Best Words for Your Cover Letter and Resume

Best Words for Your Cover Letter and Resume

 

The best words for your cover letter and resume are words that will get you an interview.  A hiring manager or a recruiter spends just seconds reading either one.  The cover letter is usually an email.  Often, the hiring manager will decide to read your résumé based on the keywords (names of experiences, goods, services, and skills) that you put in your cover letter.  If your cover letter shows that you are someone who has the experience the hiring company needs, the hiring manager will open your resume.

After your résumé is on file with a company, the keywords words you have in your résumé will determine whether your résumé appears during database searches for active applicants.  Hiring managers use keywords to find matches between the words in job specifications and the words in resumes.  If your résumé has the buzzwords the recruiter is searching, your resume will appear in the search results.

In addition, industry lingo and buzzwords show that you have an understanding of the job for which you are applying.

Here are some examples of names that might help a hiring manager find you and, therefore, are words you might want to include in your résumé and in your online profile.

  1. Names of companies where you have worked, especially names of prestigious companies in your field
  2. Names of schools you have attended
  3. Names of academic achievements: cum laude, dean’s list, first in graduating class
  4. Names of clients or key accounts
  5. Names of brands, products, or services you have developed
  6. Names of fields in which you worked
  7. Use action words: launched, resolved, won, improved
  8. Names of computer software or Internet applications you know: C++, PowerPoint, JavaScript, Java, Google Documents, iOS, Android
  9. Names of certifications and credentials:  Certified Public Accountant, Certified Marriage and Family Counselor,  Credentialed Teacher, Licensed Driver of Commercial Vehicles
  10. Names of Hard skills:  Fluent in French, Typing Speed: 120 words per minute, Diesel Mechanic
  11. Names of Soft Skills with examples:  Team Builder, Inter-departmental Facilitator, New-hire Mentor
  12. Do not use clichés and opinions of yourself: proactive, strategic, dynamic, thought leader, go-getter

These same principles apply to your online professional profile.

Image: Microsoft Word Picture Tools©

Why Send a Thank You Letter After a Job Rejection?

Why Send a Thank You Letter After a Job Rejection?

Sending a thank you letter after an interview might just be the missing piece that can get you a job offer.  Sending a thank you letter after a job rejection might be the missing piece to getting a second chance after a job rejection.

You have had an interview with a company where you would like to work.  The job is perfect.  You enjoyed meeting the people at the company.  The location of the job is ideal.

To stay connected with the company and get feedback on your interview, you should send a thank you letter to the primary contact and a copy of that letter to the rest of the people you met for interviews.

Sending a thank you letter is always a good idea after an interview.

  1. You increase your chances of getting an additional interview.
  2. You set the stage for a more positive next meeting.
  3. You increase your opportunities for getting a job offer.

Some companies see a thank you letter from applicants as a critical factor in the interview process.  Without receiving a thank you letter, these companies will not bring an applicant back for further interviews.  Thank you letters have a greater influence on the interview process than many applicants understand.

Why Send a Thank You Letter After a Job Rejection?

When companies reject you, you can get angry and frustrated.  However, companies are making business decisions during the interview process.  They are not making a personal decision against you.  Rather than getting angry, get appreciative of the fact that the company gave you an interview.

Even when a company rejects you, it is a good idea to send a thank you letter to each of the people you met in the interview process.  These people can become can become part of your increasing business network.  A thank you letter after a company rejects you can help you build new relationships.  The thank you letter can even get you another interview with the same company for a different job.

A letter something like this one might work:

Dear [name]

I enjoyed meeting you and other people who work for [company name].  I would be fortunate to work with the kind of people your company hires.  What impressed me most about the position for which I interviewed was [your own statement of what impressed you most].

I will follow-up periodically and continue to check your company website for additional opportunities.

[Close]

A thank you letter only takes a few minutes.  With the simplicity of an email, you can send the letter to everyone you met in one short email.  If you choose to send a letter, a card, or an email, taking time to say thank you, even when you get a job rejection is a great idea.

Image: FutUndBeidl/Flickr

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Post-Interview Letter: Follow Up the Interview With a Letter That Will Get You the Job.

Post-Interview Letter

Post-Interview Letter: Follow up the interview with a letter that will get you the job.

Often people pay little attention to sending a thank you note to the person who interview them.  If you are not sending thank you notes and not getting invited back for an interview, there may be a connection between the two.

It is courteous to send a follow-up note to anyone who has spent time helping you with your career or with your career change. I have seen instances in which hiring managers have decided to pass on an applicant who had not followed up with any type of post-interview correspondence.

Some people recommend sending a handwritten letter. I have not seen a handwritten note in a few years. The problem with using paper to send your note is that most hiring managers are set up to use electronic mail and filing.

I see people attaching a letter to an email. Sending a letter as an attachment is kind of like gift-wrapping a gift-wrapped box of fancy candies. The extra gift-wrap is somewhat redundant and a bit inconvenient, since the candy is already in a gift-wrapped box. So trying to create more attractive formatting by using an email attachment for a follow-up letter may just in fact just be inconveniencing the recipient: an email is mail.

