writing a good cover letter

urbanweasel-deactivated20150717  asked:

How do u apply to jobs so quickly/easily??? omg

okay i am going to share with you my process, something i have developed over three years of job searching to make the whole nonsense as painless and quick as it can be.

so. first things first: make a google doc. at the very top of the google doc, set up a list of links to job boards, like so, here’s a snippet of my list:

note though that these aren’t just links to idealist, linkedin, whatever - these are links to searches. sites like idealist, linkedin, and charity village let you select options like location, level of experience, and salary range in order to filter job postings. set those filters, run a search, and then copy and paste the URL of that search into your list of job boards. this way, when you click on that link, you will get a list of all the jobs that are relevant to you, updated constantly. it’s quicker than running separate, individual searches every time. i check every board on my list once a day - having the list is a simple way to save time and streamline that whole process.

so, when i open up a job board, i quickly scan it for any positions i’m eligible for.

just by looking at these listings, i can immediately rule out the first one (it’s spam) and the third one (i don’t have any real background in health sciences). but the second job? right up my alley. 

i open up the listing in a new tab and scroll right to the qualifications section to see if i’m qualified - no point reading an entire listing only to find out that i’m missing some mandatory criterion, like, idk, speaking spanish, or having a law degree. here’s what that section looks like in the horton’s kids listing:

i have every one of these qualifications, so, great, i can add this to my list.

remember that google doc with the list of job boards at the top? add another section: jobs to apply for. create entries for each listing that look something like this:

the name of the organization is a link to the job ad. i’ve also got the title of the job, the website of the organization, the day the ad was posted, the day i have to apply by, the day i DID apply (which i will fill in once i apply, and bump this to the “jobs i have applied for” section), and then a list of required elements of the application and any relevant details.

the next thing you need to do, and by far the hardest component of applying for jobs, is to write a cover letter. make it a good one. and by this, i don’t mean, “sit down and write out a page-long cover letter for every single job you apply to” - i mean, write a strong cover letter that describes who you are and what your qualifications are, and include a couple of places where you can “personalize” the letter to include details that are specific to the job posting. basically, just write a really good canned cover letter and include three or four sentences that specifically address the job and why you are what they specifically are looking for. if you’re applying for different types of jobs, you can have different types of canned cover letters - for instance, i have separate cover letter templates for communications jobs, administrative jobs, policy jobs, and lgbtq/feminist organization jobs. each one highlights different pieces of my resume that are relevant to those areas, and all i have to do is plug in a few details about the specific posting. but spend time on these canned cover letters. make them good. make them not sound canned.

anyway, once you’ve written your cover letter, send the e-mail, attach the resume, and move the listing to the “jobs i have applied for” section. do this as quickly as possible. like, ideally, the day the posting goes up. never wait for the deadline to submit an application. i like to colour code listings, just for personal convenience - yellow = the deadline hasn’t passed yet, red = rejection, green = you’ve been asked to interview. oh and number your applications.

once you’ve submitted your job application, keep track of any developments in your application like this:

honestly as someone who lives with an anxiety disorder, and for whom job applications are especially stressful, this approach works for me because it’s so systematic. i don’t have to agonize over every single little detail. i can just scan my job boards, make an entry on my list, send a cover letter and resume, and move tf on. and as long as my cover letter is good and i’m attentive about sending applications in as soon as i can, i don’t sacrifice quality.

i hope that helps??? let me know if you want any more tips. <3

Alright, so, if you’ve ever wondered what happens after you send your resume off to a potential employer, here’s what I can tell you. But keep in mind, this is just based on my own experiences. Other people probably do things differently.

Here’s the basics. Whatever job you’re applying for, you should know you’re not the only person applying. Probably a lot of people are. That means two things: 1. They’re probably skimming. 2. You have no idea what might make you stand out.

Every time I’ve ever helped hire for a job, there were loads of qualified applicants. Which means the first thing you do is try to find your no’s, the people you can weed out. For me, I ask, do I want to interview this person. The answer choices are yes, no, and maybe. 

On that note, make sure you always, always follow the instructions on the job posting. If you don’t, there’s a decent chance you’ll get tossed in a no pile. If they ask for a resume and a cover letter, send both. If they ask for salary requirements, send them. Don’t give them a reason to rule you out right off the bat. 

