How to Write Great Cover Letters

You have an impressive resume, you know how to present yourself well in an interview, you know what kind of position you are best suited for. . .now all you need is a chance to get your foot in the right door. Just what can you do to make that happe How to Write Great Cover Letters You have an impressive resume, you know how to present yourself well in an interview, you know what kind of position you are best suited for. . .now all you need is a chance to get your foot in the right door. Just what can you do to make that happen? Make sure you write a knockout cover letter, advise career planning specialists. “A cover letter is your chance to explain to an employer why he or she should consider you for the job,” says Jennie Z. Rothschild, Ph.D., executive director of Jewish Vocational Service on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville. “The best cover letters are specific and give examples that directly relate to the job you are trying to get.””Your cover letter is a targeted sales tool which should be tailored to the specific position you are seeking,” adds Ann Harrell of the Johns Hopkins University Career and Life Planning Center on Alexander Bell Drive in Columbia. The cover letter is also a good opportunity to show potential employers your writing skills, says Jennie Rothschild, and for those job-seekers whose native language is not English, a chance to show that you are comfortable with the language. Whatever your writing and language skills are, though, make sure that your letter has no mistakes. “Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!” emphasizes Ann Harrell. A cover letter, like most business correspondence, says Ms. Rothschild, has three basic parts:...

The Salary Interview Question

“What salary are you looking for?” Career advisors say this is the interview question that makes job applicants squirm in their chairs. The Salary Interview Question “What salary are you looking for?” Career advisors say this is the interview question that makes job applicants squirm in their chairs. Small wonder. Most of us aren’t comfortable talking about incomes. We have been taught it’s not polite to ask people how much they paid for something or how much money they make. But in a job interview, it can be a make or break question. You need to cut the best deal you can without sounding too greedy or pricing yourself out of the market. So what do you say? Career advisors suggest that you try to get the interviewer to give you an idea of the salary range the company would consider before you commit yourself. Having tried this myself, I’m not sure I agree. The problem is that it’s in the company’s interest to get you as cheaply as possible, so if you are given a range, it’s likely to be on the low side. Unless companies are in a bidding war over your unique credentials, the interviewer will not worry about setting a range too low to interest you. After all, if you find the salary unattractive, you’ll be expected to make the case for a higher one, and if the company can’t agree to your salary demands there are other qualified applicants who might come in lower. The need to ask for more than has been offered puts you on the defensive, a position that leaves many job- seekers uncomfortable. If you are one of those, then state your own salary expectations before you ask for the...

Resume Tips for MBAs

A great resume is not just a complete list of employment and education. . . it’s got to be a selling document Resume Tips “A great resume is not just a complete list of employment and education. . . it’s got to be a selling document,” says Kathryn Troutman, president of The Resume Place in Catonsville and author of the Federal Resume Guidebook. “Your resume needs to make very clear that you are highly skilled and an excellent candidate for their position, with energy and enthusiasm for your career,” Ms. Troutman adds. “A resume is like a snapshot,” agrees Nancy Leaderman, one of two resume specialists (along with Debra Varron) at The Associated’s Jewish Vocational Service, which offers a full range of employment counseling and programs, including resume preparation and job-seeking workshops. “You wouldn’t have a picture of yourself taken without combing your hair, putting on lipstick, or whatever it takes to make yourself look as attractive as possible. It’s the same thing with a resume. . .this is your first impression.” In terms of the visual appeal of a resume, says Ms. Leaderman, a resume produced on a laser printer makes a big difference. “A good dot matrix printer used to be all right,” she observes, “but with the availability of computers so widespread now, a laser printer is really the way to go.” Ms. Leaderman admits that the way a resume looks can be tied to the field the job seeker is exploring. “I think of resumes as akin to professional dressing,” she observes. “A resume for the banking industry might certainly look different from a resume for the advertising industry. “In more conservative areas,” Ms. Leaderman notes, “you won’t waver from 12-point black ink on white...