Cover Letter Conundrums (Part 3 of 3)

By Mary Carden, CPRW

In the third and final installment of this series, I will review the trickiest circumstances to talk about in your cover letter: risky situations. Although it might feel like sharing these circumstances could start your job search on the wrong foot, that’s not necessarily the case. Here are strategies to address potential “red flag” scenarios without hurting your chances of landing an interview.

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Cover Letter Conundrums (Part 1 of 3)

By Mary Carden, CPRW

There are a thousand “how to write a cover letter” tutorials on the Internet, but most of them offer the same tired advice that results in unremarkable, cookie-cutter letters. It’s true that every cover letter needs to fulfill three main goals:

      1.  Introduce yourself, your experiences, and your qualifications for the role
      2. Share your reasons for pursuing a position at this company
      3. Differentiate yourself from other candidates

While writing a cover letter that addresses those three objectives is important, this guide discusses other ways you can use your cover letter to advance your application, build a relationship with the hiring manager, and streamline the recruitment process for everyone involved.Read more

What You Need to Know About Employment Background Checks

When an interviewer tells you, “Everything looks good. We’ll just need to run a background check,” it’s normal for your heart to start pounding–even if you’re pretty confident your background check is clean.

Understanding the reasons and scope of background checks should put your mind to rest. In this post, I’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about background checks.Read more

Do You Need a Career Coach?

By Betsy Taube, CPCC, CPRW

Do you need a career coach? Here are some scenarios that most certainly warrant some outside help:

1. Lack of clarity or direction. If you’ve ever taken a job that’s even the least bit outside your wheelhouse, it’s easy to get swept up in your responsibilities without devoting the time or energy to redirect. A career coach can help you make the time and effort to get back on track.

2. No roadmap! If you’re clear about where you want to go but have no idea how to get there, a career coach will ask questions you never considered to help you build a plan. REMEMBER: Career coaches don’t need to be experts in your profession, but they’re experts at brainstorming to help you find the answers.Read more

Advice for College Grads Looking for Work in a Ridiculously Tough Job Market

As 3.8 million college students enter the workforce this year,[1] entry-level professionals are launching their careers during one of the most challenging job markets in recent history. As of early June, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate is now at 13.3%.

Tens of millions of (skilled, experienced) Americans are out of work right now so it’s ridiculously hard for new grads with little relevant work history under their belts to compete for open jobs. The last time college students walked off the graduation stage into such a tough job market was during the Great Recession of 2008, when unemployment peaked at 10%.

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Hiring Discrimination? Confront Employment Bias with a New Attitude, Plan of Attack, and a Resume that Positions You for Success

Some of my more challenging clients are the people who’ve been denied jobs because they don’t fit the profile of a perfect job candidate. Extended employment gaps, a negative background check or credit report, physical limitations, and being considered too old, too overqualified, or too expensive are all very real challenges to securing gainful employment.

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Five Reasons to Keep Your Resume Updated

I have been a resume writer for nearly a decade and, over the years, I’ve talked with thousands of people who find themselves in all kinds of career conundrums.

Nine times out of 10, my clients have an urgent need for a resume and we work quickly to create a document that enables them to begin applying for jobs as soon as possible. It’s actually quite rare that I work with someone who says, “I want an updated resume, just in case.” I’d like to challenge you to be that proactive professional.Read more

Use Jobscan to Custom-Tailor Your Resume

When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me, “If you do what others won’t, you will have what others don’t.”

She didn’t coin the phrase. It’s one of those motivational phrases that’s been around awhile. It’s a reminder that if you spend a little more time, or focus your energy more, or do the unpleasant work no one really wants to do, you’ll prosper.

Every time I write a resume, I tailor it for the type of job my client is seeking. This strategy, proven to work effectively with both human eyeballs and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), looks like this: I study job ads provided by my client, identify common themes, create a list of keywords and skills based on those job ads, and write the resume accordingly. This resume—assuming the client applies for jobs similar to the job ads that he or she provided up front—will perform very well with an ATS.

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