No matter what career you choose, there will come a time when you have to write cover letters. Though there are many who are good at making up and editing their resumes so that they are an ideal candidate, the cover letter is often much harder to do. This is because it has to be special made for each job opening, whereas the resume can be the same for the most part. When you get stuck on writing the letter to go with your resume when applying for jobs, your best bet for help is to find good examples of cover letters that you can use as reference when writing your own.
The hard part about using examples of cover letters for your own project is deciding which would go well with the career path you have chosen. Don’t make this part too hard though, as there are times when we think too hard about what we need to say. If you find enough examples of cover letters, you are going to find that the right one will jump right out at you. If you read though enough, you may find many that work, and you can mix and match your favorite parts of them to make something that will truly make your letter stand out above the rest.
Don’t make the mistake of using examples of cover letters word for word when you are using them to help you out. You do have to take one that works well and you then have to make it your own. If your cover letter sounds too generic, it is going to look like you put no thought into it at all. Most companies like people who are detail oriented, and a generic looking and sounding cover letter will not give that impression. Instead, use your cover letter examples as a loose guide to the skeleton of your own letter.
When searching for examples of cover letters, you can find many free ones online. However, you may not find what you need. You can find books that are full of them, and though you will have to pay for them, they will prove to be a valuable investment when they have helped you land the interviews or job of your dreams. This type of resource is going to work for more than examples of cover letters, as they can help you construct other types of business letters as well. Even better, a good cover letter example will be timeless as long as it is edited for personal slant. Once you buy a good resource, you can use it for a long time to come.
The American business culture is different than almost any other industrialized country. Americans are known to be hard working people, always on the go, working long hours and rushing from one activity to another. While a good work ethic is an admirable characteristic, the down side of our type A personalities is that we end up so stressed out, we end each day in an exhausted state, not knowing if we’re coming or going. Some of us have forgotten how to relax! BTW, plopping on the couch in front of the tube doesn’t count as relaxation. Our doctors warn us of the health problems that may ensue unless we stop driving ourselves so hard. Not many heed this advice and actually take steps to slow down. The principles of American business culture are far too well ingrained. Even our kids pick up on how busy one’s schedule should be.
One element of American business culture may be observed at your very first job interview. Business people don’t like to waste time and they don’t have time to waste anyway. You may wait a few minutes before being called by the interviewer (busily completing the task prior to your interview). Once you shake hands, you sit down and get right down to business. Should your prospective boss be the incorrigible type A personality and you’re not, you might feel downright uncomfortable. You might not even get the job if the interviewer sees you as too laid back!
Now let’s compare American business culture with European business culture. An American looking for a job in Europe absolutely must get up to speed on European business protocol in order to avoid an embarrassing situation which could prove to be irrecoverable. Don’t expect your first meeting with a prospective employer to be an interview, in the sense of a typical American interview. The French, in particular, are sticklers on this point. Your first meeting is full of polite conversation and should be conducted in French, if possible. This shows that you are interested enough in their culture to have a basic, if imperfect grasp of the language. You can bet the interviewer speaks English as well as you do, but this is not American business culture turf.
The purpose of this first meeting is to assess your personality and style. There may not be a single word exchanged about the position. Should you ask or remark on something that relates to the job or work, it is considered pushy and rude! A French businessman feels it’s essential that you be a likable person, one who will fit in to the organization like a family member. You may be invited to lunch, which is simply more of the same. No discussion of business takes place. Once you’ve been accepted, on a personal level, then you may be invited to dinner. That’s when business is discussed. That’s when you may receive an offer.
If you’re going to Japan on business, be prepared for culture shock. Japanese business culture is so very different from American business culture, you’ll need to thoroughly educate yourself on the expected protocol of the business meeting. For example, there a number of rituals which must be performed before you ever sit down. There is the business card presentation ritual. You’ll be embarrassed and lose points and favors if you don’t know what’s happening and what your role in the ritual is. You may be offered foods that you cannot identify, but must eat. If you refuse, no matter how graciously, you’ve delivered a terrible insult, disgraced yourself and probably won’t get the job!
We Americans are so into our American business culture, we just hate to waste time. It’s just the way we are. However, the French get 5 weeks paid vacation each year. Hmm. That’s something to think about.
