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Category Archives for Cover Letters

Tips For Including References in Your Job Search

Searching for a job in today’s world is a very competitive task to undertake. While most of us like to think that obtaining a good job is more about our skills and qualifications than whom we know, this is not always the case. Therefore, the references that you add to your resume may be very well just as important to the potential employer as the skills that you list under your qualification section.

When thinking about the people that you will use as references for your job search, think more about the people that can positively contribute to your employment search rather then simply finding people that you know. Consider listing three to five people that can all add to different areas of your personality.

Add someone who will contribute greatly to your work ethic, education, skills, or other areas pertaining specifically to you as an employee or student. In many cases, a former supervisor, boss, or even teacher is listed to comment on this aspect of your life. Friends may be listed on the reference list to add to your personal character. However, family members are not a good choice. For personal character, preachers or members of your church are also good choices. Using a former customer or client as a reference can add to give detail about your work quality.

When choosing your references, think about people that will stand out and gain attention from the specific future employer. Try to avoid using generic references with every application and resume. For example, consider using someone you know that has an interest in the company you are applying. This may be someone who works there, is a shareholder, or a financial contributor. Also look for people that can contribute to the specific skills needed for the job. If you are applying for a nursing job, use references from your nursing school, clinical training, or former nursing jobs that can add positively about your skills as a nurse.

Keep in mind that you want to use people that know you well enough to add detail about you when called upon. You want someone that can say more than simply he or she is a good worker. The more specific positive detail a reference can say about you the better.

When adding reference to your resume, never list them on the same page along with all of your personal information. References belong on a separate sheet. Always wait to turn in a reference list and/or reference letters when they are requested. Some employers want references up front and others want to narrow down resumes before seeking out opinions from references.

Choosing the references you will use on your resume is an important and critical decision. Always have a purpose for selecting the people that you add to your resume reference list. In addition, always gain the permission and feedback from the person you list before turning in the resume.


Better Than a Free Resume Cover Letter – How to Make Sample Resume Cover Letters Get Noticed

The job market, like everything in this economy, has changed dramatically. And so have basic job search tools, including cover letters. Today’s market is ultra-competitive. Your cover makes you stand out. Or your recede into the background like a sheet of wall paper.

If you simply copy a free resume cover letter off the net, you’re relying on the same template most of the other job applicants are using. You need a way to make your cover letter unforgettable.

Here are a few quick tactics that will help.

1. Relate an interesting story about yourself. Start with sample resume cover letters, sure. But add a story about about yourself. People recount stories again and again. Brief snippets and anecdotes that they think make them seem more interesting or just give them a chance to engage with others. What story could an interviewer recount about you?

For example, imagine Saj, the hiring manager, standing around the water cooler at the end of the day. He decides to break the ice by saying, “So, I’m gonna be interviewing this guy who is teaching his son to make radio controlled airplanes completely from scratch.”

Instantly, the guy telling the story is more interesting himself. His status is raised because he’s talking to someone that others find fascinating. Not only that, he’s looking forward to talking to you. And you can bet that story is going to come up and you’ll have an opportunity to connect on some level other than business.

2. The envelope matters. It seems like a small point. But it’s important for two reasons. Letter carriers have a reputation among direct mail marketers for throwing away letters to lighten their load. Especially when they think the letters are junk mail. I know it sounds outrageous, but it happens and not just rarely. You can track how it impacts delivery rates.

Second, you don’t want the interviewer to receive a letter from you that looks like one of eighty-seven you’ve just mass-produced, even if it is.

Get a blue felt pen or a red ink stamp and print something relevant and eye catching on the front of the envelope. Even “FIRST CLASS” will catch the recruiter’s eye. But you can do better. Try “For (recruiter’s name)”.

Be scrupulously honest. Don’t get personal (Your Eyes Only). And if you promise something special or custom, be sure to deliver inside.

3. Don’t just think about it do it. Your competition doesn’t. So, it’s a great way to set yourself apart and make yourself the obvious candidate.