Similarly, proofread. If they’re skimming, and one of the three things they notice is a mistake, that doesn’t bode well for you. At an absolute minimum, make sure you haven’t done something particularly silly, like send them a letter with the wrong company name in the title, or the wrong job referenced, or notes to yourself about things you still need to add. You’d be surprised how often this happens.

When it comes to resumes, formatting matters. But not like you think. Don’t get bogged down on how pretty the style is. They aren’t going to. But they’ll probably notice if your columns are all janky. Basically, don’t send them something that looks half-assed, because no one wants a half-assed employee. But beyond that, don’t kill yourself over the style. I’ve seen a lot of resumes. I’ve never seen two that looked the same. There’s no magical right way to do it. And it’s the content that matters the most.

So, content. I think everyone looks at this stuff differently. I’ve worked at places that used rubrics, to try to guide people, and get everyone on the same page. I’ve had bosses who go straight to the work history. If they don’t like what they see, they’re not going to bother with any of the rest of it. Personally, I skim the cover letter first, and then look at the work history, to see how it connects. That’s often an issue. If you talk about something in your cover letter, I should be able to find that experience on your resume. If your cover letter mentions that you have a long history working with kids, but your resume doesn’t include a single thing related to working with kids, I’m going to assume “long history working with kids” = “has a sibling” and move on. 

The best resume I saw (in my opinion) had skills and qualifications up top, and used it well. If you’re going to do that, make sure (again, imo) there’s a straight line connecting it to your job history and your cover letter. If you’re going to list “self-motivated” as an attribute, make sure that’s demonstrated in you work history. Talk about how you, as a freelance artist, have to seek out those commissions, set your own hours, and meet those deadlines, and you’re the only person holding yourself accountable. If you’re going to list “team-player” as a qualification, talk about being on the volleyball team, and recognizing that you succeed and fail as a unit, that the team is bigger than any individual player (I don’t know that it’s the norm to list sports on a resume, but certainly if you don’t have any work history, or it’s pretty slim, you should have at it. I had a boss who loved hiring team-sport athletes, specifically because he thought they understood the value of teamwork.).Highlights in the resume, depth in the cover letter. That’s what I liked, anyway. Also, if there’s no depth, it just sounds like buzzword bingo. It’s good to have initiative, to be a hardworker, and to be a team player. But no one is going to believe you unless you can actually demonstrate it. 

Which reminds me, take some time to think about the things you’ve done in your life that have actually changed you, given you skills, made you a better, or more productive, or more capable person. One of the most formative experiences in my life was an epic failure, but I learned how to handle stress, how to prioritize an eight hour day with twelve hours of work in it. I can apply that to any situation. So whatever it is that has made you you, don’t be afraid to use that. You have no idea what is going to stand out to a potential employer. You may think there’s nothing much to talk about when it comes to being a freelance artist, or volleyball player, or whatever, but I see a wealth of positive attributes. 

But beyond that, knowing the job I was hiring for, I would have been all over a freelance artist, or someone who was a writer, because it doesn’t pay a ton, but there’s a lot of down time. So, someone super qualified with lots of experience would probably leave fairly quickly in search of higher pay, but someone who’d really benefit from getting paid to sit at a desk and answer a phone every half hour or so with nothing else do, someone who’d love to fill all that down time with their own projects, now they might stay a long time. That might be a great symbiotic relationship. A guaranteed salary and a chance to work on commissions  or a novel, or whatever while at work is a great deal, for the right person.  

My point is, don’t count yourself out before you’ve even tried, I once got a job because one of the schools listed on my resume was in Ireland, and the person I handed it to thought that was cool. I walked in off the street, handed them my resume, chatted for ten minutes, had an interview the next week, and a job the day after. 

Which leads me to my last piece of advice. When you’re applying for jobs, think shotgun, not sniper rifle. Apply to so many things you don’t even have the option to take it personally if you don’t get called back, because you don’t even remember you applied there. Applying for one job can talk a long time. But every one after that is a steal. Spend some time writing a good resume and a good cover letter that could be tailored just slightly to apply to most jobs. Proofread, read them aloud you yourself, have people you trust read them. Save them. Then, for every job posting you see, save as CoverLetter2017.01.17 (or whatever system you want to use). Tailor the job title, etc. If there are particular professions you want to work in, create specific cover letters and resumes (i.e. if you want to work at a preschool, have one that highlights your experience working at the YMCA, but if you want to work at a dental clinic, have one that highlights office experience; if you’re applying in multiple fields, have multiple tailored resumes.).