Some people have a problem finding a good job, and they don’t know why. They can’t seem to get in for a first interview and they are left feeling frustrated. I know this because I was working with a candidate who is a new college grad who was having this problem. She had good grades, was bright and personable, and she always dressed well. Though it’s not realistic that she get called back for everything single job she applied for, she should have at least gotten a few phone calls. As it turned out, the problem was with her job application.
Some students think that once you move past part time, minimum wage jobs that you will no longer have to fill out a job application. They think that their newly printed resume will take the place of the job application and it is something that they no longer have to worry about. She wasn’t filling them out, even though they were asking her to do so. She would just clip her resume over the top of the application and send it in. She was making a huge mistake and she had no idea.
It should be common sense, but there are times when someone tells us something and we just believe it because we trust him or her. Someone had told her that now that she had finished college, she didn’t have to worry about that pesky job application any longer. There may be some jobs that allow you to skip the job application, but you won’t find many of them when you are just out of college. In fact, when you first start out, you are not the one that is in demand. Once you move up and become very good at what you do, you may then be able to apply for a job without the application, and sometimes, you may find they are calling you first.
When job searching, you are going to have an easier time filling out your job application if you already have the information you need with you. If you have the information at hand, you can fill out the job application rather quickly, and you should be sure that you are not putting down the wrong phone number or perhaps forgetting an important reference or detail. Don’t be careless though, or you will have to ask for another one when you make a hasty mistake. Having the wrong information on your application is just as bad as not filling one out at all.
Equal pay for equal work: a frustration for many working mothers
Most families are not financially able to enjoy the luxury of a stay at home Mom. It’s too hard for most of us to make ends meet without a second income. However, when Mom goes to work, she finds, more often than not, that the working mother, doing the same job and possessing an equal skill set, is paid less than a man. This is a source of great and legitimate frustration.
Working mothers are already penalized, in that she has far less time to spend raising her children. The insult to injury shows up in her paycheck. She may be seated right next to Joe, doing the exact same work. Joe’s paycheck is, sometimes, substantially larger, while they both work 40 hours. Doesn’t seem right, does it? Let’s take a look at why this situation is so common and what the working mother can do to attain equal pay for equal work.
The genesis of unequal pay began more than fifty years ago. During World War II, with most working age men away at war, the family structure got turned on its head. It became necessary for women to do their part to support the war effort, going to work in factories to make the necessary supplies (remember Rosie the Riveter?), as there weren’t enough men to fill the jobs. The traditional stay at home Mom became a working mother, mostly due to a rally to patriotism. When the war ended, most women were relieved to be out of a job and back home tending the family fires.
This period of the working mother in war time did break the traditional mode of men as the breadwinners. By the mid-1950s, it became common for women to hold part time jobs to augment the family income. These jobs tended to be menial and women did not expect to be paid a man’s wage. Such part-time and short term jobs did not pay enough to support the family and were not intended to be so. More complex occupations were generally reserved for men. Men wanted to be the breadwinners, while women did not. This was the socially acceptable arrangement of the day.
During the 1960s, it became far more common for women to go to college and develop careers previously held only by men. The unspoken agreement was that women were only hired for ‘men’s jobs’ at a lesser rate of pay. After all, a woman was taking a job away from the traditional breadwinner. It would be unthinkable to give equal pay and women had to accept this if they wanted to work.
As time passed, these young women college grads married and had families. By the 1970s, economic conditions and increasing family debt brought women back into the mainstream work force, as working mothers. The prevailing notion of men being the breadwinners was still in effect. Employers still, perhaps almost unconsciously, regarded women as taking a job away from a man. The only rationale to hiring working mothers was that the company didn’t need to pay them an equal wage.
Although plenty of women are still on a slow burn over the issue, old ideas die slowly. Today, we talk about the ‘glass ceiling’. Equal pay is still an issue. Few women have overcome and broken through that ceiling, and now enjoy equal pay.
So what prevents most women from receiving equal pay? According to one female business consultant, the major reason is that women state a lower dollar amount as their desired rate of pay when they apply for that equal work job!
