How To Write A Good Cover Letter

 

Learning how to write a speculative cover letter successfully can really pay off if you are looking to switch jobs or gain a step up in your career path. It shows you are pro-active, keen and can even get you considered for roles that are not advertised yet.  Getting the tone of a cover letter right, especially a speculative one, takes a lot of consideration. This article help you to:

  • Address the letter to the right person
  • Format it correctly
  • Say why you are a good candidate for the company, the position or the department.

Applying for a job without a formal invitation to do so does not mean that you are being presumptuous, so go for it!

Who to address a prospective cover letter to

When you are writing a cover letter for speculative application, it is advisable to address it to an individual if possible. Avoid sending a speculative cover letter to the HR department of a company or the sales director since these are likely to get nowhere.

Find out who the hiring decision maker might be in your field and address that individual directly. This may mean phoning to find out or looking up the relevant personnel details from the corporate website.

Bear in mind that addressing a prospective cover letter to the right person has twin benefits. Firstly, it will help you to get noticed by the right person. Secondly, it will show that you have done your research and this will demonstrate your professionalism in its own right.

How to format a speculative application

By setting out your cover letter formally, you stand a better chance of your speculative application succeeding. This means adding your name, address and the date on the top right and the addressee’s details below this, on the left. Begin with ‘Dear…’ and end with ‘Yours faithfully,’ which is the correct format if you don’t happen to already know the person you are writing to.

In the body of the letter, add three or four paragraphs. Begin by explaining that you are looking for work and try to be as specific about the sort of work you want, ideally highlighting why this means you have identified the company you are writing to as a potential employer.

Make a quick summary of your skills and what benefits you could bring to the organisation or company you are writing to. Separate each paragraph with a line break to make them more accessible and easy to read. Choose a professional looking font and avoid emoticons and slang.

What to say about yourself

When you are being speculative, it is best to keep your options open, so don’t focus on one particular skill or qualification. Showing that you are an all-rounder can be much more effective than being a specialist.

Key information, such as stating that you are a second-jobber looking for career progress, can be helpful. These details are a chance to say that you are ambitious – something that most prospective employers want to hear. Make sure that you include a preferred means of contact, ideally your phone number or email address.

Don’t sit back and think the job is done once your cover letter has been created and sent off. Follow up any that you send with a phone call after about one week. Even if your letter hasn’t been read yet, this can help to personalise your contact and increases the chances of a positive outcome.

 

Post courtesy of Monster and can be viewed here

Posted by / February 15, 2017 / Posted in News

14 Tips On How To Make A Good Impression At Interview

How to make a good impression

Generally, you should:

  • Be well-mannered with any staff that you meet before the interview, secretaries and PA’s are often held in close confidence of their bosses. They are often asked their opinions, it’s important to keep in high regard with them…..
  • Give a confident handshake to your interviewer(s) before and after, try and get a feel for the persons hand, not everybody shakes hands like Schwarzenegger. Not too hard and not too soft, just like a boiled egg, is the way I like to gauge it.
  • Answer questions clearly and concisely, do not babble and don’t necessarily say the first things that come into your head
  • Be as enthusiastic as possible, but not too enthusiastic. It is easy to get carried away and talk about stuff that isn’t relevant. Paul will tell you I am the worst at this!!
  • Avoid talking about any personal problems, although the interviewer may show empathy, it sadly isn’t relevant to the current situation.
  • Display positive body language, speaking clearly, smiling frequently and retaining eye contact.
  • Don’t badmouth any previous employers. This is a big no no, under no circumstances do this, your interviewers may already know that you don’t work for a great employer, however they will also be thinking, if this guy bad mouths his current employers, what might he say about us……It never comes across as very professional.
  • Highlight your best attributes, experiences and achievements, based around the skills that you’ve identified as important to the organisation, and evidencing them with practical examples.
  • Inform your interviewer(s) that you’re available to answer any follow-up questions;
  • Let your personality shine, this is what the interviewer wants to see, that want to see you…..answering the questions confidently is 50% of it, the other 50% is you and how you act.
  • Relax and sit naturally, but without slouching in your chair or leaning on the desk. Sit up straight, just like ypur mum told you too.
  • Ask relevant, thought-provoking questions at appropriate moments, as this can show that you’re genuinely interested in the role and really listening to the interviewer;
  • Show your hands, as this is a sign of honesty;
  • Wear smart attire appropriate to the surroundings. Basically this means if you are going to a social media start up, they would probably not be wearing a smart business suit and vice versa if you are going to a graduate job at a bank, they probably wont be wearing hoodies and a snap back……Do your homework……….