I’ve mostly worked general sorts of jobs, that most people can probably do. I suspect if you’re chemical engineer, it’s probably a very different deal. But if you’re just like, damn I really need a job so I can pay my rent, all of that word vomit up there is the best I can offer you by way of advice. 

Oh, and also, get an e-mail address that looks professional. john.smith@gmail.com and mrwizard227@gmail.com create two very different impressions. (Note: I made those up. Apologies to anyone who happens to have those e-mail address. No offense was intended.)

If anyone has any questions, feel free to shoot them over. I can’t promise I’ll have a good answer, but I promise to try. 

scrawlers replied to your postkatchan00 said: Cover letters are AWFUL. Good luck…

I’ll have to keep that in mind for the future, because I always end up feeling bad for talking myself up, hahaha. And I don’t know why Tumblr won’t let people tag me; this site is a pain sometimes. =/

In my view, the purpose of a cover letter isn’t to talk yourself up but to explain how you fit for the position they’re advertising.  Like, especially moving between organizations, they won’t always be able to translate what’s in your resume into what they need, and they can’t always tell from a resume how you’re going to fit in with their corporate culture.

Your resume is just a list of things you’ve done, but your cover letter is where you put it in context.  Pick the bullets that you think apply the most and explain to them what they mean in terms of the job as they’ve described it.   

Translate your resume into THEIR context.  That’s all you’re doing.

You don’t have to say “I am the best fucking TITLE ever”.  You can say “My work at COMPANY has given me extensive/solid/working experience in FUNCTION.”  You can say “I successfully managed PROJECT and achieved OUTCOMES.”  You don’t need superlatives - just straightforward statements and taking credit for things you actually did.  

It took me a long time to feel comfortable with telling people I’ve succeeded at things.  Just that: “I succeeded at this” was a hard statement, even though it was true.  “I’m good at this” was even harder.  But at the end of the day, there are things I HAVE succeeded at, and there are things I AM good at, and I have earned the right to make those statements (on cover letters AND in casual conversation).

The first time I successfully wrote a cover letter without qualifying or reducing my own accomplishments (not bragging about them, just not playing them down), I did it fueled mostly by defiance and anger, and the idea in my head that I WAS a good candidate for the job, and I wasn’t doing the hiring party any favours by making it harder for them to realize that.  They’re just trying to find the right person.  Maybe that’s me and maybe it’s not, but I’m not the WRONG person, and the wrong person is out there somewhere bragging on his cover letter.  It would be shitty of me to leave them with no other options and then they get stuck with somebody overplaying their hand, you know?

If I write a good cover letter and they choose him over me, that’s on them, but if I didn’t at least give them the information they needed to make that choice informed, then that’s on me.

(Being on the hiring end of the cover letter ordeal actually helped me work through a lot of this.)


Just need to write up solid resume, cover letter etc

God bless @howtogrowthefuckup

The future hasn’t looked this bright in a while… It’s certainly a lot better than “Pizza Pizza is my only solid lead at the moment”

anonymous asked:

In your latest job advice post, you mentioned using coherent business writing in your cover letter. Do you have any tips for writing good cover letters? Thank you.

I do! If you go to this post and scroll down to “The Cover Letter” (it’s an underlined heading) I’ve written up my technique for the “personalized cover letter template” there. I’ve also got some additional “How to write a cover letter for a job you’re not quite qualified for” advice here.

anonymous asked:

i need a job but no one will hire me what do i do!

give your typical application process a makeover!! use a cool resume layout and apply to places you can get passionate about and write a really good cover letter. so many ppl overlook cover letters. dont just drop a resume and run, talk to the people who you’d be working with, introduce yourself and express your interest, stay on their radar. if you havent heard anything after a week send an email asking if they need any other info or if they want to touch base or something. just like force yourself to stand out. if you look and act like every other applicant who just wants a job, your resume is just gonna end up in a stack somewhere