Make a system that enables you to modify a free resume cover letter so that it is absolutely optimized to get you calls, and make it automated so you you actually do it every time (and don’t just think about it like your competition will).

Find out how to write a cover letter that recruiters can’t put down at Do it now before even just 4 of the other 371 guys competing for your job do.

Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Hire

The 21st Century was supposed to usher in a wave of retiring Baby Boomers who would live off the spoils of their retirement funds traveling to sunny destinations, playing golf and enjoying time with their grandchildren. The reality of 2009 has many Baby Boomers reconsidering this vision of their future! Some Baby Boomers who feel that they are in the prime of their careers and too young retire, have postponed leaving the labor force for several more years. While other retiree-wanna be’s are forced to continue working because current economic circumstances have depleted their retirement savings, depreciated their home value and raised the cost of living, leaving them without the necessary funds to retire.

Whatever their reason for staying in the labor market, many Baby Boomers claim age discrimination when it comes time to look for a new job. This is a difficult claim to refute when you look at the results of a recent US Labor Statistics Report. Although the rate of unemployment for Baby Boomers is lower than the national average of 8.9%, when unemployment hits this group it lasts longer than any other demographic; 22 weeks on average. And as the recession deepens it is predicted that this time period will be even longer. The good news for Baby Boomers is that there are simple things that they can do to ward off age discrimination and land their next great job. No plastic surgery or hair dye required!

1. Ageless Thinking

If you believe that your age is an issue, then it will be issue! Focus your energy on selling your skills and experience to potential employers, not on defending your age.

2. Think Healthy

The only time you should divulge health conditions during an interview is if good physical health is a requirement for a job. If you have had previous health problems, heart attack, diabetes, cancer, etc, do not volunteer this information to a potential employer.

3. Have a technology friendly Ugly Resume

In a sea of thousands of other applicants, you must have a technology friendly resume that can be found and entices hiring managers to call you. Younger applicants would never mail a typed resume to a potential employer, nor should you.

4. Make your Ugly Resume Ageless

Do not include your birth date, graduation date or more than 15 years of experience on your resume. Do not list out-dated software, hardware or systems experience. Listing out-dated technical skills paints a picture of an out-dated job seeker.

5. Be Selective

Only apply for jobs that you are qualified for. Do not apply for jobs that you are either over-qualified or under-qualified for. You will set yourself up for rejection and disappointment.

6. Use Technology

When applying for a job, apply online or email the potential employer directly. These simple actions indicate to a potential employer that you have the basic technical aptitude needed to do most jobs.

7. Have an Ageless Interview

During an interview, sell the benefits of “you” to a potential employer. Do not spend the interview defending your age or trying to convince the interviewer that you have the health and stamina to do the job! Younger job seekers would never mention these points, nor should you.

8. Build a Bridge

When interviewing with a younger hiring manager, do not intimidate him or her with your age and experience. Do not make statements such as: “when you were in diapers, I was managing a team of 30 people” or “the work ethic from my generation is much better than your generation”. You need to make this person comfortable with you and make them feel that they can manage you without any problems.

9. Don’t answer any direct questions about your age.

It is illegal for employers to ask direct questions about your age during an interview. If a potential employer asks you how old you are, don’t answer the question; rather answer the intent behind the question.

10. Sell Your Lifestyle

Older job seekers offer employers many benefits over their younger counter-parts such as: years of proven experience, expertise, seasoned judgment and lack of family responsibilities (small children) that may interfere with job performance. Sell these features of you during an interview!

If you have experienced age discrimination during an interview, don’t get discourage! Find another opening, apply and move on. There are plenty of employers who value older workers. Remember, you have worked too hard in your life to end up in a job where you are not valued. For more tips on how to successfully land your next great job, see Ugly Resumes Get Jobs and Other Fishing Lessons (

Jennifer Rallis is co-author of Ugly Resumes Get Jobs and Other Fishing Lessons ( CEO of CORPX, a technical recruiting firm and VP of BM Imports.

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