really Need A Cover Letter?

Do you really need a cover letter? Before answering that question let’s take a look at exactly what a cover letter is.

The cover letter accompanies your resume as part of your job application ‘pack’ and is meant to expound on information in the resume. History is replete with job applicants that missed out on important opportunities simply because they did not send a cover page. There is no standard length of a cover letter but ideally it should be no longer than one page and a maximum of three paragraphs.

You want to catch the recruiter’s attention as quickly as possible and a long cover page is unlikely to do that. Candidates must make the cover letter work to their advantage and be the gateway to landing that all important interview.

So whereas it would be easy to simply answer ‘Yes!’ on whether you need a cover letter, a look at the reasons why it is important would provide for a much more plausible argument for this short but vital document in your job application.

* A snapshot into your way of thinking – Most recruiters are looking for someone that stands out from the crowd and that can clearly demonstrate how they will fit in to the organization if recruited. One can show what they can bring into the organization as opposed to just what they expect to gain by getting hired. Where two or more candidates are practically dead even in academic qualification and experience, a compelling cover page can provide that vital tipping point for one to secure an interview or be hired for the job.

* Ability to write – A cover letter more than the resume provides a good example of your writing capabilities. Written communication has and will continue to be an important skill in today’s organizational environment. Therefore, choice of grammar, language, punctuation and spelling must be carefully considered. Mastery of grammar and the articulation of ideas is a strong statement of your professionalism and would provided additional reason for the recruiter to pick you out from other applicants.

* Your personality – A cover letter gives you a better platform to be yourself and show your personality than the resume does. The resume must follow a certain structured format which makes it very formal with little flexibility. Your resume lists your education and experience but your cover letter allows you to demonstrate these skills and your knowledge of the work you will be expected to do.

* Address concerns – The cover letter can be used to put to rest certain uncomfortable issues that the recruiter may already know or may find out about you. For instance, in this era of technology and heavy use of social networking websites, many employers may not like what they find out about you in case they decide to look you up on the internet. It is better if you proactively raise the issue and briefly explain the circumstances on your cover letter as opposed to the recruiter finding out on their own.

* Use the cover letter to tell your story - People usually remember personal stories more than they do a bland text. You can catch the attention of the recruiter by relating a story that cements your interest in the job. For instance, if you are looking for a job in a food production company, you can talk about how you grew up eating their products. That said, the stories must be truthful as lying will have the exact opposite effect.

So based on these reasons, it is increasingly clear that accompanying your application with a cover letter presents more opportunities to sell yourself and thus increases your chances of being hired for the job.

Your Cover Letter Isn't Working Because You're Not Doing This

Imagine this scene – a young, well-dressed man is speaking enthusiatically to an older, slightly disheveled man in a wine shop.  The younger man is going on about a bottle of wine in his hands.  Evidently, the wine has won several International gold medals, scored very high in well known magazines, etc.  This is most likely a very good bottle of wine.

The young salesman starts talking about how shoppers will jump for this new wine.  The retail pricing is excellent with a great margin.  It can generate fantastic return on investment plus good potential for add on sales, and so on and on.

In the end, the older man simply tells the younger man, “sounds interesting, leave me some stuff, and I’ll get back to you.”

A great bottle of wine with tremendous potential for increased business would seem to be a winner.  Yet, the young salesman walked out empty handed.  So what happened?

What happened is what happens a lot with cover letters.  More specifically, it is the issue with what is typically left off a cover letter, or done really weakly.

It’s called, “asking for commitment.”  It’s also called, “closing.”

In a movie, a character tells another that wants a cup of coffee, “you don’t get coffee – coffee is for closers – you couldn’t close a window,” or something to that effect.

Buyers want to buy.  But you have to do the hard work of actually asking them to buy.  Hiring managers want to hire.  You have to ask them to hire – you.

And you have to ask them with confidence.  A weak, passive request is the same as not asking.  Not asking simply transforms your letter into, at best, an interesting read, and at worst, a waste of the hiring manager’s time.

Have you used this phrase, “May I come in for an interview?”  Or have you read a letter with this phrase, “Please call me at your earliest convenience.”  You may not come in for an interview and my earliest convenience is next year.

A strong closer is just that – a strong closer.  A strong closer understands that he has a good product, more to the point, it is product that will help the buyer.  This belief gives the salesman strength.

If you are a good match for the job opening, then you are helping the hiring manager.  You have found a solution to her problems.  That simple belief should give you strength to close stronger.

