Top 5 Reasons to Work with a Resume Writer
Employment was on the rebound in November 2020, but it’s still recovering from the pandemic setback. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm employment was steadily increasing since January 2010, but today’s employment numbers haven’t improved beyond where they were 5 years ago. They are 9.8 million jobs less today than there were in February 2020.
That means today’s job market is more competitive than it’s been in recent years. According to research by recruiting software company Lever, applicants are the biggest source of hire, followed by sourced candidates and employee referrals. Only 1 out of 100 candidates is hired.
Wondering how can you make sure your resume gets you an interview? Make one of your 2021 resolutions a resume refresh. Here are five reasons you should consider working with a resume writer to make sure yours is up-to-date.
1. Use Keywords to Get Noticed Online
In today’s search engine-driven world, keywords are key to making sure your resume rises to the top of results. Recruiters use them when they’re searching profiles on LinkedIn. And today’s job banks are more technologically sophisticated than ever. A lack of keywords that match what a hirer is looking for may mean your resume never gets seen.
A resume writer will know which keywords relate to the jobs you’re interested in. Using research of relevant jobs, you can update your resume to feature keywords that reflect your skills and that are also used by hirers to find the best candidates. A resume writer will remove fluff and flowery language to distill your resume into one that’s crafted exactly to match the jobs you’re applying to.
You may think you’re familiar with the keywords that matter most to your industry. But a resume writer will have recent experience working on resumes for industries like yours so you ensure you’re not missing anything. You can also use content from a strong resume to feature on your LinkedIn page, so you increase your visibility online, as well.
2. Adapt a Resume to ATS
Ever heard of an applicant tracking system? Also known as an ATS, these digital software systems track and manage candidates in a single database. They’re sort of like customer relationship management systems. They enable hirers and recruiters to filter applications based on criteria they set.
That criteria may include:
- Years of experience
- Education level
- Former employers
One important consideration with ATS systems is that to ensure all your copy matches up to the proper searches, a resume needs to be formatted correctly. Certain types of formatting may restrict the ability of the ATS system to properly scan a resume.
In addition to making sure you include relevant skills and keywords and thoroughly you’re your relevant experience, you also need to make sure your resume is ATS-friendly. An experienced resume writer will format yours so it works with the most popular ATS software.
3. Feature Accomplishments You’re Missing
If it’s been awhile since you’ve refreshed your resume, there may be critical information missing from it. When you use resume writing services at HiConsulting Services, the process starts with an extensive intake process. We enquire about your long-time goals, most significant accomplishments and noteworthy contributions to each organization you’ve worked for.
This informational process frequently uncovers key details that should be on a resume. Some clients don’t realize that certain information could help them get an interview. A resume writer will identify the best info to feature that means most to recruiters and hirers.
4. Create a Professional, Clean Resume
A single minor spelling error could be enough to turn some hirers off. When employers are evaluating resumes, they’re looking at more than your work experience. Sometimes, attention to detail is just as important because they may view it as a reflection of your job performance.
A resume writer will ensure your resume is free of:
- Spelling and grammar errors
- Repetitiveness and overused words
- Confusing copy
- Use of passive voice and filler words
Many positions require strong communication skills. Your resume gives an employer the opportunity to evaluate your written communication. You’ll want to put your best foot forward. A professional resume writer can help with clean, professional copy.
5. Tailor a Resume to a Specific Job
Your resume should be updated to reflect each job you’re applying for. If you’re looking to move into a new industry or apply for a higher role, it’s especially important that your resume fits that industry or position.
A resume writer will use their experience with the industry or type of role you’re seeking to make professional recommendations on what to include to attract the attention of employers. Your resume should reflect your career history, but it should also position you as a candidate who’s a fit for the position you’re seeking. This is done by careful creation and selection of keywords, featured accomplishments and professional summary.
