Cover Letter Essentials: Four Ways to Stand Out

August 15th, 2014

What sets a good cover letter apart from a great one? And what sets a strong candidate apart from average middle-of-the-road applicant who holds the minimum requirements for the position, but not much else? Here are four cover letter moves that can set you apart from the crowd.

1. Set the right tone from the beginning.

Instead of launching your letter with a long, wordy, or apologetic preamble, just get the point. State the title of the job you’d like to apply for and how you found out about it, for example: “I’d like to apply for the marketing manager position posted on” Avoid openings like: “I’m so sorry to waste your time and I know you must be very busy, but if it wouldn’t trouble you too much, maybe you could consider me for the position of….etc, etc”.

2. Explain why you want this job.

In order to do this, you’ll have to provide a bit of your personal and professional background. Don’t talk about your family, marital, age, handicapped, race, or religious status, but feel free to share how you got into this business and what inspires your passion for this type of work. You can also explain what you’re looking for during the next step of your career and (so far) haven’t found.

3. Explain why you’re a perfect fit.

Visit the company website before you write your letter so you know how to tack this challenge. Explain what you know about this organization and its needs, and then tell your reader how you’re perfectly poised to meet those needs. If your skill sets, background, interests and ambitions all align with the company’s mission and goals, this is your moment to shine a spotlight on this alignment and draw it into focus.

4. Wrap it up.

Bring your letter to a polite conclusion and explain exactly what you’d like your readers to do next. Phrase your request in the form of an invitation. For example: “I believe I have the skills and experience necessary to thrive in this position and help your company reach its growth targets in the year ahead, and I’d welcome an opportunity to further explain my qualifications in person. I invite you to review my enclosed resume and contact me at your convenience. Thank you for your interest.”

At all times, keep your cover letter clear, concise, relevant and short. For more information, contact the Charlotte job search and employment experts at PSU.

How to Become a Career Mentor

May 2nd, 2014

You’ve been working in your industry for several years now, inching your way up from the lowest level, making mistakes, bouncing back, asking the right questions, and climbing the ladder rung by rung. You know you haven’t gotten this far on your own—Plenty of others have helped you along the way by offering advice and setting a successful example. And now that you’ve arrived, you’d like to give something back by acting as a mentor for someone else.

If this describes you, you’re on the right track. Helping someone else is a great way to enhance your own career, and chances are, you’ll learn as much from your mentees as they do from you. But before this happens, you’ll have to establish a strong mentor relationship in the first place. Here are a few ways to get started.

1. Look around. Are there any younger or less experienced employees who you interact with on a daily basis who may already see you in this light? If so, take steps to formalize this arrangement. Ask them if they’d like to commit to weekly or monthly meetings, reading assignments, and feedback sessions. Let them know your reasoning, and let them know that you see potential in them and would like to help them reach their goals.

2. If you don’t see an obvious choice for a mentee, consult with mangers or company decision makers and encourage them to help you or to pair you with a younger employee who may be looking for professional guidance from a personal source.

3. Keep the relationship focused on your mentee’s goals, not your own goals or the goals you would like them to have. Before you pontificate or offer answers, make sure you listen carefully for the questions that interest your mentee the most.

4. When you don’t know, say so. But when you do know and you do have the answers, speak up. Be generous with your wisdom. Draw valuable information and helpful narratives from your own experience.

5. Document the relationship and your mentee’s progress as well as you can. In terms of growth and professional progress, milestones aren’t really real until they’re written down. Use your documentation to help set the course for future sessions, and call upon your records before you write recommendation letters, share testimonials, or help your mentee land a promotion or new position.

For more on how to build a relationship that can help both you and a mentee move your careers forward, contact the staffing and career development experts at Personnel Services Unlimited.

Five Time Management Techniques that can Improve Your Efficiency

April 4th, 2014

Do you ever wonder how your impeccably dressed, cool and confident, universally beloved coworker gets it all done? Do you ever watch out of the corner of your eye while she chats by the coffee machine and then ends the conversation at exactly the right moment before getting back to work? Do you watch him finish his reports and then scoop up his belongs and step out the door at five while you’re still chained to your desk by yesterday’s deadlines? If you’re looking for ways to increase your efficiency and make the most of your working day, consider the five tips below.

1. Wake Up Properly

Take control of your morning. Sleep with the curtains open so your natural clock adjusts to the rhythm of the sun. Keep your sleeping space cool, uncluttered, and wake yourself up gently. If you hate your blaring alarm, stop using it. Don’t let the first minute of the morning be the worst minute of the day.

2. List and Plan

If you don’t like listing and planning, stay flexible and give the process another try. When you wake up, make an actual list for the day ahead using a pad and pen or your smartphone. Add items to the list and cross them off throughout the day. Make yourself do this for one week and evaluate the results before you go back to your old methods.

3. Track your Movements

You can often recognize inefficient people just by watching them move around a room. Tune into your own movements and take a close look at how you get things done. Do you walk back and forth across a room five times to execute a simple task? You won’t know until you actually observe yourself. Reduce the number of motions you put into each task, and apply this exercise to other aspects of your day.

4. Stop Overthinking

If you put off returning a phone call for three days, you’ll make that painful call in your mind over and over countless times before you actually do it, and a five minute call will become a three-day ordeal. Don’t subject yourself to an unpleasant experience more times than you need to. Protect the quiet and tranquility of your own mind the same way you protect the quiet and order of your home, your bed, and your workspace. Guilt about the past, helpless worry about the future, and five unpleasant minutes on the phone should be cleared away like the clutter that they are.

5. Go to Bed

Late night hours spent talking with your children and loved ones are hours well spent. But late night hours mesmerized by the TV because you’re too tired to turn it off and go to bed are not. TV paralysis ruins more mornings, and consequently more workdays, then almost any other aspect of our lives. Just turn it off. Set a bedtime (try 10:30 PM) and commit to that time just as you commit to any other serious appointment. Then observe a magical transformation in your mornings, your attitude, your productivity and your overall health.

For more tips on how to manage the increasingly complex, busy workdays that are becoming the signatures of modern life, reach out to the staffing and employment experts at PSU.

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