You might be just beginning your professional life or a seasoned professional – in both cases, it is essential to have a few documents at hand summarizing your knowledge and abilities. We’ve already written about how to write a clear and easy to read CV here and here. Below you can find a few pieces of advices on how to write a cover letter and how to use social networks to your advantage.
The Cover Letter
Recruitment processes are no longer conditioned by including a cover letter along with a CV when applying for a job. However, not all industries have given up on cover letters – some still go so far as disqualifying applicants that do not include one. Also, some countries seem to favor cover letters more than others. Usually, the nonprofit sector and countries like the UK that are good examples.
The cover letter can be a useful tool for experienced candidates but also for those with little to no experience. If you are just starting your career, use a cover letter to prove that you:
- can communicate clearly, coherently and in a professional way;
- have the necessary abilities to perform the tasks required by the role, even if you have acquired the through involvement in volunteering or other type of projects;
- understand the responsibilities that come with the role and that you have a plan to acquire the necessary knowledge and abilities to fulfil them.
Some recommendations to keep in mind when writing your cover letter
- Don’t write more than one A4 page.
- Start by clarifying the role you are applying for and why you are interested in it. Continue by describing the knowledge and experience that recommend you for the role and finish by thanking the reader for their time.
- Unlike the CV, which is a timeline of your previous roles, use the cover letter to go into more details around your abilities, motivation, and accomplishments.
- Customise your cover letter – adapt it to fit the specific role you are applying for, don’t just use a generic one.
- Unless you are required to be creative and original, keep your tone and language formal.
Before sending it out, carefully read the cover letter one more time and make sure there are no mistakes. If the language you are writing uses diacritical marks, make sure you include them. You could ask a friendly to read it also – after focusing on text for a while, we aren’t able to spot small errors like spelling mistakes or grammar errors. Save the document with your name or according to instructions included in the job add, if any.
Use LinkedIn to Spot New Professional Opportunities
With over than 675 million users around the globe, LinkedIn is, by far, the most popular professional network. Almost three million Romanian professionals have a LinkedIn account and many of them use it to keep track of jobs that interest them and apply for them. Concurrently, few recruiters can afford to ignore this channel. In fact, LinkedIn has become the main recruiting resource for attracting candidates.
A few recommendations for a good LinkedIn profile
- Fill out your profile with the same care and attention you’ve used for writing your CV. Focus on past accomplishments and what you could offer a potential employer.
- Use your real name, profession and industry in your profile title.
- Try to stay away from clichés. Words like “innovator”, “responsible”, or “creative” has been used so much that they have lost all meaning.
- Personalise your URL – ideally, this should be linkedin.com/your name. The edit option is under the „edit profile” menu;
- Invest in a goof quality profile photo. Statistics say that a professional photo can increase profile views 14 times.
- Don’t forget to include links to articles you’ve written, to your website, or personal blog.
- Make sure your profile is set to public and not private – you want recruiters to find you.
- Invest some time in creating a solid network of contacts but don’t spam people. Invite people you’ve met or have some kind of professional connection.
- PersonaliSe the invitations. If you’ve met someone interesting at an event, send an invitation to connect. Do use the opportunity to congratulate them for their speech or remind them how you’ve met.
Even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, LinkedIn can still be a useful resource. You can stay on top of trends in your industry and connect with professionals from all over the world. The numerous professional groups hosted by the network are an interesting source of news, opinions, case studies, etc. Use the groups to ask for advice when dealing with a challenging problem. You will be surprised how many people will want to help you solve it. In turn, you can also offer support or start an interesting conversation. With users coming from different geographies and cultures, you will probably see a great diversity of perspectives. These groups are often used by recruiters also to advertise new jobs – you can take the opportunity to have a conversation with them about it, ask questions, etc.
Curate your social media presence
As social networks grew and developed, companies have developed new mechanisms to identify the best candidates. It should not surprise you that recruiters will google you. So, even if you are not using your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts to apply for a job, information shared on those platforms can work against you. We recommend an experiment – simply google your name and see what comes up. Are you proud of the results or rather embarrassed? Try to look at them through the eyes of a recruiter. How about that photo from last week’s party when everyone got drunk or that nasty comment you’ve written on someone’s Facebook. What could it possible say about you?
Think about these elements – your CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn account – as components of your business card. What image would you like these to create in the minds of those reading them?