Three Reasons to Let a Professional Create Your New Résumé

new résuméOne of the first things most people do when jumping into the job search melee is to obtain a résumé and related career materials, such as cover letters and a LinkedIn profile. This might mean sitting down in front of a computer to create a new résumé yourself or having it done by a professional résumé writer.

So is it better to do the résumé yourself or is it best to have someone else do it for you?

Here are three reasons to let a professional complete your new résumé for you.

Good Writers do not Necessarily Make Good Résumé Writers.

Although you might feel very comfortable with your ability to create well-written documents, there are aspects to résumé writing that do not necessarily come naturally; they have to be learned. For example, how do you find a balance between substance and wordiness or how to you create an opening summary section that will interest people enough to read your entire résumé?

Virtually all professional résumé writers are certified from one of several recognized sources within the industry. They also have varying degrees of experience, but it does mean that they understand at least the basics of how to create a professional résumé document that will attract employers. A person wanting to create his or her own résumé probably do not have this background which creates a disadvantage in navigating the job market.

Self-promotion Comes Hard to Most People.

People are taught from an early age that bragging is bad and that they need to avoid seeming overconfident or arrogant. This message becomes a roadblock when trying to do a résumé yourself.

It is usually fairly easy to tell when someone has created their own résumé because of the lack of depth in regard to accomplishments or the use of targeted keywords that employers like to see. Over promoting yourself by making claims that are not true or that are exaggerated will be compromising in the long run. However, crafting a résumé that is articulate and compelling in demonstrating your prowess as an employee is fair game and critical to your success.

People Often can not See the “Forest for the Trees” When Writing about Themselves.

It is very difficult to sit down and create a résumé and other career documents that provide a compelling “big picture” of what you have to offer. You are too close to the material to really get a feel for how your background and experience fit with what an employer is seeking.

People who create their own résumés make the mistake of trying to just think about all of the things they have to offer rather than talking to someone about their backgrounds or even brainstorming and writing the information down. This act of documenting and processing information that might be compelling to employers is essential to making the best impact possible.

Trained professional résumé writers understand what questions to ask—either verbally or in writing—to gather the information needed for a dynamic new résumé. Although they do not have your perspective on your own experience and abilities, they do have the training needed to identify and effectively present your “big picture” offerings, including targeted accomplishments.

Conclusion

Professional résumé writers are not all the same. They can vary greatly in experience, writing skill, and overall understanding of how best to present your information to prospective employers. Many résumé writers can also offer guidance and support on productive job search strategies and even career planning.

The level of a résumé writer’s knowledge and skill is usually reflected in the résumé cost and service availability. It is best to research the background and capabilities of a professional résumé writer before plunging forward with the service. Check out the websites for the various organizations that certify résumé writers. You can also review writers’ websites and speak to them directly about what they can offer. This will definitely help your job search!

Google For Jobs Will Change Your Job Search Experience—For the Better

google for jobs - reducedThis week, Google officially launched its newest feature, which allows job seekers across all skill levels and industries to connect with jobs and employers. The goal of the platform is to bridge the gap between jobs seekers and employers.

As stated in the article put out by Google regarding the platform, job seekers often have to use multiple resources, such as websites, newspapers, and the old school “help wanted” signs, to find job opportunities and meanwhile a staggering 46% of the country’s employers are facing a shortage of talent.

Google’s new platform is structured as a one-stop-shop where seekers have access to as many job opportunities as possible and employers can reach the widest audience possible. Whether you’re looking for a career change or a college student on the hunt for a full-time gig, Google for Jobs has it all.

Here’s what sets the new service apart from other online job search sites:

Ultimate Customization

Interested in commute time and working hours as well as reviews on the company? Google for Jobs makes it possible to see everything in one place. You can search for a specific job title like “Account Manager” or search something more generic like “sales jobs in my area.” Google will provide you a comprehensive list that also includes information like work schedule options and reviews of the company if they’re available.

Real Time Updates

Keeping up with market changes, like when a new job is posted in your area of interest can be time consuming. Usually, you have to search the terms over and over to get the most updated list of job posts, but this isn’t so with Google.

The new platform gives you the option to set customized alerts on your mobile device so you can receive updates every time a new job is posted based on your search criteria.

A True One-Stop Shop

Google is working with job search heavyweights like LinkedIn, WayUp, and Career Builder to make sure those that use the new service have access to all the jobs posted in one place. No more hopping from one job site to the next to find jobs in your area of expertise.

