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!

If I am recruiting for a position with your background, there is a good chance that I know what you do at your job, and what you have done at your last job. Rehashing every bullet point from your job description is not going to set you apart on your resume. Providing no more than 5 bullet points on how you have helped the company and set yourself apart from your colleagues is a much stronger way to present your background. Please don't bury me under 25 bullet points, including "Other duties as assigned", and expect me to have any interest in what you have written. Highlight how you have saved money for the company, a special project you implemented, or how you successfully improved customer service feedback. Give me a reason to see value in hiring you.

Similarly, in a cover letter, please do not add a laundry list of qualifications ("I am personable, dependable, professional, reliable...") I don't want your qualification grocery list! I want an idea of what you can do. You are able to share this through colorful examples of your success. Share what accolades your boss has shared about you. Give some information about what you have done that will set you apart from the sea of other candidates.

In an interview, share examples as well. Make sure they are examples with positive outcomes!!! You bring more of your personality with examples! I have said it over and over and will say it again: PEOPLE HIRE WHO THEY LIKE!
1.     Don’t ignore the importance of a cover letter. It is the introduction to your resume and highlights why a manager should read your resume.

2.     Don’t come up with a generic cover letter to send to all of your job applications

3.     Do take the time to research the company and highlight what you have done in the past that would make you a good fit for the organization.

4.     Do share your qualifications with examples and success stories. Paint a picture of why you are a good candidate. Tie it back to the research you have done.

5.     Don’t forget to include your contact information and an invitation for the manager to reach out to you.

6.     Don’t forget to check for issues with spelling and grammar!

7.     Do research the recipient’s name using www.linkedin.com or calling the organization.

8.     Don’t address it to “sir or madam” unless you have exhausted all options, including internet research to learn the person’s name!

9.     Do read the job description thoroughly and explain why you are the right fit for the position.

10.  Don’t forget to change the name of the company on each cover letter!

1.     You have the skills and qualifications that an employer is seeking. I am not going to hire someone with a high school diploma who bags groceries as a CEO (at least not yet). Get the experience, read the posting, and know how your qualifications fit the position.

2.     Your resume is concise, results oriented, and outlines what you can contribute to the organization.

3.     Your resume and cover letter are grammatically correct. I am not hiring “mangers” to run a department, and that is not picked up on spell check. Have a friend or a professional read over your resume and letter prior to submission.

4.     You have the software skills an employer is looking for.

5.     You are likeable, positive, and confident. Nothing gets me wanting to end an interview more than a whiner who blames the world for his/her inability to be employed.

I read a lot of cover letters with great lists of qualifications. They are so generic that they can be used for any job opening. In fact, if I am not mistaken, they are being used by a candidate for every job opening to which they are applying! In fact, there is no mention of the job duties, title, or what they can provide to an employer.

Think about how your skills will benefit your future employer. Provide real life examples of how you tangibly and quantifiably assisted the company in growth, reduction of costs, profitability, or efficiency. People tend to hire those who produce positive and documentable outcomes. A picture is worth a thousand words. Consider your example the picture you are painting. Highlight examples in interviews as well. It will set you apart from your competition!