You must ask for the interview clearly and confidently.  That is not to say arrogantly.  You do not demand an interview, nevertheless, you do ask with clear confidence.

A method is to assume the close.  End your letter by taking an assumptive position and give the reader several options to pick from.

“I understand you are busy, nevertheless, if possible, I’d like to meet with you to explore our potential match here within the next two weeks.  I am available Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 1pm and 4pm.  Because you are busy, I will keep our meeting short, and be prepared to demonstrate what I can do and how I can contribute immediately.  Best time to reach me at (000) 000-0000 would be before 9:30am.”

Or a simpler, “I am excited to meet with you, as your company intrigues me.  There are possibilities here we both deserve to explore.  To schedule at interview, you can reach me at (000) 000-0000.  I really look forward to meeting with you.”

There are probably endless ways to formulate a good closing paragraph to a cover letter.  The key is to end it with a definite request for an interview. 

So, yes you can close that window, and yes, you can have a cup of coffee.

How To Structure A Great Cover Letter

Email a great cover letter to employers and you can enjoy a much bigger chance they’ll invite you to interview. How though can you create a great cover letter? How much information should you include and what structure should you use? Fortunately you can create a great cover letter inside 15 minutes once you know the secrets. Keep reading and learn the 3 part structure that almost guarantees employers will contact you!

To create a great cover letter simply create 3 sections in your document: the introduction: the pitch; and the conclusion. Using these you can convince employers to contact you inside 12 lines!

The Introduction

In the introduction first state the position you’re applying for and the pleasure it brings you to submit the application. This means perhaps writing: ‘Find herein my application for this excellent Human Resources opportunity.’ In the first sentence you can create an immediate impression by being enthusiastic!

Then state the reason for your application. Here you can perhaps write: ‘I am applying because I wish to contribute my ten years experience to this exceptional company.’ In this second sentence you can gain employers’ attention by stating outright the contributions you can make. Hence by the close of the introduction employers should sense both your enthusiasm and expertise!

The Pitch

In the pitch section you can address the key requirements of the position. Perhaps using bullet points explain that you satisfy each criteria using examples from your experience. State for example: ‘I have experience boosting company morale because as the Blogs Corporation Human Resources manager I created a company football team.’

In addition you can state the benefit this might bring employers. Perhaps continue then: ‘This means I can create happier workers at your company.’ Because this suggests you can improve the success of their company it gives employers an incentive to contact you!

The Conclusion

In the conclusion first restate the expertise you can bring to the company and your enthusiasm for the position. Provide an incentive too for employers to contact you soon. Perhaps write then: ‘I look forward to bringing my Human Resources expertise to your company at the earliest chance.’ Doing this creates the impression employers are missing out by not contacting you!

In addition you can encourage employers to contact you. State for example: ‘Feel free to contact me by telephone or email!’ This compels employers to take action and get in touch!

By combining these 3 sections you can maximise the chances employers will contact you. That’s because from the first sentence this cover letter helps you convey enthusiasm and expertise. Employers hence realise quickly the contributions you can make to their business!

In addition this cover letter gives you the biggest chance because it is clearly structured. Employers need spend only seconds deciding you’re an excellent candidate! In short using these secrets you can enjoy almost instant application success. Begin writing!

How To Optimise Your CV For Reading Online

Did you know you can create a bigger chance at landing an interview by optimising your CV for reading online? This is because not many employers accept paper applications now, and rarely print the applications they receive. This costs time and money after all. Instead they read the applications they receive on their monitors. This though is more tiring than reading paper! Computer screens exhaust our eyes encouraging employers to skip paragraphs and scan.

However you can turn this to your advantage. Optimise your CV for reading online and you increase the chance employers will browse your details and invite you to interview. Read through the tips below then, and optimise your CV before sending out the next group of emails!

Use A Screen-Friendly Font

Switch to a monitor-friendly font and employers are much less likely to grow exhausted reading your CV. Vision-friendly examples include Verdana Size 12: this is least likely to prompt headaches according to a recent study by the Vision Ergonomics Research Lab. Choices also include Century Gothic: the University of Wisconsin declared this the most readable font in studies last year.

Of course changing font sometimes means removing text from your CV to accommodate larger letters. This though enables you to evaluate the content of your CV. So make the switch!

Use Bullet Points And Small Paragraphs

Begin using bullet points and small paragraphs, and employers are more likely to spot important details about you. This is because employers begin skipping when faced with long paragraphs of more than one hundred words. This amount of text is just too exhausting to read on a monitor! Hence break any long paragraphs on your CV into two and place vital details at the beginning. In addition break any lists about abilities and talents into bullet points.

