Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?

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Benjamin28

On a similar note...

Say I'm interested in applying to a large business which has multiple positions which interest me, they've advertised one opening in particular which I would customize my cover letter to...would it then be acceptable to have a generalized sentence along the lines "I would also be amenable to discussing other positions within XXX Corp. in which my skills and knowledge would be an asset."? Or do you believe I should keep all focus on the position which I know there is an opening for?

Your input on this would be quite appreciated.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
On a similar note...

Say I'm interested in applying to a large business which has multiple positions which interest me, they've advertised one opening in particular which I would customize my cover letter to...would it then be acceptable to have a generalized sentence along the lines "I would also be amenable to discussing other positions within XXX Corp. in which my skills and knowledge would be an asset."? Or do you believe I should keep all focus on the position which I know there is an opening for?

Your input on this would be quite appreciated.
In the very first post of this thread, I wrote (color and size emphasis added for effect in stressing the point pertinent to your question),
I believe the primary reason is that the candidate has neglected the first step in the job search - he hasn't decided the kind of job he wants and is suited for.

I have seen countless resumes begin with
Objective: a management position where I will have a chance to grow and expand my skills
I usually stop reading right there.

How about:
Objective: . . .Open to a wide variety of positions within an organization assisting in . . .
"assisting" is a sure sign of a "follower" and "wide variety" tells me he doesn't know what he wants and is hoping I will figure out what he's good for. We'll never know, because it hits the circular file.

Get my drift?
If you want to convince a hirer you are right for the job, you have to be convinced yourself. Any hint you are not convinced puts your resume in the trash.
 
B

Benjamin28

That's a relatively narrowminded "blinders on" perspective I think. Perhaps the applicant is equally talented, qualified, and interested in varying positions (as their resume displays) and simply wants to add a subtle suggestion that opens the reader up to that possibility so that if the position is already filled they might be considered in other areas.

But I do get your drift, the focus should be completely on the job opening with nothing to distract from that.

I do always write my covers with the assumption that the reader has ADHD and perceives application review as a negative task, i.e. concise and focused, I was just curious if there's a good way to nudge the employer to say "this applicant is not limited to only this position", which in my perspective certainly does not infer "indecisive".

Many thanks for the advice :tg:
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
That's a relatively narrowminded "blinders on" perspective I think. Perhaps the applicant is equally talented, qualified, and interested in varying positions (as their resume displays) and simply wants to add a subtle suggestion that opens the reader up to that possibility so that if the position is already filled they might be considered in other areas.

But I do get your drift, the focus should be completely on the job opening with nothing to distract from that.

I do always write my covers with the assumption that the reader has ADHD and perceives application review as a negative task, i.e. concise and focused, I was just curious if there's a good way to nudge the employer to say "this applicant is not limited to only this position", which in my perspective certainly does not infer "indecisive".

Many thanks for the advice :tg:
What do you expect? I tell it like it is, NOT as you would like it to be. My "narrow view" is just factual and what most (not all) "gatekeepers" AND those with hiring authority have as
guidelines or policy in reviewing applicants.

There are exceptions, but I can't think of any with a real probability of occurring in today's job market.

Let's take one scenario and see how it plays out:

Company advertises
"Director of Quality" plus
"Quality Manager" plus
"Quality Supervisor."
The expectation of the hiring authority is that candidates for each position will have have different levels of experience, skill, knowledge, and probably even charisma!

A fellow who qualified for Director of Quality would be viewed with suspicion if he added to his resume "by the way, if you can't see me as Director of Quality material, I'll also want to be considered for the Quality Manager or Quality Supervisor positions you advertised."

That kind of statement signals the candidate is
  1. not confident of his own qualifications, or
  2. desperate, or
  3. both
Most hiring managers think a desperate guy who will take a job far below his real qualification is just "temporary" and has "one foot out the door" until he finds a job to fit his qualifications. Hiring employees is a pragmatic business. No hiring manager is willing to take a chance on a guy he figures will leave in a heartbeat and leave the company in the lurch.
 
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A

Anthony Houghton

Thanks Wes for pointing me in the direction of this post.

It is quite a difficult task at times - certainly at times of redundancy or unemployment - to put a very positive slant on ones thinking, let alone on your writing. One thing I used to write was "constantly striving for" which sounded as though I was never quite achieving. To me it sounded perfectly positive at the time. Now I realise how it can be read. It is these subtleties in the writing of the English language that are sometimes forgotten.

My only advise is to write it down, then leave it for a while. Then come back and read it and ask yourself, just how is it that these words could be misconstrued? Then go away and do the same again, several times!

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed! This always helps :D
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Thanks Wes for pointing me in the direction of this post.

It is quite a difficult task at times - certainly at times of redundancy or unemployment - to put a very positive slant on ones thinking, let alone on your writing. One thing I used to write was "constantly striving for" which sounded as though I was never quite achieving. To me it sounded perfectly positive at the time. Now I realise how it can be read. It is these subtleties in the writing of the English language that are sometimes forgotten.