Refresh Your Resume for 2021
It’s always a good idea to have an updated resume so you’re ready for whatever comes your way. From applying for a higher role in your industry, to finding a job when you’re unemployed, to getting a job in a new industry, a resume is a powerful tool for helping you accomplish your career goals.
HiConsulting Services specializes in resume writing for all levels of professionals. These include:
- Entry-level and college students
- Technical professionals
- Federal professionals
If you’re interested in refreshing your resume, book a free 25-minute resume consultation. We’re happy to help in January 2021 and beyond
5 Most In-Demand Industries in 2021
When you’re looking to make a career change or advance a career in a certain industry, it’s helpful to be aware of what kinds of jobs are in-demand. Knowing the potential that certain industries provide helps when you’re considering:
- New skills to learn – if you’re interested in taking an online course or going back to college
- Leaving your industry – when you want to make a career change but aren’t sure where to start
- Places to volunteer – volunteering for organizations in in-demand industries can help you connect with professionals and learn more about the trade
- People to network with – a diverse network can help you discover job openings and lead to referrals
As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, here are five industries where jobs are experiencing growth. If any of these pique your interest, you can check out online learning on sites like Coursera and EdX to try out courses and see if the industry would be a fit for you.
Employment in healthcare occupations is expected to grow 15% between 2019 and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s much faster than average compared to all occupations. Nearly 2.4 million new jobs are expected to be added, in positions like nursing assistant, occupational therapy aide and clinical laboratory technologist.
More healthcare professionals are expected to be needed as the population ages. Some college healthcare programs provide students with the opportunity to have their education compensated when they agree to work at a designated place for a certain amount of time. There are also entry-level healthcare positions that don’t require college education to move into the industry.
2. Computer and Information Technology
The BLS reports computer and information technology jobs are expected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, which is also much faster than average for all occupations. There are 531,200 new jobs expected to be added, especially in roles related to information security, cloud computing and the collection and storage of big data.
Technology bootcamps are widely available, provided by organizations like General Assembly and Full Stack Academy. Many are online and self-paced, so you can sharpen your tech skills while continuing to work at a full-time job.
3. Environment-/Green-Focused Jobs
The BLS lists two environment-/green-focused jobs in its top three fastest-growing occupations from 2019 to 2029. The job outlook for wind turbine technicians is expected to grow 61% from 2019 to 2029, while the job outlook for solar photovoltaic installers is expected to grow 51% between 2019 and 2029. Both jobs don’t require a college education for entry-level positions.
The growth of jobs like these reflects the potential the “green economy” offers in the next decade. The United Nations states 24 million new jobs could be created across the globe by 2030 with green policies. In 2019, “Forbes” reported nearly 3.3 million Americans worked in clean energy, outnumbering those working in the fossil fuel industry by 3-to-1. Anyone who is currently working in or aspires to work in energy industries may benefit from upskilling on green-focused technology.
On-demand was in-demand in 2020, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As more people experienced the convenience of restaurant and grocery delivery, at-home fitness classes and work- and learn-from-home platforms, expect those industries to continue to rise in potential in 2021 and post-COVID. Amazon alone grew $570 billion in 2020, “Forbes” reports.
You don’t have to be a delivery driver to work in an on-demand industry. Companies from Amazon to Instacart have hundreds of jobs in all types of roles across the country, with many in remote capabilities.
In-person services like hair care, makeup application, massage and childcare are also on-demand. Professional services like copywriting, graphic design and website creation are also fueling growth in the freelance economy, which CNBC reported had a 22% year-over-year increase in 2020 to contribute $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy.
The booming on-demand industry provides a ton of potential to aspiring solopreneurs who want to set their own schedules and choose their own clients. Its flexibility means many full-time professionals are working side gigs on nights and weekends to see if moving to freelancing full-time would work for them.
5. Social Service Occupations
Despite the significant growth in technology and its related jobs, human-based community and social service jobs continue to be important and in-demand. According to the BLS, employment in community and social service occupations is expected to grow 12% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than average for all occupations. About 348,600 new jobs are expected to be added.