Additionally, Google is working with employers directly, which means you’ll have first access to the jobs these organizations post, rather than relying on the job search website to scour the Internet and find postings that might be a day or two (or longer) old.

Job Search as Unique as the Seeker

Google’s primary goal in creating this platform is to integrate the human side back into the job search. Before the days of the Internet, jobs were obtained by walking into an organization and asking if they were hiring or through word of mouth. Face-to-face interaction was the primary way to find a job.

With the Internet, that personalized touch is no longer part of the process. Google wants to bring it back. The platform realizes not every job is for everybody. Though the title of the position might sound right, job seekers often find that the description or the company culture isn’t right.

In an effort to help job seekers connect to the right job, Google’s new platform integrates a plethora of filters so seekers can find the right fit.  This also helps companies with turnover since so many employers often aren’t filling their positions with the right candidate.

Overall, the new platform looks like it will be the most intuitive and time saving to date. It’s a win-win for job seekers and employers alike, and one more notch in Google’s belt when it comes to Internet take-over. Once you give it a try, let us know what you think!

 

Mastering the Art of Quitting Your Job

Quitting Your Job

Quitting your job can be a very uncomfortable thing to do.

However, the days of holding onto a job for many years—even decades—are long gone. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that people, on average, change jobs an average of approximately 12 times during their careers with millennials doing so at a greater rate than baby boomers or Gen Xers.

While the decision to change jobs may not be as unusual as in previous decades, it can still have a significant impact on your professional and personal life. For this reason, the decision needs to be planned carefully.

Here are 5 things to do when quitting your job.

Proper Planning is Critical.

It may be tempting to move forward quickly once the decision has been made to quit your job. However, taking the time and effort to plan out the process will pay important dividends. This can include analyzing your finances and, if no new job is insight, determining how long you can support yourself with no or reduced income. Can you hold onto the job until finding a new one? If so, this is definitely the best approach to take. If not, then be sure to think through the short- and long-term consequences before acting.

Don’t Quit Your Job When Upset or Angry.

One of the worst things you can do is quit your job when under stress or after a specific incident that is not an indication of an ongoing trend. Quitting your job will relieve short-term anxiety, but create long-term problems. If upset, take the time to calm down and think through the issues before acting. It is never a good idea to make important decisions when driven by emotions and quitting your job is no exception.

Remain Respectful to People at Work.

Movies and other media are full of examples of people quitting their jobs in humorous ways—making the boss look like a fool, disrespecting co-workers, etc. While this makes for good entertainment, it does not make for successful job transition.

It is essential to think long-term when quitting your job. References are important in landing a new job and exhibiting boorish behavior will travel through the grapevine and possibly hurt you later on (often when you least expect it). Respect the feelings of supervisors, co-workers, and customers, etc.  and avoid the temptation to settle scores.

Write a Letter of Resignation Following Company Guidelines and Proper Protocol.

A letter of resignation is usually expected and is a good way to document your intentions. Find out who needs to receive the letter and make sure to follow the rules. There is no reason to alienate a supervisor, HR staffer, or other stakeholder by not distributing the letter properly.

In general, it is best to keep the letter short, respectful, and to the point. Include an end date and short description of why you are resigning.

Waxing eloquently about your desires and frustrations in your resignation letter is not a good idea. If you do have serious concerns about how the company operates, treats staff, etc., try to schedule an exit interview with HR to air those concerns.

Be Very Cautious about Attempts to Keep You in Your Job.

Supervisors or managers will often make the effort to dissuade you from quitting your job. This is certainly ego-fulfilling since it suggests that you are a good employee. However, offers like this are often done in a panic because of the burden of having to fill your role quickly.

When you quit your job, you are in a position of power. However, if you accept the opportunity to remain, your employer will eventually have the upper hand after having the time to plan for your departure. Employees considered to be flight risks are often not trusted by those in authority which could become compromising.

Conclusion

Job transitions have become the norm in our fast-paced society, but it is critical to use careful planning and execution in quitting your job. Take the time required to complete the process with grace and respect to avoid long-term repercussions.

We would love to hear examples of successful and problematic job resignations from our readers.

How to Proactively Research Potential Employers

research #2

 
One of the main ways you learn about whether or not a company is right for you is through research. Typically, you look at their website, check out reviews on Glassdoor, or ask friends what they think about the company. You typically research salary information, take a look at their mission or vision statements, and use their job postings as a gauge when deciding whether or not to apply.