My only advise is to write it down, then leave it for a while. Then come back and read it and ask yourself, just how is it that these words could be misconstrued? Then go away and do the same again, several times!

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed! This always helps :D
Yep. It is a good idea to let a cover letter (and even the resume) ripen a bit before sending it on. I also urge everyone to find SOMEONE they trust to give a frank review of the document besides their own review after it has had a chance to ripen.

I had a business partner in the 1990s who had one of the best BS detectors I've ever seen. He'd look at a document (whether it was one of my sales letters or a [supposedly] factual report I wrote on a manufacturing process) and almost immediately begin slashing words and writing big comments in red ink like the following:

  1. REALLY!?
  2. YOU WROTE "TRUST ME" - THAT CALLS EVERYTHING YOU WROTE INTO QUESTION
  3. REMEMBER: "WIIFM" IS OUR CONTINUAL COMMAND FROM THE CUSTOMER - WHERE IS HIS BENEFIT?
 
A

amanbhai

What do we do when we do not possess Technical know how when only those people are hired who have the technical skills? I have done MSc Statistics a decade back however, companies are hiring only those people like have strong background of engineering, dyes, worked with FDA.:nopity:
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Well, it's been almost a year since the last post in this thread. I just finished rereading every post (even cleaned up some of my old typos!) and I am glad to see the advice throughout the thread holds up especially well in this current economic climate.

One or two of the posters in this thread have moved on, not visiting the Cove in more than a year. I hope they moved on to greener pastures as a result of what they learned from this thread.

In one of my posts, I wrote
Some tips:
  • Double check the voice mail message on your phone - is it professional (no toddler saying, "Daddy can't come now, he's giving me a bath!") Some folks get a cell phone just for this purpose with voice mail so no kids inadvertently answer or tie up the line. You can make outgoing calls on any phone and not run up the cell bill.
  • Get a separate free email box (Yahoo or hotmail) which is just for job hunting. No one will think less of you for this. Have email rigged to send a "vacation notice" in response to every incoming mail which says something to the effect, Please ensure I have all necessary contact information if you need a reply. I check this mailbox every 24 hours and will return a response the following business day. Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you need to reach me right away.
Only yesterday, I called a phone number for a person who had left a flyer on my doorstep advertising a car detailing service and was treated to a two minute recording of some heavy metal band with no further information to indicate whether I had even reached the correct number (my redial feature confirmed the number was the same as the flyer) plus my hearing was so jumbled by the music I have no idea whether there was even a "beep" to indicate I could record a message.

Since I had a busy day ahead of me, I chose not to make an effort to educate this person on how to get my business, but merely put the flyer in my recycle bin.

Faced with dozens or even hundreds of resumes and applications, most recruiters and their gatekeepers follow a similar course of action - if the cover letter and resume and subsequent followup contact don't present a case for the candidate clearly and effectively, it's easier to put it in the recycle bin and check the next candidate.

PLEASE TAKE THIS MESSAGE TO HEART!

I want every reader of this thread to be as successful as he can be in his job hunt, but it won't happen by magic. There is a process which works. If you argue that the process is old and outmoded, you may be right, but that won't change the mindset of the folks looking at YOUR cover letter and resume. If you don't sell them on the idea you can be a valuable addition to their organization, your message will hit the recycle bin just like my would-be car detailer's.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Thread bump!

Rarely a week goes by that I do NOT receive some plaintive email or private message from some relative stranger whom I have never met nor whom I am ever likely to meet in person in this lifetime, asking me for personal help in writing a resume or a cover letter or even worse, in my opinion, asking me to provide a reference when I have never seen any of this person's work product.

This is different, I hasten to add, than getting a request from someone with whom I have had personal correspondence over a number of years and whose writings and work product have impressed me.

Here's the deal: when I write in these discussion forums about job hunting, I am writing for a mass market, just like any author. I try to give as much information for people to use and adapt to their personal situations as I possibly can. If you don't understand something I have written, make a comment in the public forum for me to answer it there. Chances are, others also didn't understand or misinterpreted what I wrote and many people can therefore benefit from your question. When people send me a pm or email saying, "What did you mean by . . .?" I'm not being a jerk by writing back, saying, "Ask that question in the Forum!" I'm trying to be efficient with my time and energy by putting my response in the public arena where it will answer the instant question, but probably forestall dozens of future emails or private messages asking, "What did you mean by . . .?" saving time and energy for everyone.

If you disagree with what I wrote, say so in public and give your reasoning. I rarely take offense at well-reasoned dissent with my views - it is the intent of public forums to provide spirited debate about topics, as long as folks remember we attack ideas, not personalities.

Validity of thread and dead links

As I write this in 2011, nearly seven years after the first post in the thread, I tell you frankly everything in this thread is still valid. I have gone through and removed some dead links (it's the nature of the internet!) and ask that if you come across any dead links in this thread or any other thread, you click on the report post button at the top of each individual message box and report the dead link so a moderator may deal with it.
 
H

HunterYHT

After spending a long night reading, I want to say thank you to you, Mr. Bucey for this thread. This is very useful for me. Thanks
 
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