Attachments do have their purpose, but I see them more commonly for resumes, contracts, and presentations. The email content serves as the cover letter for the attachments. You might want to consider sending examples of your work as attachments to your thank-you note.

Whatever method you choose for your post-interview correspondence, you want to make four points.

Express your appreciation for the time and interest the person has shown you.
Express your desire to get the job.
Summarize the skills that you have which will enable you to contribute right away.
Create a call to action:  for example, ask when you can reconnect.

SAMPLE FOLLOW-UP LETTER

Your information

Street address
City, state, zip
Phone number
Email address

Date

Contact’s information

Name, titles
Company name
Street address
City, state, zip
Phone number
Email address

Dear Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss

Subject: (optional)

It was fantastic to speak with you on Tuesday about the Name of the Position at Name of the Company.

I really want this job.

You did a great job explaining the responsibilities of Name of Position.  I have attached examples of work that I have done that show my experience in these areas of responsibility.

  1. A presentation I gave to XYZ Company from raw data
  2. A presentation that I created and have tailored for team members to present to their clients
  3. A presentation featuring tables and graphs that show my graphic presentation skills and my ability to give attention to detail

For the past six years I have taken raw data based on product categories and consumer demographics, consumer conversions, repeat sales, new product-introductions, and even raw data from shipments and used the facts to create executive-level presentations for multiple teams in different departments.

As you and I discussed, I will call on Thursday.

Best regards,

Handwritten signature

Typed signature

Image: woodleywonderworks/Flickr

Post-Interview Thank You Letter

 

Thank You Letter

This format will help you write a post-interview thank you letter.

Your information

Street address
City, state, zip
Phone number
Email address

Date

Contact’s information

Name, titles
Company name
Street address
City, state, zip
Phone number
Email address

Thank you for meeting with me this morning.  After our meeting, I am even more excited about the possibility of working for your company.

I believe that I can contribute immediately to your business.  I have accomplishments in the following areas that crossover to the job you have available:

Increased administrative efficiency 20%
Reduced 3rd-party contract costs  30%
Trained 6 new hires, all of whom have been promoted
Recognized for 4 years in a row as the leading contributor to
company’s  “Golden Suggestions Award” winner

Your description of the responsibilities, the team environment,  and the  growth plan for your company tell me that your job is the  job I  want and    your company is the place where I want to work.

I look forward to being invited back for another meeting and have included my contact information below.

Please contact me any time at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Example Applicant

Image: woodleywonderworks/Flickr

How To Write Effective Business Letters

How to write effective business letters

 

How To Write Effective Business Letters: A business letter does four things.

  1. Communicates information
  2. Creates advertising awareness
  3. Creates an image of you or your company
  4. Creates actions and decisions

Put your company name and return address at the top of the letter. If you are using letterhead, the return address is already in your business letterhead.

Here is the format. Note that some companies put the date in the right corner of the letter. Other companies put the date below the name of the sender.

Your Company Logo and Contact Information

Your information

Company name (for letters without letterhead)
Street address
City, state, zip
Phone number
Email address

Date

Contact’s information

Name, titles
Company name
Street address
City, state, zip
Phone number
Email address

Dear Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss

Subject: (optional)

Start the body of the letter with a statement of the purpose of the letter.  For example, “I am writing this letter to order samples of your company’s products.”

State a call to action at the end of the body of the letter. For example, “Please send the samples today.”

Very truly yours,
Handwritten signature
Typed signature
Your title

Enclosures:  four pictures of samples

Image: Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr

Great Grammar is So Easy to Practice and So Rewarding for Those Who Do.

Great Grammar

Great Grammar is So Easy to Practice and So Rewarding for Those Who Do.

Little grammatical mistakes are so easy to make and can be so costly to the speaker or writer when those mistakes come to represent a person’s professional profile.

The purpose of this article is to highlight words that mask speaking and writing errors.

When speaking, there is no technology to aid us.  We either choose the correct words, or we do not.

With today’s technology, writers have help in proofreading documents before publishing or emailing them. On the other side, writers have the disadvantage of having their grammatical errors highlighted in the document when the reader opens it. Using technology to proofread and improve the quality of your writing is so easy to do.  Failing to use that technology can make you look sloppy, uneducated, unintelligent, and your document may disappear into the reader’s deleted folder.

EASY STEPS TO GREAT GRAMMAR
All skills take initial development to acquire and regular practice to maintain.  To acquire and strengthen your grammar is easy with the free online resources like this very website and others that provide ideas on becoming more successful in business or any other public setting today.

Developing great grammar does not have to be complicated. I have avoided using grammatical terminology in this article. I want the focus to be on words that mask errors.

Using the same process of simply becoming familiar with words that mask mistakes can help you keep the development of your grammatical skills simple. Unless you plan to teach grammar or find intrinsic value in developing a broader vocabulary in grammar, you might just ignore the grammatical terms in any article or textbook and focus on the examples that you find in the resources you are using.

SPEAKING WITH GRAMMATICAL ACCURACY
To use accurate grammar in speaking, there is just one area of development: word selection. The speaker simply needs to know which words are correct to express an idea.

