Everyone knows the clichÃ?Â©, ‘It’s the first impression that counts”. If this is true in all circumstances, I cannot say, but when it comes to searching for a job, it would be wise for applicants to assume that it is. Many individuals do not realize the fact that they are being analyzed by potential employers from the very first time they make contact. So whether that be something more complex as a phone screening or as simple as an email to the company requesting an application, an applicant best consider every move he or she makes because the person on the other side will certainly being doing the same. Most of the time, though, that first contact is with the submission of a cover letter
and resume. So, it is best to construct those with efficiency.
Here are some tips:
Make All Correspondences Professional
Job applicants will most likely first communicate with potnetial employers through their submitted cover letter and resume. Since the recruiter will very likely have dozens of other applications to compare yours against, these two pieces of material should be carefully considered and designed to stand apart (in a good way) from the others.
Follow the Rules
Don’t think you are above a company’s policies. Yes, modern companies like people who can “think outside the box”, but they have certain procedures for doing such things as submitting an application because these specific methods work and are most convenient for them. So if you learn about the position on a career job posting site, read the ad very carefully to find out how they want your cover letter and resume. First, you want to make sure they don’t have a formal company-specific application available online for you to fill out. If not, it is very important to be sure you only email the documents if they accept electronic applications. Many places these days do, and lots of them actually prefer it, but the ones that do not will probably not even glance over anything not received by USPS. Make sure you are very clear on their guidelines. If it doesn’t say, it might even be worth the effort to research the company’s HR page or even, call their number (only if provided) and ask.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Check over your cover letter and resume for spelling and grammatical errors several times, Even after running it through your word processing program’s spell checker. It also is usually a good idea to have a friend or someone who hasn’t been staring at the documents for hours on end to look over it with a fresh eye. It is amazing how many people end up turning in cover letter and resumes with very obvious errors on them. It is certainly understandable, though, for it is true; after scrutinizing a piece of work that you are so familiar with you could rehearse by memory, for a long period of time, one tends to overlook problems with it after a while. But it is one of the most important last steps before sending off the application because as good as your credentials are, many recruiters will toss the cover letter and resume out upon the first error spotted. Reason being, failing to spell and grammar check indicates a lack of attention to detail and may even imply carelessness. Don’t let that be you.
Use Professional Layout and Format
For every item you submit to a potential employer, you should make sure to format and design the copy in a very professional, yet not common, way. Ideally, you should find a way to make it unique and memorable while keeping it organized, easy to read and succinct. When you write a cover letter, even if it is submitted over email, keep it formal, or at least formal enough to fit in with the company culture that is indicated by everything you’ve so far experienced about the company. If they are looking for someone fun and witty for instance, you want to illustrate some humor in your cover letter, but don’t confuse that with casual. Professionals should still be addressed as Ms. Or Mr. and though not crucial, you might want to format the letter like you would a printed business letter.
Use A Neutral, Professional Email Address
It might be a good idea to set up an email account in Gmail or Yahoo specifically for your employment needs. However, if you want to use your personal account, be sure to check your mail frequently and respond right away. The worst first impression would be to have the employer’s email bounce back to them declaring your mailbox is full. This does not show popularity to a recruiter; instead, a lack of dedication to the job search. Even if you have to send them a thank you letter, real brief, simply stating that you received their email and need time to figure out your schedule for a good interview appointment, doing so will at least show them you are on the ball and excited about their contact. It is crucial though, if you use email to send your cover letter and resume and to communicate with the recruiters, that you select an email account with a neutral screen name. You don’t want them to not take you seriously because your so-called professional email to them came from hotpants2006 or lindsay420_69. Once again, it is recommended anyway that you set up a work related account for free in Yahoo or Gmail.
If a recruiter contacts you on the phone to attempt to schedule an interview, chances are they will be subtly testing you a bit with this first live impression. Make sure your voicemail message is professional and not casual or conversational. You also want to keep it sounding warm and friendly though. As is also the case if they happen to reach you live. If you pick up the phone and it is unexpectedly a recruiter, by all means stop what you are doing otherwise, if you are able, and give them your undivided attention. If you do not think you can multitask efficiently (which means you can speak to the recruiter and not sound distracted) ask them if you can call them back in a set time frame. This way when you speak you can dedicate your power to this pseudo first interviewing session and encourage their enthusiasm to meet you in person. When you do anticipate an upcoming call from a recruiter, have your cover letter and resume near your phone so you can grab and refer to it during the telephone conversation, should they ask relevant questions.
Your cover letter and resume are often your first chance to show the recruiters why you are special and why your employment with them would be beneficial for all. Take time in producing these materials and send them with proper care. This will enable you to secure your dream job a lot easier than most who just fly through the process carelessly. Trust me, the extra time will be worth it.