Monday, August 25, 2014

The Most Powerful Cover Letter (and Webinar)


 An interesting statistic from a poll taken of recruiting and hiring managers stated that 75% of the people who review resumes said they read cover letters ONLY if they know the cover letter has been customized for the company and the position.


At RightChanges, we have two ALWAYS statements regarding the job search and one is to ALWAYS send a cover letter.  Coach Judi Adams recommends one cover format over any other. The format we recommend is the T cover letter.

What is a T Cover Letter?

The T cover letter gets its name from the imaginary T that is formed by the two columns in the middle of the single page letter. The left column is the list of requirements as outlined by the hiring company and the second column is the qualifications you have that match the requirements. With this format you are visually showing the hiring manager why you are the perfect candidate. How powerful is that?



IMPORTANT OFFER:

The remaining portion of this article gives the steps to creating the T cover letter. Some job seekers however still struggle with creating it: how to select the requirements and qualifications to include or how to use Word to format it. RightChanges is offering a one-hour webinar on Friday September 12th on The Power Cover Letter. Space is limited and registration deadline is Friday September 5th. See details at the end of this article.



The Format

We know the most important section of the cover letter (the T) and there are other sections of this single page letter as well.

Letterhead

The top of the cover letter should have the same format and information you have on your resume. This is your letterhead and gives a professional look to your materials. This same letterhead should be used on all job search correspondences. Consider it your own custom stationery.

Address

You should address the letter to the name of the hiring manager. You should be able to get this name through networking. If you absolutely do not know the person’s name do not address the letter to Dear Sir. I am a female hiring manager and that won no points with me.

 Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph should mention the position you are applying for, include the position number if one was listed, and how you heard about the position. If you did it correctly, you networked into the position and can mention the person’s name who told you about the position or to contact that person.

Brag Phrase

Brag phrase is our name for the section that appears before the T . This phrase (a sentence or two) should affirm that your experience and abilities seem to be a great match for the position and transition to the T portion of the letter.

The T

The T consists of two columns with the respective titles of Your Requirements and My Qualifications or something equivalent.

Each requirement should be a separate row. The bulleted items in the right column should line up to the point it corresponds to in the left column.  If you have more qualifications for a particular requirement, it is fine to have white space on the left before the next bullet. An important reminder is to keep the text as concise as possible.

We are often asked what about how to handle requirements where you do not have the matching qualifications. The answer is not to list those. The hiring manager’s list is like a kid’s Santa list during the Christmas holiday. No child believes they are going to receive everything on the list, it is the items they would like to have.  Hiring managers list all of the skills and experience they would like to have. Even some requirements listed as mandatory will be overlooked when they find a great candidate.

Closing

The deal isn’t a deal until it is closed. Following the T portion, a closing phrase is needed that expresses your interest, belief that you are a great fit, and next steps. Consider using a statement regarding how you will follow-up with them in a few days to see if they have any questions.

Tips

  • To compile the phrases for the opening, brag and closing sections, RightChanges recommends looking through the book Cover Letters That Will Knock’em Dead by Martin Yate.  Go through and find wording that sounds like you, not all phrases and wording will.
  • To get your cover letter in front of the hiring manager and read, add the letter to the front of the resume in the same file. Do not have a separate file for the resume. Many hiring managers will believe it is the same old blah blah blah cover letter and not even open it. Plus having the cover letter as the first page of the resume will allow electronic resume scanners to find the keywords of the requirements.

Use the cover letter to walk the hiring manager through why you are the perfect candidate by using the most powerful cover letter format, the one page T cover letter.

 



WEBINAR DETAILS: Power Cover Letter Webinar

On Friday September 12th at noon US EDT, RightChanges is holding the Power Cover Letter webinar. You will learn how to write this powerful cover letter which visually shows hiring authorities why you are the right candidate. Do not leave it for them to figure it out for themselves. Standout from the competition.


Topics covered:

* Benefits of this format

* The do's and don'ts

* How to get them to "read" the cover letter

* Actual example from scratch: using a resume and job description, you will see a step by step demonstration using Microsoft Word on how to do it yourself

 

There will be time at the end of the webinar to get your cover letter questions answered

 

Registration deadline is Friday September 5th but don’t wait – space is limited.

 

To register go to: http://mkt.com/rightchanges , Select Webinar, and the Power Cover Letter Webinar.

 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week of Mon July 7th Hear Judi of RightChanges Being Interviewed

The week of July 7th, The Better You Network is airing the interview of Judi Adams of RightChanges, The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach, by Bill Williams on his new show Re-Inventing Your Future.


