No, my loyal readers, this is not a pornographic post! Your cover letter should be no more than 3 paragraphs. 3 short paragraphs! You really don't want to lose your audience before he/she opens your resume.
And speaking of resumes, there is various discussion of whether a resume should span 1 or 2 pages. Based on your level of experience, I am fine with a resume spanning 2 pages, going back no longer than 10 years. Please, any longer than that, and you are not going to captivate your audience in the 20 seconds or less it takes to scan said resume. A full CV is not required for most positions, but is helpful to have on your hard drive to discuss talking points which may be over 10 years old but remain relevant.
When to follow up after an interview? More than a day is too long! A brief thank you email, including an opening to have the interviewer contact you with questions should be in his/her inbox no later than the morning after you interviewed. Too much time goes by, and your follow up skills may be questioned, especially if a competing candidate emailed sooner!
Good luck and happy hunting!
Why are you waiting to update your resume? Are you thinking you are stable at your job? That can only update your resume right before you send it out? Are you waiting to practice interviewing until you have an interview time on your calendar?
If so, you are too late!
Let me explain...
If you wait until you are laid off or actively seeking a job, you are selling yourself short in a variety of ways. First, you are not adding valuable information to your resume in real time, thereby forgetting important details, such as the topic you presented, the old and new software you worked with, and the training you completed. You are missing portions of valuable work experience which set you apart from other employees. A company knows what your general job description looks like. Yet, they have no idea how you have made the position yours, by adding the personal touches only you provide to personalize your role. Secondly, you are not tapping into the hidden job market, networking, thereby passing up what could be your dream job. Everyone is always in the market, unless you own your own company. Even then, there could be enough of an offer to potentially interest you. You cannot explore opportunities if you are not refreshing on paper, thereby reinforcing, your strengths to yourself. Think about it.
Like anything else, interview practice takes time. It takes a lot of effort, rehearsal, and practice. You won't get the luxury of time, if you are scrambling to meet with a job coach the day before your interview. You are already going to be nervous, and are not going to be focused enough to absorb all the information about the company, the position, and how to most effectively answer questions.
I have seen people from entry level to C-level make the same mistake, time and time again.
The last minute is too late! If you wait until the car is empty to fill up with gas, you're going to be pushing it to the nearest gas station. And where I'm sitting, in South Florida in July, that just doesn't seem pleasant. Refuel. Give yourself a little bit of time. Stop scrambling. You will make a better impression!
I met a young soon-to-be college graduate through a referral as a recruiter. I was assisting a close friend by giving this entry level gentleman some advice. He was about to complete an internship at the company for which my friend works, and was referred to me to share with him some tips and tricks at how to break into a great opportunity.
This intern came into my office looking groomed enough to be a future CEO, CFO, or COO. He was well spoken, polished, professional, and confident. He had prepared a list of questions to be answered, and had taken the time to research my credentials as a recruiter as well as the organization with which he was interviewing. The gentleman had a firm, dry handshake, a can-do attitude, and a smile. The fact that he was wearing a crisp suit/tie/shirt did not go unnoticed. He dressed better than many people who work at the corporate level, especially in South Florida, where it is notoriously hot and humid outside.
His preparation for the interview, ability to converse both as a person and about his field of study, and the attitude of being able to make things happen if given the chance, without coming across as cocky or arrogant, makes me wonder why others are not taking a page from his book! I knew when meeting him that he would go far in whatever area he chose to pursue in business.
Fast forward 5 years: the same gentleman and I remain in touch. He recently reached out to me to assist him in hiring his own employees! He remains in contact with the network he made while interning, and goes to lunch with his colleagues when he returns to town. He is incredibly well liked, and has been very successful both in industry and in starting his own business.
As an entry level employee, this young superstar never acted with an expectation of more than he was capable of. He never came across as entitled. He simply showcased his capabilities, and leveraged his network as a professional who was beginning his career.
Congratulations on your success (you know who you are) and you are an exemplary example of starting your career the right way!