Best practice approaches to career marketing are in a state of constant flux (due to technological advances and the sort), but there remain proven fundamentals which should not be neglected as you seek to heighten your professional standing.
No matter what strategy you subscribe to, when it comes to creating effective cover letters and resumes, consider the following:
- Place yourself in the employer’s shoes. Simply stated, research the desired position AND the company under consideration. Once you determine what the company is truly seeking (the posting simply touches the surface of candidate expectations so you must delve several layers deeper), target your material to confirm how you are capable of satisfying the need. For those unable to gather a great deal of information, check out www.ONETOnline.org, this free site is a great tool to learn about industry occupation expectations, responsibilities, and salaries.
- Incorporate keywords into all documents. Once position and company expectations are known, introduce specific terms from the posting into your resume and cover letter. Don’t smother your documents with terms though as the reader won’t appreciate it. By the way, merging keywords will help you get through an ATS filter and also demonstrates functional knowledge and expertise… and that’s a good thing.
- Take advantage of being recognized for outstanding performance. To your advantage, much of the competition applying for the same job as you neglects to let others share insight as to the value they offer. Think of it this way, if former supervisors, professors, colleagues, and/or customers praise your performance, what does that say (and prove) about your work and team ethic? In case you are wondering, quotes can be taken from professional networking sites such as LinkedIn… just don’t use more than one quote per page.
- Cover letters ARE worth the effort. True enough, some hiring managers don’t read cover letters or request on with the application, but others give cover letters serious attention. Since one rarely knows what hiring managers are looking for, ALWAYS send along a cover letter. While constructing your cover letter, be sure and use the same header as your resume. Keeping consistency shows an attention to detail and many hiring managers look for detail. Regarding content, highlight information that will draw in the reader by showcasing how you stand out from the competition.
- Keep it quick. There appears to be an indirect relationship between technology speed and reader attention; as electronic gadget speed increases, reader attention decreases. As a result, most career experts agree that a typical resume is scanned by a hiring manager for less than ten seconds, leaving you no time for idle, misplaced, or irrelevant information. To give you the advantage, place the most important information within the top third of the resume, making sure you include keywords and immediate value or contributions you bring. For those with an added or unique value (for example, bilingual, secret service clearance, and/or knowledge in a related industry skill), be sure and share this with the reader.
With a global applicant pool exceeding hundreds fighting for a single position, the need for you to prepare and deliver an effective marketing strategy has never been greater. For those willing to invest in themselves by way of diligence, the future can be quite bright.
We’ll continue offering professional insight and review career marketing strategies so continue checking for the next submission. With this in mind, if you have career questions and would like a team of professionally certified writers and coaches input, don’t hesitate to ask.
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Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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