Use Keywords

This trick applies to people who post their CVs on jobsites such as Reed.co.uk and VisualCV.com. Ensure that when you submit your CV you include keywords in the title and throughout. Keywords are terms employers use to search for applicants. Hence entitle your CV using the position you’re seeking rather than your name. For example a computer programmmer named John Smith might entitle his CV: ‘John Smith – Computer Programmer.’ This increases the likelihood employers will find your CV on jobsites and invite you to interview.

Amazing Cover Letter Creator or use the Internet? Review of the benefits and disadvantages

There’s no question about it. Now that there is such great competition for jobs, everyone is using the same techniques to make sure that their resume is the one that the recruiters notice. We have all got access to the internet and everyone can read up on the current ‘best practices’ for preparing your resume – so how can YOU make a difference?

How can you make sure that your resume is the one that makes its was to the top of the pile? More and more, it’s not the resume that make the impact, but the cover letter that you send with it. It’s a fact that the majority of the people you’ll be in competition with for your next job will not present their resume with a great covering letter even though in more and more cases, it’s these cover letters that make all the difference.

Most of us, however, don’t know how to write a strong cover letter. We don’t know what the recruiters are looking for, we don’t know the triggers that make them take another look at our resume. If you want to start to take control of your career and be able to choose which of the opportunities that will come your way, then read on.

This solution is not for everyone, but if you have a number of positions you want to apply for and have not got all day to spend creating a specific, results-focused letter for each of them, or are prepared to risk missing out on the secret trigger that make recruiters pick up your resume, then read on.

I’d suggest you try out a product called the Amazing Cover Letter Creator. Crummy name, but actually not such a crummy product. It’s created by Jimmy Sweeney who is a professional copywriter and the President and CEO of a California based marketing company. He has used his experiences of reading numerous application letter that were sent to him and years of experience since developing this product to offer a new solution to the job seeker market by writing cover letters for prospective employees.

As Jimmy’s testimonials confirm, using this system resulted in many many more calls coming the way of people using the Amazing Cover Letter Creator than they had before using the creator. They found that the ingredients that were put into the letter pre sold their resume so the recruiters actually spent the time to look at their details, rather than passing on to the next candidate.

OK, so far so good. What’s in the package? Is this just another snakeoil offer that sells you something that you can get free on the internet with just a few well placed searches?

I think it’s true today to say that just about anything that you want can be found on the internet today. And if you search long and hard enough, you will probably find what you are looking for free. But as they say in the classics, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and with this in mind, I wanted to look at what the Amazing Cover Letter Creator offered against what I could find on the internet so see if it really is worth the hypoerbole.

The Creator is a download program you get once you make the decision to purchase. As with many information based products on the internet, expect a lot of free bonuses up-sell, cross-sell and re-sell until you can complete the purchase and get to the download.

Personally, I find these tactics a little aggravating, because I do not like to be told that the product that I just purchased is not the total package and there is an upgrade, or another addition that can make my life easier. This, however is very much the way of the internet these days and it more or less is an expected part of the purchase process.

Once you are logged in, the creator offers some introductory information and an explanation of how the Amazing Cover Letter Creator works.

It’s all about inserting attention getting information into your cover letters. To be successful in this market, you have to have a letter that explains how your career brand offers a better solution to that of anyone else who might be applying for the same position.

The program will take you through the letter generating process which offer a range of letter types depending on your situation e.g. open and specific positions or prospective offers. There are a number of additional fields through which the creator makes choices around which of the letter templates is most appropraite for your needs. When all of this is done a cover letter is automatically created for you which you can simply copy and paste to complete the letter. Obviously, you will still need to format the final document.

The letters that come from the system are well crafted and include a format that is attractive to the recruiters to whom your letter will be sent. As I said before, when you have seen 100 resumes a day, and you are giving each one a cursory galnce of probably no more than a few seconds, if a cover letter is well crafted and attention grabbing, you are going to keep that resume at the top of the pile.

You will need to make some changes to the letter before it is ready to send, but esentially, the program says what it does and creates cover letters for you.

Now let’s look at the alternative of searching through the internet for the answers. Firstly you will have to be quite careful in drilling down your searches to find the sort of letters that recruiters want to see. The problem is that there is so much content on the internet, it is hard to identify what has value. In my searches, I found loads of letter formats for cover letters. My problem was that I did not know for sure that the format that was in front of me was the sort of format that recruiters want to see. I also got a lot of advice about what was the best approach to take – the only problem was that quite a lot of it was contradictory and confusing.