The interview will air twice a day, Monday July 7th - Friday July 11th, at 7-8am and again at 1-2pm on www.thebetteryounetwork.


To contact Judi, e-mail her at Judi@RightChanges.biz.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Checklist: Job Search Success




If you are just embarking on a job search OR if you are struggling to find a job, you probably want to know what successful job seekers do to land the job they want.


I believe in the program developed by Crossroads Career Services for finding a job. I was a logic major in college and these steps are logical. There is an overarching strategy and 6-7 tactical steps.

Not many coaches give away the steps to their program for free. My passion is to help job seekers succeed and my goal is to help as many people as I can. So below I listed the tactical steps that my clients used to find their jobs. Go through the checklist and see which steps you completed and which ones you missed. I am confident that if you perform each step (without shortcutting or skipping any) you too will be successful.  In the instances where I previously published an article detailing a particular step, I included the link to that article.


Is it work? Yes. Anything worth pursuing takes work. Knowing what you need to do though will help you navigate this new and challenging job market so you too can land a job you WANT.  Leaving a step out or taking breaks from the job search may elongate your job search.

 

If you are missing steps, want or need help, secure the services of a successful and reputable job search coach. I am Judi Adams and my company RightChanges, the Affordable and Successful Job Search coach welcomes the opportunity to partner with you in your search.  The first hour is only $25. To reach us go to: http://www.rightchanges.biz/contact_us.

 

P.S.

If you would like to know the overall strategy, e-mail me at Judi@RightChanges.biz with the subject line “What is the strategy?”  I will e-mail it to you. 

 

P.P.S.

If you want to begin a Career Ministry or to find out more about Crossroads programs in your area go to www.crossroadscareer.org.

 

Job Search Success Checklist

 


Attitude

1

I understand and demonstrate by my actions my acceptance that the job market has changed

2

I have chosen a positive attitude and rarely speak negatively and then only to close friends and family

http://bit.ly/1lddIdM

3

I do things  to keep my attitude positive

4

I read the book "Who Moved My Cheese" and decided I want to be more like Sniff and Scurry in my job search

5

I learned and use strong interpersonal skills such as active listening and how to read body language

http://bit.ly/1hy3Q8O

Aptitude

1

I know my actual strengths (Strengths Finder 2.0)

2

I have documented over 50 of my accomplishments which I have used on my resume and to answer interview questions

http://bit.ly/1pzKni0

3

I have taken training and grown my skills each month

http://bit.ly/1tLLgUl

Altitude

http://bit.ly/1ilwhNd


1

I can clearly and concisely articulate what I am looking for, the value the company will realize by hiring me, and how I am unique

http://bit.ly/1kdDcXc

 

2

I know the specific job title I am pursuing

3

I have identified 5-10 target companies although I'm open to other companies

http://bit.ly/1fbTuRC

4

I leverage informational interviews to gain information. I do not ask for a job nor ask if they are hiring

5

I am pursuing a level of job that is appropriate to my skills. I am not shooting too low where I am overqualified and I'm not settling for a job not in my desired industry.

6

I know the career I am pursuing is a fit for me and I look forward to doing that work

7

(Pursuing a new role or industry): I am aggressively learning about the new role / industry because it is unique; I need to know as much as possible and can't just rely on my transferable skills or that they will train me.

Marketing Materials

1

I have a phone number with a local area code

2

I have a professional e-mail address and it is not an AOL or Hotmail address

3

I have created, updated, and use all of the following required marketing materials

a) Elevator Pitch

b) business cards

http://bit.ly/1fB9N5e

c) LinkedIn profile

d) Networking Guide

http://bit.ly/1iWyVb5

e) T cover Letter

http://bit.ly/1jNrGPs

f) Resume

http://bit.ly/1pzK5Yz

4

I created my resume using the combination format and by identifying and highlighting keywords, skills, and experience based upon 5 job descriptions for that type of job.

5

My LinkedIn profile is complete including a professional headshot, greater than 100 contacts and growing, skills, groups, and I have broadcast turned on.

6

My elevator pitch takes less than 30 seconds to share, does not get historic (i.e. does not use the phrase "I used to"), clearly says what I am looking for, and ends with a questions in the form of a questions about them to engage the other person in a conversation.

