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!
When presenting at local employment fairs, I meet many individuals who are "career unemployed", that is, individuals who have been out of work for at least 2 to 3 years. Before they speak, I am able to pick this group out of the crowd. Their body language is dejected. These people are no longer excited about being somewhere or talking to another person about a job. These 3 steps should help.
1. Dress professionally! Really professionally! Just because a track suit has the word "suit" in the name does not mean that it is a good wardrobe choice. Leave your shower shoes at home. I am saying this because last week, these were actually issues at the job fair where I spoke.
Do not dress for the entry level position for which you are applying. Dress for the job you would like to eventually grow into. If you want to be the manager in 5 years, look as though you would present well to clients and subordinates. Please be aware that the tattoo on your neck or the piercing in your cheek many not be appealing at a certain level of job. I am not against either, but there is a time and a place, and your job search should target your most professional persona.
2. Smile! The easiest way for me to pick the career unemployed people out at the job fair is because they look like they showed up at gunpoint. I know that you may be thinking: "Another job fair and very little prospect. Great! I got dressed up because my unemployment counselor told me to, and no one is that interested..." No one is that interested because you are not interesting. You are feeling sorry for yourself!
Put your best foot forward in every interaction. There are a handful of people there who are engaging every recruiter at the job fair. They are being personable and likeable. People hire who they like!!!
Even if the people who are hiring are not in your field, have a brief conversation. Give them a resume and personal business card. Set yourself apart. Ask for referrals. Network with the professionals who are there. They may know someone who can assist you.
3. Be confident! A firm (not bone crushing and not a limp fish) handshake, good eye contact, and strong posture will go a long way. Fake it 'til you make it. Come off as professional and people will want to have you on their team.
In short, be engaging, prepared, professionally dressed, and cheerful. Be the person you would want to work with. Be the person you would eventually want to work for. When you present as a successful professional, people believe you. And the money comes rolling in!