Job Search Letters Job search letters can be classified as cover letters, follow-up letters,
or thank you notes. Cover letters are always sent with your resume in response to a job opening, including
classified advertisements and emailed resumes. Follow-up letters are ideal after a meeting or discussion with
an employer, but you are not a yet formal candidate for a position. A thank you note is an appropriate follow-up after an interview.
The cover letter can be just as important as the resume. Not only is it your introduction to the company, it is your opportunity to tailor your qualifications to the job opening. Cover letters are not a synopsis of your job history or a long self-description. One page is sufficient. Your purpose is to generate interest and your aim is to get an interview. Don't describe yourself with' terms such as "assertive, aggressive, highly motivated and mature." Instead, demonstrate those qualities by specifically listing your accomplishments.
Here are the basic rules for preparing a cover letter. Paragraph 1 - The first paragraph identifies the position for which you are applying and where you saw the ad or how you learned of the position. Clear information will ensure that your resume ends up on the right person's desk. Here is an example:
I am responding to your job posting on websitename.com for the Call Center Specialist position at your New Jersey headquarters. Paragraph 2 - The second paragraph explains that you can perform the job. This paragraph is a bridge which connects your resume with the position. You may want to include information that outlines related assignments of accomplishments, similarities to your current position and why you believe you can do the job. This paragraph will have a greater impact if your accomplishments include facts such as numbers, statistics, programs established, etc. Here is one example of how you might approach this paragraph:
My qualifications appear to be a match for the position you have described:
Three years of experience
Over four years of experience as
in a call center or customer
Customer Service Specialist with
ABC phone company.
Excellent computer and phone skills.
Proficient in MS Office programs
Able to learn customized call.
center software and phone
systems very quickly.
Able to contribute to improving service levels.
Helped create a customer service
training course and manual improving service levels.
Final Paragraph - The final paragraph is your closing pitch. Thank the reviewer and repeat your interest in the job. Request the next step in the interview process. Tell the recruiter how to get in touch with you - repeat your phone number and email address. Also, if you say you will contact the recruiter, make sure you follow through.
I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss how my - background and experience could benefit your organization. I can be reached via email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 021 - 1234 5678. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Any personal interaction is an opportunity for further contact. After a meeting with a colleague or business contact, or a discussion at a job fair, send a follow-up letter. A good follow-up letter is more than a simple "thank you for your time." It is an opportunity to reinforce the conversation and describe your qualifications.You can include much of the same information that you featured in the cover letter.
When preparing your follow-up letter, keep the following points in mind:
Mail your letter within 48 hours of the meeting.
Address the person you spoke with by name and title.
Express appreciation for their time.
Summarize the important points of your conversation (to show you were listening and to remind the recruiter or interviewer of your conversation).
Express your enthusiasm for the project and/or company.
Ask for the assignment or an interview if appropriate.
Include a copy of your resume.
Send thank you letters after you have formally met with a business contact regarding an available position. Spoken thanks are mandatory, but a thank you letter will drive home your appreciation and interest in the job opportunity. Send your thank you letter within 24 - 48 hours. If you are aspiring to a professional position, I recommend sending your letter on resume paper in a matching envelope.
Here is an example of what you might write. Tailor it to your meeting so it doesn't sound generic.
I enjoyed meeting you to discuss the position of Call Center Supervisor with ABC Company. I appreciated your openness and honest answers to my questions. This position is exactly what I have been looking for, and I sincerely hope that I am the person you are looking for as well. I can be reached next week at 021 - 1234 5678. I look forward to talking to you further.
In addition to resumes, employers often use job applications to make hiring decisions. Many employers use applications as a way of standardizing the information they obtain from all job-seekers, including some things that you would not normally put on your resume. Also, if you do not have a resume prepared, filling out a job application will be your main way to communicate that you are qualified for a job.
Filling out a job application may seem redundant if you have a resume prepared, but applications are typically a Human Resources department requirement for all applicants.
Job Applications: Tips for filling out job applications
Be prepared. Be sure to bring all your personal and job-related information. You may need items such as your resume, social security card, driver's license, etc. You will also need a list of previous employers, dates of employment and salary information for each previous job.
Read and follow instructions carefully. Each job application can ask for information in a different order or format. Be sure to respond appropriately.
Neatness counts. Fill in the application as neatly as possible. Use a black or blue ink pen and do not cross out answers.
Provide details. Answer questions completely. Give details of skills and accomplishments.
Don't leave any blanks. If there are questions that do not apply to you, simply respond with "not applicable," or "n/a."
Be honest. Answer all questions truthfully.
Have your reference list ready. Employers want to see that there are people who will provide objective information about you to them. You may be asked to provide the names of references, their titles, relationships to you and how they can be reached.
Keep your application consistent with your resume. Make sure all dates, names, titles, etc. on your application match the information on your resume.
Proofread carefully. Read over your application one or two times before submitting to the employer. Make sure there are no misspelled words or incorrect information.
Internet Job Search
In today's competitive labor market, more and more companies are using the Internet to find employees. By using the Internet to search for openings, and/or post your resume, you can increase the odds that your resume will be matched to an employer.
The internet contains a wealth of information and services for the job seeker. You can explore topics such as salary surveys, resume and letter writing, relocation information, interview techniques and networking. Plus, you can search job databases to find positions that might be of interest to you, post your resume to sites that employers can access and chat with fellow job seekers.
Benefits of Internet job searching
More job opportunities. There are thousands of job sites to choose from, including specialty profession sites and specific geographical sites.
Available day or night. You can job search when your schedule allows.
Demonstrates your ability to use a computer to potential employers.
Job databases and posting your resume
One of the benefits of the Internet is the wide variety of job sites that are available. Each site has its own database of current employment opportunities that can be accessed by job seekers. In many cases you can respond directly to the job opening by emailing or "posting" an electronic version of your resume or filling out an online application form.
Posting your resume on the Internet is like placing an advertisement that says you are looking for a job. Companies and recruiters search resume databases to find the ideal candidate based on keywords that identify the person's experience in a particular industry, education, job function or skill set. When you post your resume, the number of companies that have access to it increases as well as your odds of being matched with an employer.
Get an email account
When job hunting online, you will often have to provide an email address. This is easy to do and won't cost you anything. You can establish a free email account at sites like Yahoo.com or hotmail.com. Even if you do not have a computer at home, you can access an email account (as long as you know your username and password) from any public computer.
Searching a career site
Each job site has a slightly different form to search for jobs. Usually you will be provided with the option to search for jobs by category, location or job title. You are also able to search by keyword. This allows you to select the words you want to look for in a job posting. It also helps you narrow down your job list to positions that better match your specific skills and/or requirements.
Using job search agents
Job search agents are computer programs that match a person's requirements with job listings. Agents continually look for jobs based upon specified criteria and notify the job seeker when matching jobs are found.
One of the biggest benefits of using job agents is the time they will save you. Instead of having to regularly visit career sites to look for new jobs, you simply can visit once and set up an agent. Enter your job search criteria in their job search agent and you will begin to receive emails from these sites notifying you of new jobs matching your criteria.
Most sites let you decide how often you wish to be notified by email of matching jobs. Typical options are daily, or every 3, 7, 14 or 30 days. The advantage of a daily notification is that you learn of new jobs as soon as they appear on a career site - giving you the ability to be one of the first applicants. The disadvantage of a daily notification is that you may constantly receive emails from these sites.