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Cover Letters

Once you have a solid resume, you will need a cover letter to compliment your skills. A good cover letter highlights your value as a potential employee and paints a picture for the reader. Here are tips for an effective cover letter to get that next interview.

Introduce Yourself

A good cover letter will provide the reader a clear idea of who you are and what you can do. The cover letter is important to fill in the gaps that might be left from your two-page resume.

Give the reader a clear idea of WHY you want to work for their company and HOW you can provide that value.

Highlighting why you’re making a job change (spouse relocation or career switch) is another important aspect to include. If you can include metrics or tangible improvements from your previous employment, include them.  But keep your cover letter to no more than one page. People are busy and one page is enough to sell yourself and your skill set.

Match Keywords

Just like writing a resume, a solid cover letter should align with the job description and your skills. Match keywords from the job posting and use that vocabulary in your letter. Better yet, highlight an achievement or “win” from a previous role which illustrates that specific skill or certification. Remember, readers like stories so make your cover letter tell your story.

Spelling and Grammar

This goes without saying but using correct spelling and grammar is vital for your cover letter. You need to show off your writing skills and a huge part of that is a readable introduction. Check spelling and tenses of verbs to ensure they match.  Read through with fresh eyes to make sure not to leave out any important details. Finally, have a friend or colleague read through your cover again letter for clarity and punctuation.

Ask for the Interview

Without sounding cheesy, have a great closing statement in the letter to specify “action.” In other words, ask for the interview!  Or you could ask to follow up in a few days if the reader had any further questions. Bottom line, you want the reader to act and contact you for an interview, to continue the conversation.  A salutation of “Thank you” or “Sincerely” is also best when signing off.

Practice makes permanent, so the more you write, the easier a solid cover letter will be for you. Good Luck!

Follow my blog for more career articles posted weekly: KathyHusserTempe.com

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career Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Resumes

The first step in any new job hunt or career change is to freshen up or create a new resume. Here are proven tips from Jenny Foss to make your resume stand out for that next interview.

Skills and Value

Highlighting your unique skills and the value you bring the company is the first step in creating a resume. Use a resume template that is easy to read and uses all the real estate on the page.  That said, make sure your resume is no more than two pages in length. Be sure to use an 11 or 12 size font for easy reading by the reviewer. Only include “technology proficiencies” if you can fit it easily on the second page.

Depending on your industry, it is usually understood that the average applicant is knowledgeable in Microsoft applications, etc. However, if you are a whiz with WordPress then absolutely include this in your “Skills Section.” Your value and job skills need to be near the beginning of your first page and highlighted.

Employment Gaps

With the recent pandemic, many job seekers will have gaps in employment for various reasons. Handling gaps depends upon your specific situation, such as childcare, relocation for a spouse, or being laid off. Explaining the gap depends upon the amount of time that has elapsed, the industry, and if you’re changing careers. There are many ways to address gaps on a resume. Be prepared to tell your story at the interview in a succinct manner.

Grammar and Organization

Finally, proofread your resume very carefully. Have another person review and proofread for typos and continuity. A recent poll on LinkedIn stated that hiring managers felt that zero mistakes or typos should appear on resumes. Be sure your organization follows the template so the most prominent skills in the job description match the skills on your resume. Don’t lie. Rather, match words that will help the resume scanning software place you in the “A” pile to interview.

Review the job description carefully and be sure to tailor your resume for each job. The ATS or applicant tracking system will thank you, and you will land that coveted interview. Include the keywords that are used in the job posting on your resume for best results.

Finally, save your resume as a PDF and word document.  Different companies use different formatting when resumes are submitted online. Always double check your download before you click submit for the cleanest and most reader-friendly resume.   Good Luck!

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career Library Jobs Library Leadership

Goal Setting

Goalsetting is a useful tool to guide your career in any industry, especially in libraries. Read on for tools to help in setting goals and developing your career plan for future growth. With work- place cultures changing due to COVID, realigning your goals now might be right for you.

Gap Analysis

A standard gap analysis determines your current status, and where you’d like to end up.  The gap or what’s missing is in the middle. Does this gap need to be filled with education, another job, increased salary, or a new geographic asset? Only you can determine what is the most important factor and how to obtain your goal. Having your plan benchmarked with SMART goals and establishing a plan to close gaps will get you there. Smaller goals should build upon one another to fill the gaps and ultimately help you achieve your main career objective.

Mentors

Finding a trusted mentor you can rely on will help in your career plan. Finding more than one will help even more, especially if a few are outside of your industry. Jobs and careers are made with relationships and connections. Networking and finding mentors might be a little more difficult with more industries working remotely. However, volunteering for service events, attending conferences, and adding value in your current job, position you as a leader. Mentors are drawn to natural leaders, so just ask if you feel a connection with a colleague. The more genuine connections you make with people, the more likely you will find someone to help you.

Use LinkedIn

Finally, use LinkedIn and use it a lot. If your partner’s career dictates your geographic location and possibly your career goals now, then pivot.  What I mean is, what smaller achievements can you accomplish which will help you get toward that larger career goal.  Think about teaching, volunteering, or shadowing someone in your desired industry or job.  Anything to make yourself more valuable to a future employer will help you in the long run. To overcome a geographic obstacle be sure to link with colleagues in your desired location.  You never know what opportunities might open or when you might make a physical move.

Having a career plan is a way to keep your goals on track, yet flexible for life. Especially with the pandemic having families rethink priorities, having a career plan in place will make you feel more in control of your future.  Best of luck!