The Most Important Question to Ask at a Job Interview

There are just 24 hours in a day. Eight of those should be taken up by sleep. Of the remaining 16 hours, a normal 9-5 job will claim another eight. Add on 55 minutes (the average time spent commuting), then another 88 minutes (the average amount of unpaid overtime) and five days a week you’re spending 65% of your waking hours at work.

That’s an awful lot of time to spend being miserable if you hate your job.

Solution? Pick a job you enjoy. It sounds simple because it is simple. Enjoying your job is not about huge paycheques or impressive-sounding job titles. It’s about something you can discover with one easy but very important question:

How would you describe your company culture?”

What exactly is company culture?
Company culture is the personality of a workplace. It includes everything from a company’s values and goals to their dress code and after-work socials.

Imagine that you’ve applied for roles as a Widget Executive, and landed interviews at two separate companies. At Office One everyone is wearing suits and working at identical-looking desks. Senior management are sequestered off into plush, private offices and seen by appointment only.

At Office Two, you find T-shirted staff having a boisterous meeting on beanbags. One of the trainer-clad recliners is the CEO, but it’s impossible to tell which one at first glance.

These two companies could be offering an identical job title and salary, but you clearly wouldn’t have the same experience at both. The difference is their company culture.

Why is company culture so important?
Think about it like this: a job is the professional version of a relationship. If you went on a first date and found that you and your partner had clashing personalities, disagreed on everything, and found each other’s talk offensive, it’s unlikely to be a pleasant experience.

Taking a job at a company with a culture that doesn’t suit you is the equivalent of marrying that date. It’s just not going to end well.

Which company culture is best?
Whichever one is best for you.

Everyone is different, and everyone likes to work in different ways. For every graduate who walks into a dog-friendly office and thinks all their dreams have come true, there’s a graduate for whom being confronted with a 9-5 Fido is the stuff of nightmares.

The trick is to work out what sort of company you want to work in. Do you like working independently, or in a team? Would you find a hands-on management style helpful or suffocating? Do you think success comes from high expectations or from careful nurturing? Does wearing a tie make you feel professional or uncomfortable?

Make a list of your priorities and your deal-breakers. Which aspects of a company culture would make you particularly keen to work there, and which cultures do you know you couldn’t thrive in? At interviews, quiz the hiring manager on these elements, and give substantial weight to their answers when making your decision about whether to accept a job offer.

Won’t it come across as nosy/pushy/weird?
No. Asking lots of questions about what it’s like working for a company shows you’re genuinely interested in working for that company. Hiring managers tend to like that.

You will need to phrase your questions neutrally (E.g. “How would you describe the management style here?” rather than “Are you guys those annoying micromanager types?”) but that should be common sense.

Are there other ways to find out about a company culture?
Yes! Always start with your interviewer; they’ve got the insider’s track and an interest in answering your questions. But don’t stop there.

If you didn’t see the office on route to your interview, ask if you can have a look around before you leave. You’ll get the general vibe in just a few minutes. If you’ve been offered the job and want to get more of a feel for the place, ask if you can work-shadow the department you’ll be working in for a couple of hours before deciding.

Another good tactic is to reach out to some of the other employees and get their thoughts on the workplace. Even if you don’t know anyone who works (or worked) for the company, you may have an acquaintance who does and can introduce you. The other option is to browse through some anonymous review sites like Glassdoor and Great Place to Work. Look for trends in the reviews rather than basing your decision on just one opinion

 

Article courtesy of  graduate jobs and can be read here

How to: Prepare for an interview

When it comes to an interview, you can never be too prepared…

Whether you’re new to job hunting, or you’re a well-practiced interviewee – thorough research and effective preparation is absolutely essential to guarantee interview success. Attempting to ‘wing it’ will only ever end badly (and/or in awkward silences).