Working mothers often buy into this self-defeating concept, feeling that the only way into a profession is a lower pay rate. Some feel that it’s necessary to make that trade-off, because they need a job. Others think that they must be ‘mannish’ in their demeanor to get equal pay.
So what’s the solution? Realize that your educational qualifications are every bit as valuable as a man with the same credentials. Women can be just as professional in the performance of their job as a man. Being a woman can be an asset in certain professions, where a woman’s style of professionalism may be better suited to the occupation than a man’s. Go online and find out what the market rate is for your skill set. When you interview, or are going for a pay raise, ask for that rate of pay. Today’s working mother needs to buff up her professional self esteem! You may well get what you’re worth. Good luck!
How programmer jobs and outsourcing affected the current economy
In 2000, the American economy was booming. The IT field, including research and development, analyst, marketing and programmer jobs accounted for fully 51% of America’s GDP! We’re talking big money. In January of 2001, job boards like DICE boasted well over 100,000 engineering, analyst and programmer jobs, waiting to be filled. In past years, the period between October and March was traditionally the slow period. In 2000 and into 2001, this mold was broken, with more positions to be filled than there were qualified candidates. IT was booming.
Let me share a true story with you, to demonstrate how outsourcing IT jobs to foreign cheap labor sources, was the beginning of what we now are experiencing in the labor market and the current state of the economy. Be warned, it’s not a pretty picture, but should give you some insight into how we got to be where we are now.
In 2000, a good friend was contracted to IBM as an enterprise architect. IBM’s end user was another big name IT company. The project involved developing a licensing system. IBM’s end user had a staff of 40 foreign programmers, who had been working on the project for a year without progress or results. My friend’s job was to coordinate the activities of all these programmer jobs and get the job done. In the end, the end user company dismissed the staff of 40, for sheer incompetence, and replaced them with this top notch engineer, truly a one man show. The licensing system moved like greased lightning and was estimated to have saved the company a million dollars in previously lost revenue. To make it all happen, he was putting in some very long days. When the project was completed, he was ready for a vacation! He took a couple of months off. In March of 2001, he checked out the job boards, only to find that the 100,000 programmer jobs had dwindled to 23,000! Hey! What happened?
The IT companies had discovered that the government had decided to give them big tax breaks for using foreign cheap labor. Suddenly, the American engineer or programmer was shut out of the market. Corporations had gone for outsourcing with gusto! Why should they pay Americans the market rate, when they could have the job done in India for a tiny fraction of the American programmers rate? As it turned out, approximately three million American programmer jobs disappeared overseas.
This continued for several years. In the end, the outsourcing strategy did not work. The corporations discovered that, due to language and other communication problems, combined with a lack of availability during normal business hours, projects were not only failing, but cost 20% more, even with the tax breaks. Meanwhile, American technology was being handed out like candy overseas. What was formerly proprietary American technology was, and still is, in the hands of foreign countries, most notably India and China. American programmer jobs were like hen’s teeth – not to be found.
At the time, three million programmer jobs, spread all over America in a period of several months, didn’t even make a blip on the public consciousness or unemployment statistics.
Taking a page from the IT industry, other manufacturing companies soon followed suit. The American textile and auto industries were virtually wiped out. Entire regions suffered massive layoffs, plunging these workers into instant unemployment. This practice has continued to today. Anyone with a basic understanding of economics can see that if too large a percentage of the population is unemployed, they will not be able to afford to purchase the products produced overseas by American companies.
We’ve now effectively lost the technology that helped sustain that booming economy. In addition, the foreign workers are now in a position to demand higher rates. No free lunch anymore. From where I sit, it looks like greed overcame the corporations.
As a result, the corporations virtually shot themselves in the foot. It’s not known if American programmer jobs will begin to rise again. Our new President-elect has vowed to come down hard with a heavy tax burden on companies that use foreign labor. We’ll see. One thing is certain. It’s going to be a long hard road back to American prosperity. Ha. There really ought to be a law! Let’s see it.
The high technology job sector has evolved quite dramatically over the last few years. The technology infrastructure that provides us with broadband access, mobile everywhere and anytime, anyplace access to information has really spurred a plethora of new services and by inferrence has created enormous job opportunities for the right people.