These types of positions include:
- Health educators
- Community health workers
- Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors
- Probation officers
- Correctional treatment specialists
- Rehabilitation counselors
- Marriage and family therapists
- Social workers
- School and career counselors
- Social and human service assistants
The education required for these positions varies, with some roles requiring a high school education all the way up to a master’s degree and licensure. With a low educational barrier of entry for some positions and a great need for these types of workers, you may be able to make a meaningful career change if you’re interested in helping people at your job.
Like we reported, job stress and being stuck in a career you hate can take a toll on your health and well-being. If you think you might want to make a career change to a social service or community position, you could try volunteering for an organization like a food bank or community center to see if the work interests you.
It’s Never Too Late for a Career Change
Wherever you are in your career, you deserve to be happy and fulfilled at work. Read 3 reasons why it’s never too late to change careers.
If you find yourself interested in something new, consider jobs in the industries mentioned here. Work with HiConsulting Services for career coaching so you can prepare for the transition. We can help with resume writing services and more. Contact us for a free consultation.
Tips for Landing a Job During the COVID Pandemic
The unemployment rate has steadily gone down since the COVID pandemic took hold in March 2020, but it’s still hovering at 6.9% as of November 2020, around 3% higher than November 2019. With more people searching for work, the job market is more competitive. But many businesses are still hiring. Some are even ramping up operations in this new work-and-live-at-home era.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re out of work at the moment. According to the “Wall Street Journal,” since May 2020, employers have added back more than 11 million jobs. Jobs at home mortgage firms, technology companies and financial services companies in particular are increasing.
Use these tips as you navigate a job search as the country deals with coronavirus.
Like we covered in our post, “How to Network When You’re Not Going Out,” networking is more important than ever in today’s uncertain job market. Networking provides the following benefits.
- You may hear about open jobs early, before they’re posted to the public.
- Your contacts who work at companies you’re applying to may put in a recommendation for you.
- You can learn about new opportunities you may not have considered before.
- Your network may connect you with mentors who can help you develop your career.
To network online during the pandemic, use LinkedIn to optimize your professional profile and connect with past coworkers. Join LinkedIn Groups based on your professional interests, and participate in discussions.
If you want to connect with someone on a deeper level, set up a virtual coffee chat. Prepare for your meeting with questions you’d like to ask the person. Take notes or ask for permission to record the meeting so you can follow up on action items or anything that’s inspired you.
There’s no shame in using social media to announce to your contacts that you’re on the job hunt. Be transparent about what kinds of opportunities you’re open to. You can ask your personal contacts for recommendations for leads or for professionals they’d suggest connecting with.
While you’re job-searching, sharpen your skills with virtual trainings. At HiConsulting, we offer several free webinars each month on topics like resume writing, optimizing your LinkedIn profile and preparing for interviews. Check out our schedule here.
You can also check out online courses on sites like Udemy and Coursera. Many are free and offer certificates upon completion, which you can then list on your LinkedIn profile and resume.
According to the World Economic Forum, the most in-demand skills for 2020 include:
- Analytical reasoning and strategic thinking
- Artificial intelligence
- UX design
- Business analysis
- Sales and negotiation
- Scientific computing
- Video production
If any of those apply to the jobs you’re interested in, learn more about those topics to stand out to employers. Soft skills like creativity, persuasion, collaboration and emotional intelligence are also in high demand.
The pandemic has resulted in a major shift in how many businesses operate. COVID forced many companies to accommodate remote workers, which required introducing virtual collaboration tools like Zoom and Workfront to get jobs done.
Remote work has already steadily been increasing over the past 15 years, with regular work-at-home growing 173% since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics. That growth rate outpaced the rest of the workforce by 11%. You may have worked your last job at an office, but the jobs you’re looking at now may have moved online. You may want to upgrade your technology and create a home office to prepare.