We’ve already covered telephone interview dos and don’ts and video interview tips, but if you’re invited to a face-to-face interview – here are our top tips on how to prepare:

Getting started
First things first, you need to know what to prepare for.

Aside from giving you an insight into the role and organisation, good interview preparation will also give you some all-important confidence. Let’s face it, no-one likes surprises.

But what specific preparation should you carry out? Here are a few key things to cover:

Research the company
Look up your role
Find the address
Pick an outfit
Think of some potential questions your interviewer may ask
Prepare some potential questions you could ask at the end of the interview
101 interview questions you’ll never fear again

The week before the interview

Research the company

Interviewers expect candidates to have a good grasp of what their organisation does – meaning your ability to research effectively is essential.

Consider aspects like: how big the company is, how it’s divided up, who their customers are, and who their main competitors are – as well as any recent developments or plans within the company.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to add value to the conversation, whilst showing a genuine interest in what they do.

Read the job description

When it comes to interview preparation, the job description is your best friend.

Not only will a thorough examination of the duties and required personal qualities help you to understand more about what the role entails – it’ll also help you to recognise exactly what the employer is looking for.

Then, you can tailor your answers accordingly – coming up with tangible examples that prove you’re the best candidate for the role.

What job adverts really mean

Figure out the format

Interviews can take a number of forms – from one-on-one and group interviews, to position-specific tests, role plays, and psychometric questionnaires. And each one will require a different type of preparation.

Often, this will be explained when you’re invited to the interview, but there’s no harm in asking for more information if needed. Researching online to find out how the process has worked for other people in your situation will also help you to figure out what to expect.

Finding out who your interviewer(s) will be and researching their roles within the organisation will additionally help to reduce surprises on the big day. You can look these up on the company website, or try finding them on LinkedIn.

Competency-based interviews: What you need to know

Group interview tasks and activities

Write things down

Unfortunately, you can’t predict every interview question that’ll come up.

So instead of relying solely on memorised answers, prepare an additional list of your most relevant skills, attributes, and work experience. Each question you address will be an opportunity to provide some of this information to the interviewer.

That way, you can get be sure you’ll get your most suitable qualities across – even if the specific questions you were hoping for don’t come up.

What are transferable skills?

The day before the interview
Although you should have the bulk of your preparation done by now – that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to organise the day before.

Here are a few things to do:

Pick your outfit and try it on
Find a map of the location
Do a trial run to check the journey time
Put important information into a folder (e.g. your CV, portfolio, certificates, or any other examples of your work and/or qualifications)
Read and review the research you’ve done
Sorting out all of the above in advance will mean less stress on the day of the interview.

You’ll be sure your outfit fits, you’ll know exactly where you’re going, and with all of your important documents to hand – the interviewer will be able to see you’re prepared.

Even if you don’t end up needing examples of your work – they could turn out to be a great way to demonstrate a point or answer a question.

Pre-interview checklist

The day of the interview
By now, you should feel prepared.

All that’s left to do is get there on time, and put your preparation to good use.

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time – and if you’re going to be late for any reason, make sure you inform the interviewer as early as possible.

If you’re still feeling nervous – don’t panic. Here’s our guide to help you deal with stress in an interview.

article courtesy of reed.co.uk and can be read here

THE DEMISE OF GRADUATE RECRUITMENT? HERE’S WHY IT’S A MYTH

Reports of the demise of graduate recruitment appear to be somewhat exaggerated. 2017 is expected to see even more competition for outstanding graduate talent.

A new report from High Fliers, The Graduate Market In 2017, found that graduate vacancies are expected to rise by 4.3% this year. Among the sectors planning to increase their graduate intake are retail, the public sector, and engineering. Public sector, high street and online retailers plan to collectively recruit 1,200 extra graduates. Less than 1 in 10 companies (8%) intend to reduce their graduate intake, despite concerns over the number of graduates in the UK jobs market.  The median starting salary for graduates in 2017 is estimated to be £30,000, rising to £47,000 in the investment banking sector.

Leading organisations have increased their graduate recruitment by 13% in the past three years, making the competition for talent fiercer than ever. However, with 5.4% of graduate vacancies from last year still unfilled, graduate employers must take steps now to create a robust recruitment strategy.

Full Article Courtesy Of Advorto And Available Here