7

I always have an ample supply of business cards with me whenever I leave the house

8

I shared my networking guide with family, friends, and anyone else who asks how they can help me with my job search

9

I ALWAYS customize the T cover letter and send it with my resume with EVERY job I apply to

10

Baby Boomers: I made sure to de-age my marketing materials, my self, and that I have updated my skills

11

I double check to be sure there are no spelling, grammar, or formatting errors in all correspondences & marketing materials (names are spelled correctly and I did not leave in references to other companies). I know this is business communications (not texting) so I use proper English.

12

I had a trained person review my marketing materials and confirm the materials clearly communicate my value and the specific job I am pursuing

13

I have identified and contacted people to serve as my 3 business and 3 personal references and have confirmed with them their contact information.

14

I always customize LinkedIn requests to include how we know each other. http://bit.ly/1rufGbz

15

I have at least 3 LinkedIn recommendations (different than endorsements)

Search

http://bit.ly/QMtbGn
http://bit.ly/1rufY21

1

I do not rely solely on applying online to find a job since the majority of jobs are in the hidden job market  and not posted

2

I use industry specific job boards

3

I repost my resume on job boards every 3 weeks

4

I network into the company after I apply on-line

5

I have a list of industry specific recruiters and I stay in touch with them periodically (ex every three weeks or so) to keep my name on the top of their minds

6

I am active on LinkedIn. I follow my target companies and read what is posted. I am active in my LinkedIn groups by "Like"ing discussions, commenting on other discussions, and even starting discussions. Under Courses on my profile I add industry related courses I have taken.

7

I stay up on business news in my town and on industry news. Ex in Atlanta I read the Atlanta Business Chronicle every week. I'm in technology and watch TechEdge Atlanta.

8

I have researched my target companies

9

I looked in LinkedIn to see who I know or who I know who knows people at my target companies and am networking to get an introduction.

10

I have identified and participate at local industry groups, meet a minimum of 5 new people at each meeting, and stay in touch with those contacts with an emphasis on trying to help them before they help me

11

I maintain a calendar and have job search activities on every weekday and accomplish the tasks listed

12

I get up, showered, and dressed the same time each day and spend at LEAST 5 hours every day on the job search with no more than 2 hours on-line

13

I follow directions ex. If the posting says no calls I don't call and I send the information to the correct e-mail address

14

When networking, I am in business casual attire at a minimum

15

I spend greater than 50% of my job search time networking and deepening my network

16

I friend, follow, or fan my target companies so I know what they are posting when they post it and I have Google Alerts set for each target company so I know the latest news on each.

17

I monitor the number of views my LinkedIn profile receives and by being active on LinkedIn I keep the count high

Sort / Interview


1

I have practiced interviewing, received feedback, and made adjustments as needed

2

After an interview I e-mail a thank you, then handwrite and US mail a thank you to every person I met with

3

Before an interview I conduct thorough research of the company

4

At the end of an interview I express interest in the job and I ask next steps and approximate timelines

http://bit.ly/PB9oIT

5

I follow-up with company contacts after the interview (polite persistence)

6

Even though I feel I am close on an opportunity, I continue the job search

7

I know how to deflect the salary discussion until I am the final candidate and there is an offer on the table

http://bit.ly/1pzKha9

8

I have interview clothes that fit and do not age me

9

When asked my strengths, I use my actual strengths as identified  through Strengths Finder 2.0.

10

I prepared my reply to the tough interview questions.

Select

http://bit.ly/1tLLFWH

1

I updated my marketing materials with the new position and I contacted people in my network to thank them and so they know to stop searching for me.

Next Steps

http://bit.ly/1ilNpg2

1

I know that jobs average 2.5 years and job security does not come from a company, industry, or job title. Instead job security comes from my keeping my skills up, my experience current, and my network of people active and I have to make these a priority.

 


Update 4/27/14:

 

One person commented:

According to the guide, I have to have at least 50 accomplishments from past ;jobs to even be considered as a valid applicant. This sounds to me like saying only super stars need apply.

 

Here is my response:

No superstar required (although you are probably more of one than you think).

 

That is the problem with my industries term "Accomplishments". It makes people think of a medallion around the neck, plaque on the wall, or trophy. Think of it instead as examples or "for instance"s.

If I ask you the question "tell me about a time you " that is a behavioral question and having these examples identified and documented ahead of time will help you answer concisely.

 

Job seekers should take this time to recall and document their

"for instances" some of which will be used on the resume, all will be fresh in the head for the interview, and it will remind you how accomplished you are.

 

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to clarify.

 

I believe high schoolers should begin the process of recording their "accomplishments" and continue through life so it is not as hard to recall. One of my favorite expressions is that memory does not get better with age - and forgetfulness starts early.