If you’re not familiar with remote work tools yet or you need to brush up on your technology skills, now’s a great time to do so. Your next interview might be virtual, as well, so having familiarity with virtual work tools is a plus. Check out how to prepare for virtual interviews.
Adapt to Changing Business Landscapes
The pandemic will have a lasting impact on the economy and has already influenced what jobs are in-demand. According to Glassdoor data reported by “The Wall Street Journal,” retail, food service and healthcare had the most U.S. job openings in August 2020. Ecommerce and delivery jobs have, not surprisingly, also seen growth during COVID.
If you’re currently in-between jobs, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your career path and determine what next step will fulfill you. You may want to work with a career coach to determine how to match your skills and experience with your best future career path.
Also, check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook to find in-demand jobs that might fit your skillset. The Occupational Outlook Handbook details what each job is like and the skills and education needed to find entry-level work in each field.
There’s Still Opportunity, Even During a Pandemic
The pandemic has upended many career paths in 2020, but there’s still hope for what’s next in the business landscape. With the promising news of a vaccine, expect increased hiring in a variety of industries.
A job search can be an opportune time to embark on a meaningful career path. If you’re searching for what’s next and need assistance with resume writing, LinkedIn profile optimization, job searches, interview preparation or career coaching, contact HiConsulting Services for a free consultation. We’re here to help you navigate your career future.
Meet HiConsulting Services President & Founder, Hillary Kuenn
Hillary Kuenn started HiConsulting Services as a side gig, because she was passionate about helping people in the Phoenix community develop their careers and go after their dreams and goals. With 10+ years of experience working in employee engagement in human resources and career services roles, her career coaching business took off. Since securing LLC status and going full-time in 2017, she’s helped more than 1,000 clients achieve meaningful career goals.
Her work at HiConsulting Services includes professional coaching, resume reviews and editing, LinkedIn profile creation and interview preparation. HiConsulting Services serves clients across the country, ranging from C-Suite executives to career changers and college grads.
Hillary also provides expert human resources, operations, management, sales and staffing consulting to small businesses.
So who are you working with when you enlist HiConsulting Services for career consulting or small business consulting services? Let’s get to know the HiConsulting Services president and founder, from where her love for helping others comes from to how she’s transforming business landscapes in Phoenix and beyond.
Hillary’s Journey to Business Owner
Hillary has always been interested in people and organizations and what makes them tick. As a kid, when people asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’d respond, “I want to be a thinker.”
She went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology, honing her expertise on how individuals, groups and business teams work together. Her master’s research proposal was on employee engagement, a business principle she remains focused on today.
Before founding HiConsulting Services, Hillary spent a decade serving clients and sales teams in a variety of industries, including for an animal hospital and veterinary clinic, as Business Development Manager for MultiTable.com and as Director of Strategic Partnership Development for customer experience consultant Satrix Solutions.
With HiConsulting Services, Hillary provides career coaching and small business services while managing a team of executive and technical resume copywriters. She is a frequent speaker, trainer and webinar host, providing instruction on interview preparation, resume services, LinkedIn profiles and more.
Passion for Helping Local Businesses
Hillary serves clients throughout the U.S. and is an active member of the Phoenix business community. She speaks at 10+ Phoenix events each year and hosts free monthly webinars. She has contributed 60+ hours of volunteer service hours every year since 2017.
Hillary’s community volunteer titles include:
- Chief of Staff for Phoenix Startup Week, formerly Sponsorship Team Co-lead (2018-Present)
- Active Member, Monthly Participant, Local First Arizona (2015-Present)
- Board Member of AZ Talent Coop (2019-Present)
- Career Coach / Resume Writer, Monthly Volunteer, Career Connectors (2019-Present)
- Career Coach / Resume Writer, Quarterly Volunteer, com (2018-Present)
- Career Coach, Annual Volunteer, University of Advancing Technology (2017-Present)
- Career Coach, Annual Volunteer, Promineo Tech (2017-Present)
Hillary believes outstanding people create outstanding businesses. As an active volunteer in the community, she supports local businesses and professionals with career and small business guidance that drive growth and innovation.
