Getting the Job – The importance of your cover letter! (Part 2)

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In Part 1 of Getting the Job, I outlined the first two rules that “Generation Jobless” Millennials must understand about applying to positions.  In Part 2, I will outline Rule #3 as it applies to your cover letter and resume.

At InspireHUB, the team looks for the world’s most inspiring and exceptional candidates.  Like all employers, we want to hire candidates who will help carry our business forward. Due to the nature of our work, who we get to work with, and the dynamic we are looking to build we’ve created a very competitive environment. If you get offered a position within our company, it truly is a compliment!  Some of our “filtering” is pretty standard across the industry, and yet we are shocked by the amount of Millennials who are unaware of these standards and as a result are not even making it to the interview stage.  Here’s what you need to know:

Rule #3 – If you don’t have a cover letter, you’re out. If your cover letter is not customized, you’re out. If your cover letter (or resume) has any spelling mistakes, you’re out.

For every position that is posted employers are swamped with hundreds (in some cases thousands) of submissions.  This means, that the person doing the filtering has a couple of seconds to determine if your application will even be given the time of the day.  Consider this, if you can’t take the time to at least put together a cover letter to explain “why” you are applying for the position, then why should the employer take the time to consider you?

Don’t think you’re fooling the employer with your standard cover letter of “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear HR Manager”.  While a “standard cover letter” is at least slightly better than no cover letter, it still will disqualify you when it is clear that you are “mass blasting” in the hopes of getting someone, anyone, to bite.

Here’s what you should know.  The type of companies that would “bite” at your massive blast are not necessarily the ones you want to work for. To them, your just another number to fill one of their junior positions that “no one really wants” and “anyone can do”.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly instill enthusiasm about your future career prospects with that organization.

At InspireHUB, we want passionate and enthusiastic candidates who want a career (not just a job) and want to wake up every day knowing that what they do is helping to change the world.  Our successful candidates come from all different backgrounds and walks of life, yet they ALL did the following:

#1 – Wrote a detailed custom cover letter specifically referencing “InspireHUB”.  Even when we had no website, they researched the employees names they found and referenced their knowledge of them in their letter. In short, they made it obvious that this wasn’t just “another” application.

#2 – They explained why they were interested in the position and allowed their personality to really shine.  One candidate sent us a a lengthy cover letter detailing her life.  It was one of the first letters that drew in every person who read it.  Her passion and energy leaped out from every line! Before she was ever invited to the interview, we felt we had some insight into her personality and we were excited to meet her.

#3 – It’s a small thing, but critical. No spelling mistakes.  Truth be told, we’ve ALL made this mistake. Submitting the “draft” cover letter by accident, or just completely overlooking a glaring spelling mistake.  When we are specifically looking for communicators or roles that require documentation this is a top priority!  Our team constantly says “details matter”.  If you don’t care enough to check your spelling, what else will you overlook while on the job?

The real world example? At InspireHUB, 80% of submissions never make it to the “look” pile.  Of those that do make it to the “look” pile, another 10% are usually dismissed for not being customized or having spelling mistakes.

In Part 3, of Getting the Job, we will review your steps to success when you finally get an offer to be interviewed. (Hint: What you do before and after the interview are just as important as the interview itself!)

Happy Job Hunting!

When national tragedy strikes, how does it impact the workplace?

Like most people I`ve been riveted to the news tonight trying to make sense of a senseless act at the Boston marathon.  I know of three people from my region who were in attendance and gratefully all are safe.  The incident and the ensuing panic are eerily reminiscent of 9-11.  We all remember where we were when that happened as we sat helpless watching the news. Most people learn of such tragedies while still at work.

When you`re a world away it is easy to feel disconnected, but it is important for managers to understand that national tragedies do have an impact on their staff. Professionals may feel a level of anxiety in returning to their offices after witnessing the repeated images of something horrific happening. At a basic level, tragic events can cause all of us to question our priorities.  Suddenly, that pressing deadline can feel less important when you are considering your own mortality. 

So how does one ensure that productivity continues while at the same time providing a warm and safe environment for your employees? It is important to remember that in many cases employees spend just as much (if not more) time in their workplace environments than in their home.  Workplaces can be a place of safety and an important element in helping people to regain a healthy normal outlook on life. 

Susan Healthfield, provides 11 tips for employers on how to many the workplace when tragedy strikes that are excellent especially for those who are directly impacted.

For those of us who are only observing from a distance, allowing meaningful discussion is important. Creating a moment of silence or working together to make a donation as a group to help can be activities that assist your team during this time.

Take care.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by the events at the Boston Marathon.