Case in point is the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. His campaign team was able to garner an enormous cache of money, because they learned to leverage the web’s ability to touch huge numbers of people simultaneously and oftentimes with different messages. In addition, with the ability to target, iterate and re-focus the message at a moments notice, Mr. Obama’s campaign team showed that they are an online marketing force to be rekoned with.
Oh, and by the way, did you know that Senator Obama’s Twitter profile is the most followed Twitter account? What is Twitter, you ask?
This is the new world within which you must learn to work. I cannot count how many employers now employ or seek to employ the new generation of marketeers and sales agents. If you don’t know SEM, SEO, PPC, CPA, blogging, wikis, twitter or the numerous other direct marketing concepts, you will surely be left in the annals of the technology dinosaurs.
I recently attended an Adtech conference in San Francisco. Picture this … at the Moscone Center … 100s of new wave technolgy companies that just 5 years ago were barely a blip on the screen … commission junction, hitwise, double click, hydra networks … All of them giving out free food, booze, and chatchkas. And, to top it off, “booth babes” galore. This reminded me of the heady enterprise software days of the early to late 90s. You’d think that the real estate fiasco was over and the “happy days are here again”.
The truth is, though, that every major and minor company is integrating online marketing with their offline marketing at incredible speeds. In fact, there are many companies who are even forgoing offline in favor of online. And, the reasons make sense: wider audience, faster target response time and most often a lot less money.
What should you do to prepare for this new approach? As Nike’s slogan says “just do it”. Or, David’s iteration of this slogan, “get on with it”. There are many ways for you to participate in this market with little or no capital costs. Work with your local school, non-profit, or sports group and help them with optimizing their websites.
You can also create your own websites and create adsense ads or PPC to CPA type offers. If you want to get in on the new action, you MUST learn these techniques now before the storm really hits.
Once you’ve ventured into this realm, there really is no turning back. Emphasize your experience, highlight your successes and tout your ability to move a company’s Google PR from 0 to 8 and Alexa rating down from 1M to 1K and then give me a call.
There are many tips for writing a resume that will help someone get past the first level in the job application process. A good resume can help that person get to the interview process, if all the steps are taken properly. But the list of tips for writing a resume will fill a book, literally. Several books have been written on this subject, most of them containing excellent advice. One of them is the one I wrote called “Pro Resume Writing Secrets.”
But it may be more productive to concentrate on a few of the basic tips for writing a resume, leaving some of the finer points to the experts who work face to face with an individual. So, where do we begin?
- Perhaps the first decision to make is this: Should they try a full resume of several pages or stick with what has become known as a qualifications brief? Committing to one or the other will help eliminate doubts and allow the applicant to put together an organized and focused document.
- After deciding which type of resume or brief to commit to, the next step is usually the gathering of information. While this may seem simple, it is a critical step in the resume process. Many experts and job application advisers put significant emphasis on advance preparation. Just because you have a good memory and think you can put all of your education, experience and activities on paper does not mean you will do that when the time comes. Take plenty of time to make notes, gather certificates and other documents. Put together a well-organized file of all the information you need to build a good resume.
- Open any guidebook on tips for writing a resume and you will find some version of the two ideas above, as well as this tip: Try to focus on what the company needs, not just on showing the personnel manager or company supervisor how great your background is. One of the keys to a successful resume process (and one of the most difficult) is to blend personal experience and education with the needs of the company or person doing the hiring. Sometimes these needs are plainly stated in an advertisement or other information provided to the applicant. Sometimes this is only available when the applicant does some research or asks a few specific questions.
- Another key item on the list of tips for writing a resume: Do not start the resume process thinking that you have no work experience. This will only make for a weak resume or qualifications brief. In fact, every individual has something to offer. The key is to find out what you alone can do well and find the position in which to use those skills.
With the job market as it is, finding good jobs is often very difficult. The same goes for employers that are looking for good qualified employees. More and more companies are choosing to use online recruitment and selection to find qualified applicants. There are many online recruitment services available, so you have a good choice of which company to use. Some people will use more than one company to increase their chances of finding a job or finding a good employee, in the case of a company.