Hillary’s Interests Outside of Work
When she’s not serving clients or the community in professional roles, Hillary is always on the lookout for ways to have fun in Arizona. One of her favorite places to be is out on the water, boating or fishing at spots like Lake Pleasant or Chevelon Lake. She also loves camping and hiking, experiencing the beautiful outdoors the Grand Canyon State offers.
Hillary’s an animal lover and has two dogs, Floyd, a border collie, and Luna, a white German Shepherd. She and her partner Mike also have an orange cat named Fiction.
Hillary has a taste for adventure and has been riding motorcycles since she was a kid. She frequently rides up to Crown King, Arizona, to watch her favorite football team, the Arizona Cardinals. She even rode her bike in a monsoon storm outside Mayer, Arizona, once.
Hillary also enjoys traveling. From Alaska to Florida, Mexico to Spain and everywhere in-between, Hillary loves exploring new parts of the country and meeting the great people in their communities.
What’s It Like to Use Hillary as a Career Coach or Consultant?
When you work with Hillary for career coaching, resume writing, interview prep, LinkedIn help, small business consulting or any other HiConsulting Services, know that you’re getting a dedicated partner who cares about your success. Hillary makes it her mission to help her clients find rewarding work or improve their businesses.
Hillary learns all about your unique career goals or business needs and creates a plan to help you achieve your desired outcome. She prides herself on excellent communication, transparency and collaboration. She’s with you every step of the way throughout the process to ensure you meet your objectives.
Want to meet Hillary and see if she and HiConsulting Services are a fit for you? Get in touch for a free consultation. Email email@example.com or call (623) 738-4470 to chat with Hillary.
Tips for How to Email a Resume
When you apply to your next job, you might be emailing the hirer directly. Maybe you’ve met them in person, or you were referred to them by someone you know, or the directions for the job you’re applying for ask you to do so.
This personal way to apply presents some opportunities to make a great impression on the hirer and connect with them so you stand out. It also presents some pitfalls, since something like a spelling error or wrong tone of voice could hurt your chances before they even open up your resume.
If you’re sending a resume by email, use these tips for crafting a email that’s professional and moves you along the hiring pipeline.
Use a Professional Email Address
Make sure you create a professional email address from which to send the email. Generally, one that has your first and last name in it is best. If an email address with just your first and last name is unavailable, it’s OK to add a number or two, but try to avoid putting in your full birthday with the year you were born to avoid age bias.
Do not send an email from any address with vulgar or unprofessional language in it. Make sure you have the log-in details for your professional email address so it’s easy to check any communications you receive back.
Read the Directions
The person you’re emailing your resume to may request that it’s sent as an attachment. Or, they might want you to copy and paste a resume and/or a cover letter into the body of the email.
The directions might include specific notes what for to include in the subject line, how to label your resume attachment and how to create a heading, including the exact order you should list your name and contact information in.
Following any directions you’re given for emailing your resume is the first important step to advancing your candidacy. If you send an email without all the elements that are needed, the employer may take that as a bad sign that you won’t follow directions on the job.
Use Attachment Best Practices
If there’s no note to copy and paste the resume content into the email, then send it as an attachment. Typically, a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) and PDF file are the most commonly accepted file formats. You can find tips for saving PDF files here.
Label the file so it’s easily recognizable as your resume. If there aren’t specific directions for how to save the file, use your full name and “Resume” in the label. You might also want to add the name of the company to personal what you’re sending, so something like, “First name_Last name_Resume_Company.”
Follow these same best practices with a cover letter. First see if the employer prefers you paste the cover letter contents into the email or add it as an attachment. If you’re attaching it, save it as a Word doc or PDF and label it accordingly.