Companies typically have a reputation within the community so this is another great way to determine if you would fit in well there. But what if there was more? What if you could get a more personal look at the inner workings of a company before you applied?

You can. Thanks to today’s global community, which is saturated with technology, reaching out and getting direct feedback is possible. Here are a couple ways you can actively research a company:

Reaching out on social media

Community engagement and customer service are top priorities at most establishments, and many companies have realized social media is a great place to interact. First, follow their accounts and scroll through the feeds to see what they’ve been posting.

Have a question about company culture or customer service? Reach out directly on social media. Post on their Facebook wall, send them a Tweet, or Direct Message them on Instagram. Most companies have someone monitoring social media accounts so you should receive a response. And if you don’t? The non-response itself tells you a little about the company.

Recruiters

Recruiters are basically paid to sell you on a company, but they’re also a wealth of information. If you have any questions, look to see if a company has a recruiter on LinkedIn, and reach out to connect. Once connected, ask away! Recruiters, since they are trying to help a company fill positions, are usually happy to help, especially if they think you might be interested in a job.

Since they know the company well, talking to one might also give you insight into other positions or departments you might be a good fit for that you would not have otherwise considered.

Reaching Out Directly

Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to a company to ask your questions. Reaching out can be as simple as an email to someone in HR letting him or her know you’re interested in the company and have some questions.

You can also pick up the phone and call to see if someone has time to speak with you. Another way to reach out is to see if you are somehow connected to someone in the company on LinkedIn. If one of your connections is also connected to someone in the company you’re interested in, you can ask for an introduction. From there, you can strike up a conversation with that person and see if they are available to meet with you.

This kind of investigative research will provide you with more insight than just looking at the company’s website. You’ll be able to interact with the employer directly, which provides a more realistic viewpoint of the company’s culture.

5 Questions Candidates Need to Ask during a Job Interview

Job Search Tampa Bay AreaA lot of attention is paid to the importance of being prepared for the questions asked of you during a job interview. And for good reason because the way you respond to these questions can make a huge difference in your ability to land the job.

An aspect of the job interview that is not focused on as much is the importance of the applicant asking good questions of the interviewer(s). Most interviewers welcome questions from applicants, but it is important to use the time wisely by asking the right questions. Doing so demonstrates interest and engagement in the position, while also providing an opportunity to determine if the job is a good match for you.

Here are five good questions candidates can ask during a job interview.

Can you give me a better idea of what the job entails and how it fits with the organizational mission?

Drill down a bit deeper to learn more about the job duties, responsibilities, and opportunities.

Undoubtedly, you will already have basic information regarding the job from the announcement and from feedback provided during the interview.  However, show genuine interest in the job by asking for more in-depth information. Ask for a description of the daily routine, projects you might be asked to work on, and the people you will be collaborating with.

Can you tell me more about the organization’s culture and what I would need to do to fit in?

This question is very useful because it is important that an organization’s work environment fits your personality, values, and preferences. If you are team-driven, will the organization provide opportunities for collaboration with others? If you prefer to work alone, will you be required to work within a team?

Asking what you would need to do to be successful within the organization shows a bit of humility and flexibility. After all, organizations rarely adapt to the work preferences of job candidates.

What training will be offered as part of the job and will there be any opportunities for professional development?

It is best to frame this question as an attempt to get a better idea of what additional skills you may need to excel at the new job. You can also ask how the job will most likely evolve over the next 5 years and what additional skills will you need to keep pace.

Many organizations take pride in the professional development opportunities offered to staff. If this is important to you, try to learn more about the organization’s commitment to staff development.

Why do you like working for the organization?

It can often be very helpful to build some rapport with the interviewer by asking her what she likes best about the organization. The purpose of the question is not to make the interviewer uncomfortable but, instead, to let he know that you value her opinion and feedback.

However, if the interviewer refuses to answer or tries to change the subject, move on to a different question. In cases like this, the interviewer’s unwillingness to engage may be a red flag regarding the organization or the position.

What is the hiring process from this point on?

Ask for information on the timeline for the hiring decision, whether or not there will be a second interview, how will you be notified of the need for more information or the decision, etc. Again, this question shows a genuine desire to secure the job and commitment to their hiring process. It is also a reasonable attempt on your part to better understand how the process will proceed.

Conclusion

It is never a good idea of bring up salary and benefits until the very end of the job interview if at all. Salary and benefit negotiations are usually conducted during a second interview or at least separately from the initial interview. Although tempting, do not rush into this discussion until the interviewer seems ready and willing to address these issue.

Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with determining if a job and the organization meet your expectations.  There is no worse time in discovering that the job and/or organization is not a good fit for you then when you have already committed yourself to it.

The Many Resources Provided by CareerSource Tampa Bay and Pinellas for Job Seekers

Job Search Tampa Bay

 
The job hunt can feel daunting and sometimes lonely, but it doesn’t have to. In Florida’s Tampa Bay Area, we’re afforded many resources and opportunities, one of which is CareerSource. With offices across the Tampa Bay Area, CareerSource Tampa Bay and Pinellas arm job seekers with a diverse toolbox.

Here are some of the services offered through the establishment:

Job Search 101

On the CareerSource Tampa Bay website, job seekers have access to a set of instruction videos designed to teach the art of the job search. From Career Path Planning to Networking and Job Search Mistakes to Transitioning Careers, these video tutorials cover every aspect of the job search.

CareerSource Pinellas also includes these video tutorials.

Employ Florida Access

Both CareerSource Tampa Bay and Pinellas include a link to Employ Florida, an online database of current jobs available in the state. On the Pinellas page, job seekers can access Employ Florida’s different sections, which includes a specific page for those seeking jobs in environmentally friendly sectors, veterans, one for persons with disabilities, and another for job seekers over the age of 50.

Skills Training

The Tampa offices offer weekly skills training at no cost to the job seeker. Courses include basic computer skills, financial literacy, career mapping, job search computers skills, and many more. Each Tampa location has a schedule posted on the website. Interested parties need only email the appropriate center with some contact information and the workshop they’re interested in.

Career Fairs and Recruitment Events

One of the best ways to physically get in front of hiring mangers is at career fairs. Both CareerSource Tampa Bay and Pinellas provide information on upcoming career fairs they host. They both provide helpful hints and tips for preparing for and getting the most out of the job fair experience.

The Tampa Bay locations provide access to recruitment events for in-demand opportunities. These opportunities include trades like HVAC, substitute teaching, food service workers, and call center representatives. Job seekers can access a full listing of upcoming recruitment events here.

One on One Support

CareerSource Pinellas and Tampa Bay both have physical locations across the Bay Area where job seekers can fill out applications on provided computers, work with someone on their résumé, complete training, and simply ask questions if needed.  These in-person resources are provided free of charge.

This is only a small snippet of the offerings available to the underemployed and unemployed in the Tampa Bay Area. CareerSource Tampa Bay and Pinellas have a wealth of resources for veterans, workers with disabilities, and students as well. For a full listing, visit one of the many area facilities or the CareerSource websites.

Navigate a Successful Career Change through Careful Management

Career Change

 
The decision to make a career change can be simultaneously scary and exhilarating. In most cases, careers and jobs make up an important part of people’s identify and self-worth, not to mention their ability to produce a living wage. So taking the plunge into a career change is not a decision to take lightly.

So how often do people change careers? There is no solid number available, although career professionals often use Bureau of Labor statistics to cite an average of 5 to 7 career changes during a work lifetime. However, others challenge this contention.

Whatever the number of career changes, each one produces consequences—potentially positive and/or negative—so must be addressed carefully. Please note that the number of career changes does not correspond to the number of job changes. Many people change jobs—quite often in many cases—but choose to remain in the same career path. In addition, people often change careers within an organization without becoming part of the job search market.

Here are 3 ways to effectively manage your career change to maximize success, while minimizing major disruption.

Ask the “Why” Question.

It may be tempting to plunge forward with a career change without knowing specifically why you want to do it. This is a potentially fatal error because the steps taken to execute the career change are usually closely related (or should be) to the reason why. Do you want more money, less stress, more creativity, and/or different and more challenging work responsibilities? Whatever the reason, take the time to determine what is fueling the need for a career change.

Gain a Better Understanding of Your Talents, Interests, and Motivations.

If you want to transition, for example, from an accountant to a sales manager career path, ask yourself if this is achievable and what background and experience you have—or can get—that will maximize your chances for success. Brainstorming with people you trust and then writing down the results can be quite helpful in this regard.

Using a career professional to determine and discuss personality traits or job-related interests can often be a great way to examine a change in career path.

The MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality inventory used to help a client choose the right career through use of Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. Another assessment, Strong Interest Inventory, is an empirically-based and time-tested tool for measuring people’s interests and how they related to occupational characteristics and environments.

Often these assessments are used together to help people gain a better understanding of their match with various career paths.

Identify the Steps Needed to Make the Career Change.