Again, the most effective and fastest way to develop accurate word selection is to highlight mistakes that occur most often. I am going to label this frequently made grammatical error “the ESPN Too©.”  It seems that half the American sports commentators on live broadcasts make this simple grammatical error during on a regular basis. It seems that just putting them in the situation of having to choose the correct use of the words “between” or “among” as well as the words that follow those two words, and the sports commentators will make the incorrect choices. Frankly, these sportscasters are not alone.

The words “between” and “among” are doubly confusing in terms of which words follow them and which of the two words to use in which situation.

The word “between” indicates that the matter is between two people.  The word “among” indicates that the matter is among three or more people.

Try to remember that the words that follow the word “between” are the words “him, her, and me.”

The words that follow the word “among” are the words “him,” “her,” “me,” “themselves,” and “ourselves”

As awkward and as subliterate as the following statements may appear, these statements are grammatically correct:

  1. “This matter is between him and her.”
  2. “This matter is among her, him, and me.”
  3. “The team members want to keep the secret among themselves.”

COMPARISONS: WORDS WITH ONE TWO SYLLABLES
To create comparisons with one-syllable and two-syllable-words, add “er” or “est to the end of the word. Here are some examples.

  1. This car is fast.  This second car is faster.  The third car is fastest.
  2. This flower is pretty.  These flowers are prettier.  Of all the flowers, these flowers are the prettiest.

COMPARISONS: WORDS WITH THREE OR MORE SYLLABLES
To create comparisons with words with three or more syllables, use the words “more” and “most” in front of the word used for comparison. This English professor is intelligent.  The math professor is more intelligent.  The music professor is the most intelligent of the three professors.

WRITING WITH GRAMMATICAL ACCURACY
Developing writing skills that contain great grammar is somewhat different from developing speaking skills that contain great grammar. However, writing complicates word selection with the issue of similar sounding words: Affect / Effect, Break / Brake, Capital / Capitol, Compliment / Complement, Desert / Dessert, Guest / Guessed
Heard / Herd, Illusion / Allusion, New / Knew, Principle / Principal, Rain / Reign, and so forth.

Rather than trying to learn every set of similar sounding words you can find in English (English language is redundant.), you might just become aware of your own tendencies in word selection. For some reason, I developed the habit of adding a syllable to the spelling the of word “athlete.” I intuitively tend to type the word “ath-e-lete.” So I try to watch for that type of error in my writing.

AVOIDING APOSTROPHES
Some writers enjoy using an informal style and will use apostrophes to replace letters as part of that style of writing. However, this practice can mask writing mistakes.

One of the most common instances of apostrophes creating confusion and perhaps masking writing errors comes when a writer is trying to choose whether to use “its” or “it’s.”

Forget about learning the grammar as to which words to choose. Just try to stay away from using apostrophes to replace letters. Business writing is not informal anyway.

So try this method. Just type, “It is.” If the two words “it is” do not express what you are trying to express, then the word “its” is the correct word to use between the choices of “its” or “it’s”. Does that make sense?

Having to focus on whether you should type “there, their, or they’re,” you can reduce the risk of errors creeping into your writing with the statement, “They are.”

Your quick wit indicates that your you’re you are smart.

LEARNING AS A LIFESTYLE
I continue to read articles on basic grammar and watch for my own mental blocks that can mask errors in grammar. Speaking and writing correctly is critical to the success of anyone’s career. Practicing great grammar is so easy to do and so very rewarding.

Image: Brett Jordan/Flickr

How to Write Anything and Make It Easy to Read

In an earlier post, I wrote about how to write letters that are easy to read.  What I wrote in that post applies to anything that you write.

Writing is part of the job for professionals in all types of fields and responsibilities. Here is an easy to use format anyone can use.

State the purpose in the opening sentence.  The first sentence expresses the subject.  If there are two or more subjects, list each of the subjects in the opening paragraph or in a list format below the opening paragraph.  The first paragraph is a summary of the information.  You tell the reader what you are going to tell them.

Capitalize the first line of the paragraph for each new subject.  The reader may only have time to scan information.  Your key points stand out in the brief statements that are in the capital letters.

When you are continuing with the same subject and want to emphasize a new element or change the subject from one sentence to the next, let the reader know.   Here are some ways to help your reader follow you.

  1. Write a transitional statement such: “Now I would like to discuss a new subject.”
  2. Use transitional words or phrases such as also, so, for this purpose, later.
  3. Use bold type for the first sentence.
  4. Start the first sentence of your paragraphs with the words First, Second, Third, and so forth.
  5. However, do not use bullets or numbered list to change the subject.  These lists organize the points of a one specific subject.

 Grammar is as important as content. I carefully review what I have written and use word processing software to check for mistakes.  I still make mistakes.  If you see any mistakes in my writing, please let me know.

In conclusion, the formula for writing anything is simple. State the subject in the opening sentence.  If you wish to write about multiple topics, just say so clearly in the opening paragraph.  Use capital letters and transitional devices to introduce each new subject.

Your readers will appreciate your writing so that what they are reading is easy to read.  You will find that the readers’ response to your writing will be more favorable as well.

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