If there are no directions about what to include in the subject line or body of the email, and you’re sending your other materials as attachments, tailor the email to the job and company you’re applying to and keep it simple.
For the subject line, start with the position you’re applying for, add your first and last name and the word “Resume.” For example:
[Position] – [your full name] – Resume
In the body of the email, address the hiring manager with a professional salutation if you know their name. For example, “Dear Ms. Smith.” If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, “Dear Hiring Manager” works.
Start the email stating the position you’re applying for. If you were referred to the hiring manager through a personal contact, or you’ve already met the hiring manager, you may add a note explaining the connection. You may also add a note about what makes you qualified, but keep it brief and distinguish it from language that’s in a cover letter.
Then explain what you’re attaching or pasting into the email. Offer to follow up with additional materials if needed. For example:
I’m very interested in applying for the [position] at [company name]. I’m grateful to [referral name] for connecting us. My objective is to leverage the [number of years] of experience as a [job title] to help [company you’re applying for] achieve its goals.
I’ve attached my resume and cover letter. Please let me know if you’d like me to send additional materials or information.
Then, thank the hiring manager for looking over your materials. Add a call to action to advance the conversation.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Close out the email with a professional salutation. “Best” or “Sincerely” work well. After your name, list your contact information.
[Your full name]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
[Your LinkedIn profile, if applicable]
Before You Hit Send
Run the contents of your email subject line and the body of the email, as well as your resume and cover letter, through a spelling and grammar check. In addition to using the Word document spelling and grammar feature, you can run everything through a free tool like Grammarly to get more feedback on spelling and grammar issues.
Remember that everything you create for an employer, from an email subject line to an email greeting, may be evaluated as a reflection of how you’d perform on the job. You want to make sure what you send is professional and error-free.
Send yourself a test run first to make sure everything reads well and is formatted correctly. You’ll also want to make sure the attachments open without an issue. You might want to send a test email to someone else to see how everything looks on their email client.
Once you’ve proofread your email, tested it and corrected any errors (test again if you make fixes), send it off.
Want to ensure your resume, cover letter and email are all good to go before sending? Contact HiConsulting Services online or at 623-738-4470. We can help.
Do You Need a Cover Letter? Benefits & Tips
You’ve found the perfect job to apply to. You’ve polished your resume. Are you ready to apply?
Well, maybe not quite. Many jobs require a cover letter as part of the application process. A 2019 study by The Ladders found the majority of tech jobs do, with a higher demand for cover letters from medium-sized companies and fast-growing startups.
Even when a job description doesn’t stipulate a cover letter requirement, you may want to send one. Here’s why and how to craft yours to stand out to hirers.
Cover Letter Benefits
A resume is a straightforward, quantitative view of your work experience. A cover letter shows a more personal side of you as a candidate. It explains why a company should hire you and how you match up to the job requirements.
When a job description requires a cover letter, you definitely need to send one. When a cover letter is optional, the benefits of sending one include:
- You can stand out among candidates who don’t send a cover letter, because you’re showing you’re going above and beyond for the job.
- The details you reveal in a cover letter may compel a hiring manager to move you along the hiring process.
- If there are questionable issues in your resume, like an employment gap or short-term employment, you can explain those in a cover letter in a positive light.
Cover letters do take extra time, especially because you should make each one personalized to the job you’re applying for. But when you’re really interested in a job, a cover letter could be the deciding factor that gets you your dream position.
When should you not send a cover letter?
If the job description states not to include a cover letter, then don’t send one. Doing so could be viewed negatively, that you’re not following directions.
If you’re submitting an application online and there’s nowhere to submit a cover letter, take that as a sign the employer doesn’t want one. There’s no need to go out of your way to send one when it’s not desired.
Otherwise, when you have an opportunity to send a cover letter, you should make the effort to send one and show the employer you’re invested in the potential job.
