15 5 / 2012
Applying en masse
This last weekend was a major push for me. Over the last few months, I’ve worked, reworked, started over, redesigned and repackaged more versions of my résumé than I care to count (if I was doing version control I’d probably be on v8.9.27).
I’m quickly learning the art of the cover letter. Should I always include one? I’ve always assumed that I should, but I think there’s a possibility that including one has hurt me at times. I’m thinking from the perspective of a busy recruiter. What if a recruiter only spends a minute looking at my application documents and spends most of it on my cover letter? That time is probably better spent going over my qualifications. Some jobs I have applied to are a great match to my experience—if I apply and I have the skills, I probably shouldn’t have included a cover letter. Some jobs are a stretch—I hadn’t served in the exact role for which I was applying, but am qualified based on overlapping/related experience—those jobs need a cover letter (or a streamlined résumé, or both). Some companies explicitly state that they want a cover letter (I also include one in the body of an email if I’m applying that way), but I’d appreciate companies letting me know up front that they won’t read my cover letter (it’d be a huge time saver!). Facebook only allows for one file upload with each application, so I’ve submitted for jobs differently: submitting for a job with a combined document (cover letter and résumé) and, for another job, skipping the cover letter entirely, allowing my experience to speak for itself.
My cover letter, when I do send it, is in this format:
<Greeting that also mentions job position>
<Bulleted list of my applicable experience>
<Some personal qualities that make me a good fit for this position>
<Exit that sounds pleasant and is a call to action; essentially asking them to read my résumé for more information and let’s talk soon>
<Full Name & Contact Info>
I admire one company that only allowed what they called an optional “cover blurb” limited to 140 characters. You’d think this would be difficult, but I found this to be absolutely freeing! They further impressed me by saying that “All applications receive a response.” This was refreshing since I have been utterly ignored by some companies (even a swift rejection is better than no response at all). It felt good to empty my application queue—it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I’m only applying to jobs I’d actually accept (as long as offered with a healthy work environment/culture and competitive salary/benefits). I’m hoping one of these opportunities comes through, but I can’t stop looking yet. I’ll be using Huntsy, Path.To, and SF Craigslist more than ever.
30 4 / 2012
YONOJ: You Only Need One Job
That’s what I keep telling myself. I’ve been submitting plenty of résumés, but nothing has come up… yet. You only need one job—YONOJ. I’ll make time for YOLO once this job search is over. The hunt continues!
I use LinkedIn to network with recruiters and connect with professional colleagues (who may have connections when they move on to new opportunities). I’ve become a fan of the recommendations feature lately. It feels great to give them and when you get an awesome one, it can really set you apart from other job candidates.
Path.To matches you to jobs based on your social network information (including LinkedIn), skills, and work environment preferences. It’s incredibly simple to use and it’s provided me leads that I haven’t found anywhere else! The only thing I’d change is allowing attachments when applying to jobs. I’ve spent a lot of time formatting my résumé and I’m unable to share it with the employer unless I click the “Apply via Company Website” button.
Craigslist is still a favorite. Easy to navigate, the search works perfectly (I use boolean operators to refine my search), and it’s an easy transaction… I find a job that interests me, I click the email link (usually, not always available), attach my cover letter (or compose it in email) and résumé and I’m done! No registration, no login, no job cart! Definitely not as customized to my preferences as Path.To, but enjoyable nonetheless.
And of course, my Huntsy account is ON FIRE tracking all of these jobs. It’s been a lifesaver. I can’t think of a time where I’ve had time to apply for a job the same time that I’ve seen it, so I’ve been using the +Huntsy bookmarklet incessantly. I enjoy the positive encouragement as I complete my daily to-dos. I can watch my progress move from red, to yellow, to green.
23 4 / 2012
Kareer.me is a web app for sharing custom, targeted résumés
I discovered Kareer.me on Twitter recently and I’m using it to share my résumé online (I’m also on LinkedIn, but that uses my real name). It’s the perfect tool to create custom résumés (shamless plug here). The UI is striking and it’s dead-simple to use! Whoever is running their Twitter account is pretty funny, too.
Some of my favorite features:
- Create multiple custom, targeted résumés
- Super fast and easy to update
- Optionally imports data from LinkedIn
- View counts for your résumés (I love this)
- Attach files and include your own pitch videos