Danielle Dory

Posts Tagged ‘job search’

Back to the Drawing Board. Writing, or Should I Say, Rewriting Your Cover Letter

In Blog, Business on July 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

Well folks, after reading this article from INC. I realized that my pride and joy,  my cover letter, needs a lot of work.  In an article titled “10 Ways You Should Never Describe Yourself”  businessman and ghost writer Jeff Haden lists 10 adjectives you should never use in your cover letter.  To my horror and dismay, my cover letter currently has 6 of these words.  I’ll let you figure out which words they were, but with every new word listed, I felt a little dagger dig deeper into my heart.  Upon finishing my read, I had a mental image of a my cover letter bleeding in red ink.

I have yet to meet a single individual who actually enjoyed writing a cover letter.  Think about it.  The qualities needed of a cover letter are full of slight, and blatant, contradictions.  Be boastful but genuine.  Be aggressive but not too aggressive.  Then we look at all the things to include:

  1. Highlight your talents
  2. Sell yourself
  3. Show that you know about the company
  4. Explain why you’re a perfect fit of the position
  5. Keep it short.

Writing about myself is probably one of my most difficult tasks, but despite the big adjective problem that I apparently have, I’ve picked up a few pointers over the past year.  Here are tips from professionals on how to be better about, well, bragging.

  1. It’s not we.  It’s me.

I had an interview a few months back, and I was discussing the marketing campaign my partner and I did for a local free health clinic.  The interviewer asked me questions like, “So what did you do?”  “How did you do that?” “What did you learn from that experience?” “What was your biggest struggle in completing your project?”  I answered each and every response with, “Well we…”  and every time I went to answer a question, I noticed a slight sigh.  It was a project that I was extremely proud of and it was for a great cause. I couldn’t for the life of me understand I was doing wrong.

After the interview, she took the time to give me some feedback.  It was then that she explained.  I was so concerned with making sure that I didn’t take all the credit for a group effort, that I failed to highlight all that I accomplished.  She was interviewing me for hire, not my partner and I.

  Moral of the story? Focus on your accomplishments and individual achievements.  Even if you are discussing a group effort, focus on your individual responsibilities.

2.   Quantify. Quantify. Quantify.

Whether you’re tweaking your resume or your cover letter, quantify  accomplishments. It adds substance and context.  It also helps to set you apart. Don’t just say what you did, show what you did.

3.   Revise. Revise. Revise.

The dreaded act of revision.  We all hate to do it, bur once we have we’re always glad we did.  For example, this blog.  I hate looking over my posts once they’ve already been published.  Why, because I know for certain that no matter how many times I edited it before I made it public, I will always find mistakes. You’re first try is never perfect.  It’s tedious.  It’s nerve wreaking.  Sometimes it becomes a bit compulsive, yet I know I’ll feel a lot better knowing that I’ve posted something that I don’t have to feel insecure about. Usually, that takes about 3 revisions.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the Revision Lecture from your English professors.  Turns out the lecture also applies to  preparing for interviews, or writing resumes. Most recently, after reading Jeff Haden’s article, I’ve come to realized that The Lecture of Revision most definitely applies when writing cover letters.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for me.

How about you?  Know any other tips that I didn’t cover?  Leave a comment, or email me at beginnersguide2workplace@gmail.com.

“The Case for Hiring ‘Under-Qualified’ Employees”

In Blog, Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Forbes recently released an article entitled “The Case for Hiring ‘Under-Qualified Employees.”  This is what I have to say on the matter…

For the past three summers I have worked at the educational testing powerhouse ETS.  By the second year I had advance experience with Microsoft Project, Excel, SharePoint and rocking it when it came to running my own meetings. 

However, I did not walk into my first day of work knowing as much as I do now.  If I were to provide you with a high-level timeline of my work experiences it would look like this:

Day 1-

     First day at work as a Corporate Project Management Intern…

 So, what is that?

Meeting with the director of CPMO   (Corporate Project Management Office)…

Hi, um… (silence).

First facilitated meeting…

(flustered. flustered. flustered)

Last Day of Year 1 (3 months later)-

Go to person for the project

Running multiple meetings and multiple projects

Conversing with executives and client executives

Comfortable. Confident. Challenged yet in control.

 

-Danielle