I am prepared to recommend this program. It is not for everone, but the the price is a fraction of what you would pay a professional cover letter writer and the quality of letter that the software generates is on par with what a professional would write for you. Where it really makes a difference is in the time it saves you in your job search. You are already spending a lot of time researching the opportunities on the internet, making calls, networing and looking at your social networks. If you then have time to craft an excellent cover letter for each job you apply for, this might not be for you. If, on the other hand, you are like me and time is at a premium, try the Amazing Cover Letter Creator

How To Successfully Circulate Your CV

Have you recently finished writing your CV? The next step then is to circulate the document and get employers reading! Employers obviously receive your CV when you email them an application. In addition though you can encourage employers to contact you using several other methods. These include posting your CV on niche recruitment sites within your industry and attending job fairs. These also include registering with recruitment agencies!

Find below then several methods to circulate your CV. Using these can really boost your job search success. Good luck!

Jobsites

Type something into Google and inside moments you’re likely to stumble across a jobsite. Perhaps more than half simply resubmit positions already posted on other directories. Target where you submit though and you stand a great chance employers will contact you! Choose first the authoritative sites that cast shadows on the minnows: places such as Reed.co.uk and Monster.com. Thousands of positions are posted here and employers daily search CVs looking for applicants. Hence be certain to name your CV something employers search for!

Next submit to jobsites related to your profession: places like creativepool.co.uk for marketing candidates and milkround.com for graduates. Submitting here is like visiting a bespoke tailor: it’s easier to find something that fits. In addition roles not posted on behemoth jobsites can often be seen here. Begin submitting then!

Recruitment Agencies

To find recruitment agencies in the local area run a search for the term on Google Maps. Recruitment agencies give you the chance to meet people who make money finding work for other people. Hence leave them smiling and you’ve motivated someone to call employers on your behalf! Recruitment staff too spend every day browsing CVs and choosing those to email employers. Hence they’re goldmines for advice about improving your CV! Schedule an appointment and you can sometimes choose between permanent and temporary work helping you earn money in the short term.

Networking

Register to attend a recruitment fair or networking event and you can meet countless employers in one room. Employers attend these events intend to collects CVs and meet potential candidates. Hence begin a conversation and show some enthusiasm and you can schedule interviews there and then! Networking events in short help you break the application cycle staring at your monitor and impress employers in person!

To locate recruitment fairs in the local area search the term on Google. These are often confined to cities meaning you may have to travel. Pre-registration is also a common requirement. Be sure to print a briefcase worth of CVs before you attend!

Create A Great CV By Showing Enthusiasm

Show employers that you’re enthusiastic in your application and you can enjoy a much better chance they’ll contact you. This is because employers prefer enthusiastic applicants. They work harder and create a more positive work atmosphere. How then can you convey enthusiasm in your application? How can you convince employers that you’re passionate? Fortunately you can convey enthusiasm using two simple methods described below. Keep reading and learn how to apply them to your CV!

Use Active Verbs and Phrases

Active verbs and phrases include terms such as: created; built and accomplished. They convince employers that you’re pro-active and hardworking. Hence using them you can create a more positive summary of your work experience! Take for example the following sentence: ‘Spent three months at the checkout giving people change.’ Using active verbs and phrases this might become: ‘Greeted customers warmly at the checkout and processed their payments. Contributed to positive retail setting.’

To insert active verbs and phrases into your CV simply take the following steps. Begin by rethinking your work experience. Ask yourself: What did I accomplish by doing this? Who did I assist? Focus on the result of the action instead of the action itself. Then rephrase the experience to highlight these positive consequences! For example the consequences of working at a checkout might include: creating satisfied customers and improving your mental arithmetic. Be positive then and apply this process to your experience!

Be careful though when inserting active verbs and phrases into your CV. They must be used appropriately: otherwise you risk looking pompous. Take for example the following sentence: ‘Established routine for sorting junk mail and circulating to pre-labelled litter boxes.’ Here the phrases are not appropriate to the action described. They make the applicant look at best silly and at worst conceited! Ensure then that you use active verbs carefully. If you’re uncertain whether a sentence sounds right then ask someone else to read it. Now get active!

Express Your Enjoyment

Employers prefer candidates that show enjoyment of their work. This might mean stating that you enjoy exceeding sales targets or working in a challenging setting. Simply be honest! Insert a sentence telling employers what you enjoyed most about an experience in the end of a paragraph. Take for example the following sentence: ‘Thrived in customer service setting and enjoyed assisting customers daily.’ Here you can assure employers that you’re enthusiastic about the job. Hence get passionate!

