How to spruce up your job search

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

IN the wake of the New Year it’s nat­u­ral to start con­sid­er­ing your next ca­reer move, and start milling around sites look­ing for re­sume for­mats and cover let­ter tips. Af­ter the hol­i­days, our lives slow down so­cially and we fi­nally have time to re­flect on our goals and start set­ting ob­jec­tives for the next twelve months.

Com­pa­nies and busi­nesses are do­ing the same. In Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, once year end re­ports have been filed and bud­gets have been set (and hir­ing freezes have ended), hu­man re­sources et al turn to the hard work of staffing up. If you have been think­ing of branch­ing out work-wise, now is the time to spruce up the old re­sume, and beef-up a tired cover let­ter.

The only is­sue is that ap­ply­ing for jobs is the last way any­one wants to spend their free-time. Most would rather have den­tal surgery than go through the stress­ful ap­pli­ca­tion process. Job-search de­pres­sion is a real thing, and sit­ting at a lap­top one can feel like they’re star­ing into a black­hole of sad­ness rather than an ex­cit­ing world of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Writ­ing a cover let­ter can make you feel like the big­gest im­poster ever. De­scrib­ing and tout­ing your ac­com­plish­ments seems un­nat­u­ral. Es­pe­cially when you don’t even know who is read­ing the let­ter, and what ex­actly they are look­ing for from a can­di­date. You are at­tempt­ing to con­vince a stranger of your worth, with­out say­ing out­right, “I’m great! Give me dat money!” The whole sit­u­a­tion is just... awk­ward.

A good cover let­ter, how­ever, will help you stand out from other ap­pli­cants. It al­lows you to ex­plain your ex­pe­ri­ence and show your ex­cite­ment for the po­si­tion. In best-case sce­nar­ios, it trans­forms you from an­other pa­per on a desk into a flesh and blood per­son — giv­ing the re­cruiter a sense of your voice and per­son­al­ity. A good let­ter helps them imag­ine you work­ing for the com­pany and suc­ceed­ing. The last thing you want to do is not uti­lize your CV op­por­tu­nity. So how do you do write one with­out im­plod­ing into a pile of stress? Fol­low a few help­ful tips and you’ll be shoot­ing off a bril­liant CV in no time!

1. Set your­self apart in the in­tro-para­graph

The job re­cruiters are look­ing at pos­si­bly hun­dreds of re­sumes, so be­ing too for­mu­laic will back­fire. Of course, each let­ter must meet cer­tain gen­eral re­quire­ments, so think of how you can tweak the for­mat­ting to give yours a more unique spin.

How can you say “I am ap­ply­ing for X po­si­tion” in a more in­ter­est­ing way? Try com­mu­ni­cat­ing in­ter­est and in­tro­duc­ing your­self in the first sen­tence. For ex­am­ple: “I am so ex­cited to hear about X po­si­tion at [com­pany’s name], and I would like to put my name for­ward as a can­di­date.”

Writ­ing in an overly for­mal tone will make the reader tune out, how­ever you don’t want to be too ca­sual and all like “Yo, what’s up?”

In the first para­graph you want to state the ba­sics of why you would be a great fit for the po­si­tion.

How­ever, phras­ing it “I would make a good can­di­date be­cause X” sounds like you didn’t put thought into it. Af­fect a tone that is re­spect­ful but easy-go­ing — also, you never have to say “My name is X,” give them the credit that they al­ready know whose app they are read­ing.

2. Don’t Re­cy­cle CVS Mind­lessly

It seems self-ev­i­dent, but the CV has to match the job to which you are ap­ply­ing. It’s easy to copy-and-paste from past CVS, but re­cruiters will be able to tell if the graphs are vague and un­spe­cific.

Though it is time con­sum­ing, you have to cater each one to the job and put thought into it. A rule of thumb is that re­cruiters and HR types will only touch-base if you meet 75 per­cent of re­quire­ments.

They will look first at your cur­rent job and skill-set, so it is im­por­tant to put the di­rectly re­lat­ing skills first, and trans­fer­able skills later. Ev­ery com­pany and even job has its own tone, so make sure your cover let­ter is re­flec­tive of that.

3. Quan­tify Your Achieve­ments

Do not be afraid to brag. What was your great­est re­cent suc­cess? How have you changed things in your for­mer job?

What awe­some skills do you have that could help grow the com­pany you are ap­ply­ing to? You are an as­set — make sure the re­cruiter knows that. — Bus­tle

NOT all com­pa­nies post their open po­si­tions on job boards, so be sure to look at the web­sites of tar­get or­ga­ni­za­tions for post­ings.

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