What to Include in a Cover Letter
A cover letter should be a one-page document that matches the design (fonts, colors, etc.) and contact information of your resume.
First, include your contact information and the date you’re writing the letter.
Then, greet the recipient. Address the letter to the hirer’s name, i.e., “Dear Jane Doe,” or “Dear John Smith.” If you don’t have the hirer’s name available, use, “Dear Hiring Manager.”
In your introduction, explain that you’re interested in applying for the specific position at the company’s name. If you were referred by someone, note that person’s name and title at that company. This establishes a personal connection, enhances your credibility and may pique the interest of the person reading the letter.
In the body of the letter, tell a compelling narrative about why you’re a candidate the hirer should be interested in. Explain how your specific experience and achievements make you the perfect fit for what the job requires.
Differentiate your cover letter from your resume. Give insight into your personality and what makes you different compared to others who have the same qualifications. Your cover letter is an opportunity to show how you’d be a cultural fit, so you may want to mention how you connect to the organization’s mission, product or service.
If you want to explain something from your resume, like a gap or potential concern (such as short-term employment, an incomplete degree, irregularities in employment, etc.), you can use your cover letter to do so in a positive light.
If you currently don’t live in the area where the job is, you can also use the letter to explain your interview availability or confirm your willingness to relocate.
To conclude the letter, show gratitude to the hirer for their consideration. Include a call to action to keep the conversation going – for example, something like, “I look forward to speaking with you soon and hope we can connect for an interview.” End the letter with a formal salutation, such as, “Sincerely, [your name].”
Avoid These Cover Letter Mistakes
Sending a bad letter is worse than sending no letter when there’s no cover letter requirement. Keep these pitfalls in mind.
- Sending out the same cover letter for multiple jobs: Each cover letter should be specific to the job you’re applying for. Savvy hiring managers will notice when a cover letter isn’t personalized. Sending one that has the wrong identifying details will eliminate you from the job pool.
- Typos: Hirers might view typos as a reflection of how you’d perform on the job.
- Inaccurate information: An exaggerated claim or dishonest detail may be investigated during the job search process. It could cost you the job and your reputation.
- Negative information: Don’t point out qualifications you’re missing or attempt to explain away any hesitations a hirer may have about your experience. Focus on your strengths and what you can offer.
Just like your resume, a cover letter is an important representation of your professional experience. Ensure it’s a positive, accurate reflection of your qualifications and employment desirability.
Use These Cover Letter Tips
As you craft a unique cover letter, remember these tips. Use these as a checklist before you send any cover letter.
- Keep it to one page.
- Proofread for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, contact information inaccuracies and false claims. Have someone you trust read it, as well, if possible.
- Explain what you can offer, not what you want. Focus on the value you can bring to the job and company.
- Highlight standout achievements when possible, instead of listing daily responsibilities.
- Use consistent design and contact information with your resume.
- Double-check that the cover letter follows any instructions that are given. Some companies may ask you to highlight certain topics in the cover letter.
Cover letters aren’t always required, but when you’re able to send one, they can make you stand out as a job candidate.
If you want expert eyes on your cover letter or need help getting started, contact HiConsulting Services for a free consultation. We offer cover letter writing assistance to ensure what you send makes a great impression.
Informational Interview Guide
Informational interviews are great ways to create professional connections and work toward the next step in your career. Whether you want to move up in your industry or change fields altogether, gathering information from people you respect can help you get closer to achieving your goals.
With more people working from home these days due to the COVID pandemic, now’s an opportunity to reach out for video calls with people you want to learn from. Here’s why you should consider informational interviews and how to have successful ones.
Reasons to Set Up Informational Interviews
What is an informational interview, exactly? It’s an informal conversation where you can learn more about the professional life of the person you’re talking to.
Informational interviews give you a way to connect with someone who has the job title you’re interested in yourself. They can also help you learn more about a new industry you’re considering, so you can figure out if it’s actually something you want to pursue.