A career is no different than a job search campaign in that proper planning is key to success. Create a written plan that has numerous milestones that determine progress, along with reasonable timeframe expectations. Also, incorporate an evaluation framework where the plan can be reviewed regularly and adjustments made based on changing circumstances, opportunities, or challenges.

Conclusion

The stress level of most people will go up in relation to the control they feel of their circumstances and environment. This is certainly true of career change. Proper management is the best ingredient for producing a successful career change because it enables you to make decisions based on research, facts, and an evaluation of alternatives.

Finding Consistent Work as a Freelancer

Freelance work

 
The freelance life looks like the perfect balance of work and freedom. Freelancers can make their own schedules, determine how many hours they want to work, and they can work from just about anywhere, thanks to modern technology.

The lifestyle isn’t all glitz and glamour though. Freelancers can have a hard time transitioning out of work mode and into leisure mode, meaning working a little here and there turns into working around the clock. One of the most challenging aspects of the freelance life is finding consistent work.

Freelancers are often in a state of feast or famine when it comes to income. This can be avoided, though, with a few tricks. Here are some well-tested ways freelancers, no matter the profession, can find work:

Consistent Marketing

Marketing is easily 90% of a freelancer’s business; the problem is not many of them realize this. Generally, freelancers hate the idea of marketing themselves. It seems too much like sales and takes away from the work—the photography or graphic design or writing—they’d rather be doing.

In order to do this work and profit from it, though, you have to have clientele. And clients come from marketing. Here are some ways to market your services:

  • Make a list of local businesses that could use your services and send an email
  • Leave business cards in businesses around town
  • Use social media to connect with prospective clients and reach out through those channels
  • Tell everyone (literally everyone) what you do—you never know who could be looking for the service you provide

Consistency with marketing is the key to finding consistent work. Even when you’re bringing in great income, keep marketing. This can help minimize the periods of limited income.

The LOI

Another great way to market yourself is the Letter of Inquiry (LOI). This short, informative letter introduces you and your services to the businesses (or people) you send it to. LOIs should be personalized and concise. They are a popular way for freelancers to find work.

Networking Events

Though daunting to some, in-person networking events are a great way to meet area professionals who might make use of your work. You can find a meet-up group, local LinkedIn group, or local professional group with a simple Internet search.

Join a Group of Your Peers

Are you a writer? Find a local or online community of your peers to join. Learning from other freelancers in your niche is one of the best ways to find out about jobs, current rates, and learn about methods you might use to sign new clients.

Joining a group of your peers is also a great way to stay accountable and make friends who understand how the freelance life works, as it is markedly different from the traditional workforce.

Are you a freelancer? What methods do you use to find work?

Managing Your Money during a Job Search Campaign

There are few things more stressful than a job search when you are unemployed. While unemployment compensation can help, it rarely—if ever—covers the full range of living expenses faced by people looking for work opportunities.

We live in a society where most people do not necessarily have large revenue reserves to fall back on and debt is common and accepted. This may be fine during times of full employment, but not after a devastating job loss when money becomes tight and must be well-managed. There is little room for error when having to find ways to make ends meet until you find new employment.

So what can you do to remain afloat financially while executing a job search campaign?

Minimize the outflow of financial resources

Proper budgeting is never as important as when having very limited, if any, money coming in monthly. Use a critical eye in evaluating all monthly expenses and decide what is or is not essential or that is discretionary, such as eating meals at restaurants or going to movies and other entertainment.

Reduce or eliminate all nonessential expenses. It is also possible to contact mortgage, auto, or credit card lenders to negotiate temporary payment arrangements. Most lenders will show some flexibility, especially when faced with an unemployed creditor about to default on a loan. There are nonprofit debt consolidation services available to help with this process. Just make sure to ask the right questions when considering this option.

Maximize the Inflow of Financial Resources

Unemployment compensation needs to be secured if the situation warrants it. This is often seen as a “hand-out” to be avoided. However, unemployment compensation is covered through payroll taxes and there is no dishonor in applying for coverage when in need.

Seek out short-term loans from family and friends. Again, a bit awkward, but could produce a temporary life line while looking for work. Also, tapping into savings may be on the list of things to do, as well as IRA plans and even pensions which often carry significant penalties and diminish retirement funds needed for later in life.

Part-time work is an important way to help make ends meet. However, keep in mind that income from part-time employment may impact the payout of unemployment benefits.

