JOB SEARCH MATERIALS Making Yourself the Ideal Job Candidate Contents • Application (cover) letters • Résumés: traditional, scanned, web • Follow-up letters: no fault, thank you, accept, refuse, stall Application (Cover) Letter • Purpose: persuade your audience to move you onto the next step of the job search process • Tone: project self-confidence and maturity; do not be apologetic, timid, stuffy, or arrogant • Homework: learn something about the company that you can mention in the letter. Can you tie your qualifications to what you learned or the way you might benefit the company? Format • Letter conventions: heading, inside address, salutation, complimentary close, end notations • Single spacing • Introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs • Letter length-- one page (entry level job) Letter Format • Heading: your address; city, state, zip code; date • Inside address: audience name and job title, company name, address, city, state, zip • Salutation or attention line • Body of letter • Complimentary close, signature block • End notations Specifics • Use an attention line when you don’t have a specific person to address – Ex. Attention: Human Resources Department • Choose a traditional complimentary closing – Sincerely yours, – Very truly yours, – Respectfully yours, Specifics 2 • End notations – Signature block: typed name four lines below complimentary closing phrase with space for signature – Enclosure: can include name or type of enclosure. Use the entire word or abbreviate. – Ex. • Enclosure: résumé • Encl. Types of formats • Block style: all parts of letter start on left margin • Semi-block style: heading, complimentary close, signature block flush right margin; all other parts on left margin • Single space within paragraph, skip line after each paragraph Heading and Inside Address Example • 4912 Starsplit Way • Gwynn Oak, MD 21207 • November 28, 2006 • • • • Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President UMBC 1000 Hilltop Circle Catonsville, MD 21250 • Dear Dr. Hrabowski: Complimentary Close, etc. Example • Sincerely yours, • Mattias Cowpens • Enclosure: résumé Introduction (paragraph 1) • Begin by stating purpose (cold contact or advertised position) • Tell how you learned about job – Name drop if applicable – Include specifics: name of newspaper, date you saw ad, job title • Describe self here or at start of body – Tell name, student status, major/degree. Can include reference to research on company. Body (paragraph 2-3) • Discuss work and education experience, one paragraph each – For education, include specifics about work done in classes. Class titles without supporting specifics won’t tell your audience much about you. – For job, include specifics about duties, accomplishments, rewards, promotions Details • Education example – In my technical writing course, I designed a web site and worked on a collaborative manual on using Front Page. • Job example – During my 4 years of IT experience, I have spent time as a Level I Help Desk Specialist, providing end-user support via telephone, email, and the Remedy system. Conclusion (paragraph 4) • Ask for action from audience: an interview • Give contact information – E-mail address – Landline phone number(s) (mention answering machine or voice mail) – Cell phone number • End all letters with a courteous closing sentence – Ex. Thank you for your assistance. Traditional Résumé • Major categories: personal data, education, work experience, references (almost optional) • Optional categories: job objective, computer/professional skills, organizations, awards, publications, interests, military experience, extracurricular activities • Order: personal first and references last. All other categories organized by importance. Personal Data • List name, address(es), phone number(s), e-mail address(es), website URL. For online résumé, don’t list address and phone numbers. • Do not include marital status, race, ethnic group, health, date and place of birth, age Education • Reverse chronological order-- list current school first and work backwards • School name, dates of attendance (if no large gaps), major/minor/certificate, GPA (3.0+), courses, internships, awards • High school information not needed Work Experience • Job title, company name, city, state, zip, dates of employment • Job duties • Verb phrases best for describing duties (present tense=current job, past tense= former job) • Descriptive action verbs: administer, analyze, conduct, create, design, develop, direct, edit, evaluate, manage, operate, organize, supervise, write References • Use phrase “Available upon request” if out of space, or omit this category if you don’t have a list of references. • Always ask before listing someone as reference. • Give name, job title, company address and phone number for each person. • Do not give personal address/phone. Optional Categories • Job objective: neither too specific nor too general • Computer skills: use separate sub categories-applications, languages, platforms, operating systems, etc. (must include) • Honors, awards, publications: brag if you can • Organizations: include offices held Functional Résumé • Emphasizes skills and strengths before specific jobs • Works better than chronological if there are gaps in history • Use headings for skills, expertise, or roles • Include descriptions of abilities in each section • Can be problematic if employers can’t match skills and jobs Functional Résumé 2 • Education and work categories placed after functional sections – Other items that show your abilities may fit in these sections • Job descriptions appear in functional section, rather than in the employment section • Sample Functional Résumé • Functional Résumé Template Scanned Résumé • Can send both traditional and electronic • Begin all categories on left margin, one column only • Name, address, phone number • Keywords: to identify job titles, job related tasks, skills or special knowledge, degrees, certifications, colleges. Use terms from ad. Scanned Résumé 2 • Paper and typeface: smooth white paper, black ink, simple fonts (use only one font) like Courier or Times Roman as long as letters don’t touch. • Don’t use: graphics, shading, script fonts, italics, underlining, bold, horizontal or vertical lines, parentheses, brackets, abbreviations. • Don’t fold or staple pages. Send in a 9x12 mailing envelope. Scanned Résumés 3 • Don’t use: compressed lines of text, tabs, dot matrix printers • Do use: wide margins around text, 8.5”x11” paper. • Send an original, not a photocopy • Mail, don’t fax WWW Résumé • Definition: résumé that contains clickable text and images created in HTML • Hyperlinks: – establish at start of résumé to link to important categories – should support data, not distract viewer – should aid in navigating through résumé WWW Résumé 2 • Should be one web page long • Provide prioritized keyword summary, 25-35 keywords • Only list e-mail address in personal section as contact information for security • Use a variety of internal links • Keep design simple • Register résumé with search engines • Choose most appropriate résumé for you from these types: traditional, scanned, web Follow-up Letters • Several types fit search situations • Companies use them as invisible obstacle to narrow applicant pool • One type chosen for this assignment No Fault Letter • No response to initial mailing • “No fault” approach – ex. Because something might have happened to my original letter, I am enclosing another copy of my letter and résumé. • 2 paragraphs long • Final paragraph asks for notice of decision, positive or negative as well as contact information • Don’t forget the courteous closing sentence. Thank You Letter • Thank you for the interview • Say thanks and something flattering about the company-- ¶ 1 • Repeat a qualification that was impressive or give an answer that you couldn’t think of at the time; remind audience about your strengths-- ¶ 2 • Close with contact information, hope for continued participation, and courteous closing sentence-- ¶ 3 Acceptance Letter • Job acceptance = direct approach • Say yes and thank you-- ¶ 1 • Schedule interview, meeting, medical exam, etc.– respond to any specifics mentioned with job offer-- ¶ 2 • Close with enthusiastic comment about working for company and courteous closing-- ¶ 3 Refusal Letter • Job refusal = indirect approach • Say thank you for job offer and something flattering about company--¶ 1 • Refuse job and give reason--¶ 2 • Close with hope that might apply again to company in future--¶ 3 The Stall Letter • • • • More time needed to decide Thank you for job offer-- ¶ 1 Ask for more time with the reason-- ¶ 2 Assure audience that you will decide immediately if you can’t get the extension and repeat contact information-- ¶ 3 Letters Exercise • Keyword summary – Using the job you’re applying for, create a 25 word summary. Include specific key words and phrases from the job ad as well as from your personal background. – Places to look for good keywords are the job duties/requirements. – If you aren’t using a job ad, find one online to use for this exercise. – Send this exercise to the Discussion Board.