Informational interviews provide the following benefits.
- They’re networking opportunities. Showing interest in someone you admire can help you form a valuable relationship. An informational interview could lead to a job referral down the line. Or you might gain a new friend you can glean professional insights from in the future.
- They help you learn more about diverse career paths. How you envision a certain position or field may be totally different than reality. Informational interviews can help you hone in on the career journey you want to take. They can help you save time from applying for jobs you actually wouldn’t be interested in or are a fit for. They can clue you in to the steps to take to land your dream career.
- They provide interview practice. Informational interviews provide conversation practice, which is a helpful skill to have if you find yourself interviewing for a job in the future. They give you an opportunity to practice asking someone else questions, another helpful skill in actual job interviews. They also provide insights that might be beneficial to know for next time you’re in an interview.
You can do informational interviews with higher-ups at your current company. These can provide opportunities to develop a mentor/mentee relationship, if you’re looking for someone to guide you in your current career path.
You can also approach someone using LinkedIn or via a connection through your network. You can comb through your current contacts to identify people who are in positions that interest you. Or, reach out to your personal contacts to see if they know someone who might be willing to talk with you about the industry you’re interested in.
How to Set Up an Informational Interview
Once you’ve identified the person you want to interview, contact them to ask them if they’d be willing to meet with you. Explain:
- Why you’re approaching them: Tell them why you are interested in talking with them and offer gratitude for their consideration.
- What they can expect from the meeting: Set up expectations for how long the interview will be and give the person you’re approaching an idea of the types of questions you’ll ask or the information you’ll be seeking.
Provide flexibility to make the interview convenient to the person you’re approaching. Offer to make the interview work for whatever time or day is best for them. Let them choose the format – in-person, where you’ll meet them, or online in a video conference.
Tips for a Successful Informational Interview
After the meeting is set, make sure you’re prepared for the informational interview so you maximize its effectiveness and appear professional to the person you’re interviewing. Use these tips.
1. Research the person you’re interviewing.
You can do this by connecting on LinkedIn and looking at their career history. Maybe the person you’re interviewing has a website or has been featured in the news recently.
Go into the interview with some background on the person you’re talking with, so you have talking points that move the conversation forward.
2. Write out a list of questions.
Writing out questions beforehand will prepare you to keep the conversation going. Prepare with a top 10 list of questions you’d love answered. These can be questions like:
- How has your career path taken you to where you are today?
- What do you think is essential preparation for the role you’re in?
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
- What advice do you have for someone who’d like to be where you are today?
Go into the interview with your questions, but allow for flexibility while you’re talking. You’ll want to actively listen to the person you’re talking to and ask follow-up questions to their points where there’s value. Be willing to go off your script, because you might be inspired with new questions as they talk.
3. Take notes.
You may want to reference the interview later. Taking notes ensures you can go back and look at insights when you need to. It also shows the person you’re talking to that you’re paying attention and value what they have to say.
You might also consider bringing a tape recorder to an in-person interview, or asking permission to record the interview over video. Always ask permission before recording an interview.
4. Thank the interviewee and follow up.
At the end of the informational interview, thank the person who has talked with you for their time. Ask permission to send them follow-up questions if they have them.
If you genuinely enjoyed the conversation and want to maintain a relationship with the person you’ve interviewed, let them know. This can lead to a mentor relationship or a deeper networking connection.
If you’re still interested in the person’s industry or career path after the interview, sending a written note again thanking them for their time can help you stay at top of mind. If a position opens up in the future, or if you find yourself on the job hunt, this final step of gratitude can make a positive difference in establishing a relationship.
Get More Career Tips
Networking is an important part of career success. With informational interviews, you can build meaningful relationships while also learning valuable information that can help you in your career journey.
For guidance on how to prepare for interviews and other individual career services, contact HiConsulting for a free consultation.