There is a procedure involved in the online recruitment and selection process. The business that is looking for employees registers with the online recruitment company, giving them all the personal data that is required. They then enter the data involving what they are looking for in a qualified employee. Sometimes companies are looking for just a couple employees, whereas other times, they are in need of many employees to fill different positions within the company.
An important part of the online recruitment and selection process that is often overlooked is posting of legal statements. These are very important as well as being required by law. Some of these statements are that the company is an equal opportunity employer. It is also vital that the company does not refer to age, race, sex or national origin as part of the online recruitment and selection procedure. This is illegal and can open the company up to a discriminatory lawsuit.
The wording that is used in an online recruitment and selection service must be followed. For instance, if you state that there is a deadline to when you will be accepting applications, you cannot extend that date. There are many situations where companies have been victims of lawsuits because of a disgruntled individual that wasn’t hired and felt it was due to their age or race. This may or may not have been the case, but if the company does not follow the law to the letter, they can have problems.
Going through the applicants is the next step in the process of online recruitment and selection. This is usually a step where the Human Resources Department will assist the employee because of their knowledge of the legal ramifications as well as the company’s individual hiring practice. The software for the online recruitment program makes it easy as it filters through all the applicants and will only pull up the ones that meet all the criteria required. From there, the last step of the online recruitment and selection is completed, which is selecting the individual that is most qualified for the position(s).
When you need work, you need to make sure you are doing all you can to find the right job. If you skimp on your job search, you may end up taking a job that you don’t want just to get the bills paid. The more thorough of a search that you do, the more options you will find. When you have more options, you have more from which to choose. Wouldn’t it be great to get three or four great job offers rather than just one so-so one? When you do a local job search, you have to think outside of the normal venues for finding a job.
Most of the good jobs you will find won’t be listed in the classifieds. Your local job search might first lead you to the paper, and you should definitely look there. You may also do a local job search online, and you may find things there that are not in your local paper. However, you should know that some of the best jobs are not listed in either place. You may have to send your resume out to every company that you might want to work for. Often the good jobs are not advertised at all. You have to do the legwork, but it may well be worth it.
A big part of your local job search should include networking with those in your line of work. Quite often this is how you find the best jobs. Those who work in your field often know of job openings before they even open, and they might be able to give you a lead or even recommend you. Networking can be hard to do when you are new in town, but you have to make it a part of your local job search if you hope to find the job of your dreams.
Another key to a good local job search is to be persistent without being overbearing. You can’t just send out resumes and sit back and wait for the phone to ring. There might be ten other people with a resume that looks just as good as yours. You up your chances of getting an interview if you do a follow up call. There are always people with your qualifications doing a local job search, so make sure you stay one step ahead by selling yourself effectively without going overboard. This might take some practice, but you have to learn how to do it for the very best jobs out there.
With all of the thought that people put into choosing the right job, too few of them actually do the research to back it up. A lot of people, for example, rate average yearly income as one of the primary motivating factors for the job field that they got into. The bottom line is that people want to make money, so average salary is important in determining what job they should get. In spite of all this, however, many of these same folks never bother to look up good statistics on average salaries. They trust any source that they find, even relying on the recommendations of friends or family member with no experience in the field.
I have always believed that there is never such a thing as too much information. The more information that you have, after all, the better job you can do in evaluating your situation and making the right decision. Average salaries are only one of the many factors that go into job happiness, but they are an important part. Let’s face it: no matter how happy you are with your job duties, if you are not able to make any money, you just will not enjoy the job. It is as simple as that. No one wants to go to one of the best universities, get good grades, spend hours and hours working on improving themselves, only to make little to no money
Still, it is easy to fall into the trap of looking at average salary and nothing else. You have to keep one thing in mind when you are calculating average yearly income: net income is dependent on you being able to do the job right. If you are unmotivated in your current profession, it doesn’t matter how lucrative it is. No matter what, you will not be able to do a very good job at it. You will either burn out quickly, get fired, or burn out slowly. Either way, you will lose time and money and never live up to your dreams. This is why it is so important to choose a job that you like, and not just one with a high average salary. The bottom line is that average salary is only one of many complicated factors that go into finding the right job for you. The perks and benefits of a career, the schedule and workload, and whether the skills and interests used match your own, can help you to decide on the right career.