Make Careful, Well-informed Decisions about Job Search Campaign Spending

Dealing with high stress is never a good time to make money decisions because critical mistakes can be made that have a negative impact for several years in the future. Facing the prospect of unemployment with no quick solutions in sight may affect decision making, so it is best to take a deep breath and resist any temptation to make major money decisions.

There are a plethora of services available online that promise to create a dynamic, comprehensive job search campaign, complete with a resume, cover letter options, LinkedIn profile, and other materials, as well an effort to blast your resume to job boards worldwide. While many if not most of these services are legitimate, many others are highly questionable. Always be wary of any service that guarantees a high paying job in a short amount of time.

Take Advantage of Income Tax Deductions

There are many expenses related to a job search that are considered to be deductible by the IRS. Costs related to résumé creation, agency fees, travel, and other expenses are often deductible, but it is very important to do some research or ask your tax accountant to see if you qualify. For example, people changing careers, looking for work for the first time, or waiting a long period of time before beginning the job search may not be eligible.

A job search campaign can be challenging for any number of reasons and pressure from a lack of money to live on will just make it worse. However, with proper research, planning, and decision making, money issues can be managed, at least until you find new employment.

An Unconventional Approach to the Job Search: Sending Letters of Introduction (LOI)

Unconventional_LOI
 
It’s happened to all of us. We spend hours on the web applying to jobs, day in and day out, and receive no response. At some point, we start to feel like we’ll never get anywhere and long for the days of face-to-face interaction. The digital world can make looking for a job a lonely process.

Changing up how we go about the job search is sometimes necessary to renew our zeal. Maybe, switch to using social media to find a job. Maybe grow your professional brand for a while and put the job search down.

Or, you could try a completely unconventional method that is growing in popularity within the marketplace: the Letter of Introduction or LOI. Once reserved for the freelance community, the LOI could prove a useful tool in your job search efforts.

When to use an LOI

Not all scenarios are appropriate to use an LOI. Use the following scenarios to stay within LOI best practices:

  • When you have a contact person- when you know someone at the company you’re interested in applying to, or when you’ve met someone through marketing, sending a short LOI is acceptable. It will help keep your name in the forefront of that person’s mind. You can ask them to send your LOI to the appropriate party, or you can reach out to them and ask for contact information for a hiring manager so you can send the LOI directly to that person.
  • When you pitch a newer company– many newer companies are open to receiving these letters of inquiry. In fact, an LOI rather than a standard application oftentimes sets candidates apart in this scenario. Millennial-operated establishments, tech companies, and several other progressive industries are generally open to receiving LOIs.
  • When the company has a “pitch your dream job” call to action– several sites with an online job page have a link at the end of the page that gives a candidate an open-ended application process. They’ll say something like “pitch your dream job” or “don’t see what you’re looking for? Tell us about yourself.” This means the company is open to learning about how your skills and expertise can enhance their operation. Though they may not have your position listed, they’re open to hearing about why and how you could help their company succeed.
  • When using LinkedIn- since LinkedIn is the professional social media site, it is perfectly acceptable to send a brief LOI to your contacts or using InMail. It is also appropriate to ask your connections to “introduce” you to people on LinkedIn. Let’s say you want to connect with a hiring manager, and you notice someone you’re connected with is connected to that manager. You can ask that person to introduce you to the hiring manager. It’s like a virtual referral.

Why choose this method

  • It’s like a personal introduction– though unconventional; the LOI approach is like a digital handshake. You’re telling someone about yourself and allowing them to decide if they want to proceed with a conversation.
  • You could bypass the dreaded resume pile– reaching out directly to the hiring manager and bypassing the digital application process could mean you bypass the resume pile all together. Progressive industries and companies might be looking for that kind of gusto in a candidate, which automatically sets you apart.

How to craft an LOI

Short and sweet is key. You never want an LOI to exceed one page, and you want to keep it even shorter than that if possible.

  • Intro—have a name. You want to avoid addressing this to “the hiring team” or “department manager.” Do a little research so you have a name.
  • Body—the first paragraph should show you did some research on the company, and you can then transition into how your skills and background can be an asset to the company.
  • Conclusion—here is where you include a call to action. In the freelance world, a call to action is something like “can I write you a test post?” or “can I send you some samples?” You can do the same in the business world. Your call to action can be something like, “Can we set up a time to chat further about your business needs?” or “Can I send you a resume to look over?” Whatever it is, you want to put the ball in their court to incite a response.

The LOI might feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning, but it could be the change you need to re-invigorate your job search. Is this method something you’ll consider trying? Why or why not?