Ensure though that when you’re expressing enjoyment that you’re honest. This is because employers can often tell at interview that you’re lying. In addition expressing passion means appealing to employers as human beings. Hence discovering a lie can be especially insulting to them. In short use honesty to create a positive impression! Express genuine passion and you can really endear yourself to employers in your application. Good luck!

6 Simple Steps To Writing A Killer CV

Today I’m going tell you 6 simple steps you need to write a killer CV. These steps won’t mean you can avoid actually writing the document. They will though make the process significantly easier.

Most people after all spend days writing their CV and don’t have a clue. They create a boring looking document that doesn’t attract employers in the slightest. Using these steps though you can create a killer CV within hours. So keep reading, and look forward to creating a fantastic CV soon.

Start by including your name and personal details at the top of the document. This includes your email address and telephone number. Make sure the email address doesn’t include curse words. You’re trying to look professional after all. Also increase the font on your name so that it’s several times bigger than the other details. This is a bit like announcing yourself to the employer.

Next create a personal profile. This is the most important bit of your CV because employers use this to decide if the rest is worth reading. So it needs to be killer. Give employers an overview of what you can offer them. Sell yourself so you can benefit their business. If you increased revenue at your last company by several times then say so. You’re up against countless other applicants so you need to look amazing.

Next bullet point a few of your skills. This makes it incredibly easy for employers to see you’re valuable. Write a line or two for each skill explaining how it can benefit employers. Make it obvious they can’t do without you.

Next outline your work experience. For each employer include a line explaining what they do, then explain your position. List your responsibilities and achievements. In this section you want to give employers an irresistible reason to contact you, so state the contributions you made. By the end of this section employers should be diving for the phone to call you.

Next state your qualifications. List the schools and colleges you attended in chronological order starting with the most recent. If you’re proud of your grades then highlight them. Put them in bold or near the beginning of the paragraph. This makes employers more likely to see them.

Finally include a couple of personal interests. These also ought be applicable to the job you’re seeking. If you’re a computer programmer try writing that you create Flash mini-games. If you don’t have applicable interests then list something productive. One great trick on a CV is to never sound passive. Tell employers that you’re always creating.

Good luck!

How To Create A CV That Looks Irresistible To Employers

Today I want to tell you how to create a CV that looks irresistible to employers. This is because the format of the CV is at least as important as the writing itself. Submit a CV that uses eighteen different fonts and fluorescent colours and you can expect employers to trash your CV. Submit a CV too that uses italic subheadings on one page and bold the next, and you can expect the same result.

Instead employers want a CV that’s easy to read and looks professional. They want a CV they can scan to find important details about you quickly. Keep reading then to learn my top tips to create a CV employers will love!

Start by opening a standard A4 document in OpenOffice or MS Word. Make sure there’s a 2.5cm border on every side of the page and the background is white. Then select an easily readable font like Verdana or Arial at sizes 10 or 12. I can tell you these are the fonts employers find easiest to read. Make sure too the text is black and remains black throughout. The only reason to change colours is to include links, and then the text ought be light blue.

Don’t try typewriting or even handwriting your CV before scanning it to a computer. This might look unique but employers are more interested in readability.

While writing avoid using italics or underlining too much. I’ve learnt that employers find italics difficult to read, and underlining confuses the CV scanning software they sometimes use. Instead the best formatting to use is bolding and capitalisation. Apply these to important points and subheadings and you can really catch employers’ attention.

Throughout writing use short paragraphs and bullet points to space information. Long paragraphs make it harder for employers to spot important points. Listing your key skills instead of dumping them in one paragraph for example can make all the difference.

After writing print off the CV and look it over. You want to create something that looks attractive even before you start reading. It ought look comfortably full: containing enough information to look thorough but not crowded. If looking at the CV makes you think reading it would be an effort then you’ve done something wrong. Try thickening up the paragraphs or removing some bolding.

Keep going until you’re actually proud, and the CV looks inviting. Then: email the CV to your friends and family. They’ll have an objective perspective and can suggest improvements you missed. If more than one person suggests the same thing chances are they’re right.

Good luck!

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Medical Transcription
Medical transcription, also known as MT, is an allied health profession, which deals in the process of transcription, or converting voice-recorded reports as dictated by physicians and/or other healthcare professionals, into text format.