Strong Cover Letters

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Do not hesitate to read Chapter 5 in The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators by Litwin. He stresses the opening paragraph that must be a hood — a hand that comes up out of the page and grabs the reader by the neck or some place else (usually the heart and soul will follow) and pulls her/him in. In addition, comes this advice from Kate Lopaze from thejobnetwork:

  • The opening: Avoid cliches (but follow Litwin’s advice on an opening graph that sets you apart from everyone else.
  • The pitch: Talk about yourself.
  • The closing: Finish strong and as Litwin advises, let the recipient know you will follow up via a phone call. That way, when the gatekeeper asks, “Is the person you are calling expecting your call,” you can honestly say yes, because you have alerted she or he that you will be following up.
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Importance of Staying Current

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From Kate Lopaze TheJobNetwork comes this advice for aging workers and Boomers.

  • Be open to change
  • Embrace your experience and edit as you progress
  • Always be open to learning
  • Be confident in who you are and the experience you have.

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Job Network’s 3 old-school relevant interview rules

thejobnetwork’s Kate Lopeze offers these suggestions. Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com

It’s easy to see how job interviews have changed over time: more email, less formality, pre-interviews with chatbots, Skype interviews, etc. What’s not so easy is determining which interview principles are just as valid and necessary as ever, even as you prepare to job hunt in a modern world. Let’s look at some of the evergreen tips that are just as helpful now as they were when your parents and grandparents were interviewing for jobs.

Wear a suit or your interview best

Many workplaces are going full-on casual these days. All the same, this shouldn’t affect how you dress for the interview. Even if you’re 95% sure your interviewer will be wearing jeans and a hoodie, you should still plan to wear your interview suit—or at the very least, an above-average, impeccably clean and tailored outfit. If you get the job, there will be plenty of time to dress like your new colleagues. However, when you’re interviewing you still want to project the most professional and put-together image possible.

No one will think you’re a nerd for overdressing, I promise. But if you underdress, you run the risk of seeming unserious or unprepared. Better over than under, in this case.

Print your resume

This one may seem archaic—you likely emailed your resume to the company in the first place, so who needs paper copies? It’s still a good habit to keep. The old-school idea that you need to print your resume on the finest paper stock you can afford is no longer a must-do, but bringing copies shows you’re thoughtful and organized. Sure, the person interviewing you may be reading your resume on a screen or may already have their own printout, but if they don’t happen to have your resume right in front of them, it’s an immediate point in your favor that you came prepared. It’s also a subtle hint about the well-prepared employee you’d be—ready for everything.

This also applies if you’re doing an on-screen presentation. Always bring a few printouts (for every person you know will be there, plus a couple of extras just in case). Handouts help people follow along and also serve as a reminder all about you afterward as they’re evaluating how the interview/presentation went.

Send a thank-you note

Do you know what else never goes out of style? Polite thank you notes. (Your parents and grandparents were right about that, but you don’t have to tell them so.) An email or a follow-up text technically fits that bill in this fast-paced digital world, but sending a handwritten (or typed and hand-signed, since not all of us were blessed with great handwriting) note to your interviewers is an eternally classy move. Or you can do both if you’re worried about seeming like an ungrateful procrastinator: the quick email sent the same day, and the more traditional note following thereafter.

It’s a nice touch, and not only makes sure that you’re back on the interviewer’s radar after you’ve left the office but also shows that you’re thoughtful and appreciative of the opportunity—this doesn’t need to be a retroactive sales pitch. A brief, on-point note that thanks people for taking the time to talk to you is likely to get a response along the lines of, “I knew I liked that guy for a reason!” There’s literally no downside to following up with a simple thank you note.

The job interview has changed so much over the past decade alone, and will likely continue to shift as the workplace and hiring in general grow and evolve. Still, despite all the outward changes, the basics of good taste and solid organization never go out of fashion.

Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com

Have you crafted your Elevator Speech/Applicant Statement for your resume’?

[larry@larrylitwin.com] The following is just one of nearly 300 tips and tecniques from Litwin ABCs of Strategic Communication

The Applicant or Summary is similar to an elevator speech – A strategic message (about 30 seconds – 75 words) with two or three key message points – that can be delivered quickly – even during an elevator ride. 

The “elevator pitch”is a short description about your company that you can convey in the time it takes to ride an elevator.And not an elevator in a skyscraper,either.Your elevator pitch must be clear and concise and show that you understand the core aspects of your business. 
Because it must be short,you have to decide what facets of your company to leave out.Often,these can be the things you’re most excited about – a new technology,a great location,outstanding customer service,etc. 

But if they’re not central to the core or success of your business, they don’t belong in an elevator pitch. 

You should touch – very briefly – on the products or services you sell,what market you serve,and your competitive advantage. 
You must be brief and clear.Unless you’re in a highly technical field,your neighbor or grandmother should be able to understand your business well enough to describe it to someone else.After all, you want grandma marketing for you too,don’t you? People you meet need to quickly understand the nature of your business if you want them to send business your way.
Make sure your employees,investors,even vendors know your company’s elevator pitch.Have your employees practice your company’s elevator pitch so they’re able to network for you as well. 
It’s often a good idea to use an analogy,especially if you’re in a new or difficult-to-grasp field. “We’re the Google for car buyers”is a good shorthand way to say that you’re trying to create a search engine for people wanting to purchase an automobile. Think in these terms (sort of like a mission statement):
 • This is who we are; 

• What we think about ourselves;

 • What we want to do; 

• Why we deserve your support 

You’ll find you use your elevator pitch often – in e-mails to prospective customers and investors,to introduce yourself at organizational meetings or when running into an old friend at a ballgame.Who knows? You may even use it if you meet a potential customer in an elevator. 
So go out and find a three-story building with an elevator,ride up and down and practice your pitch.That way,you’ll be prepared the next time some one asks you,“What do you do?”

[larry@larrylitwin.com]

Some issues ‘older’ workers face in the job hunt

[For more information write to larry@larrylitwin.com]

Thank you to Kate Lopaze of thejobnetwork.com. Read the entire story at its website.

  • You’re overqualified
  • We need someone tech savvy in this role
  • WE are looking for someone who can grow in this role
  • We are looking for a specialist
  • We just don’t have any senior-level openings

[For more information write to larry@larrylitwin.com]

More on resumes

Questions: Visit www.LarryLitwin.com or write larry@larrylitwin.com

  • More than one page is recommended unless you do not have sufficient experience and education to fill the space. Do not “pad” the content. You will be flagged (by H.R.) immediately.
  • Pick a flexible format. I like traditional. But now, there are many. Do not commit “vampire creativity. That’s where the format overwhelms the message — or sucks the blood out of it.
  • Edit, edit and edit some more. No grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax or sentence structure errors. Accuracy is paramount. Better writing through self edition. That’s what Professor Frank Grazian always taught his students — and I do, too.
  • “Tweak” the experience points.

Questions: Visit LarryLitwin.com or write larry@larrylitwin.com

4 questions to ask during YOUR job or internship interview

Kate Lopaz of the THEJOBNETWORK writes the follwing. Get her full story on line. Questions? mlarrylitwin@gmail.com.

  1. “How would you describe the culture here in the office and the workplace?”
  2. “What’s been your favorite part about working for this company?”
  3. “What experience best prepared you for working here?”
  4. “How would you describe the leadership style here?”

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Questions? mlarrylitwin@gmail.com