5 Ways You Can be Prepared When Facing a Job Loss

Are rumors circulating throughout your workplace that there may be downsizing, a lay-off or merger?  Are you scared and don’t know what to do? These 5 tips can help you feel more in control of your financial situation:

1. Take a long, hard look at your monthly bills.  Are in up to your neck in debt? Now is the time to tighten your belt and try to get a handle on the interest rates you are currently paying.  Can you pay down some of your debt right away? Transfer to another, lower rate credit card? Should you refinance your mortgage or home equity loan?  Now would be the time to take care of this, not after you’ve received your pink slip. (more…)

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If Your Resume is the Cake, Your Cover Letter is the Icing.

The cover letter accompanies the resume at all times as the primary support document.  Whether you use traditional mail, email, faxing, or another type of electronic submission,
this should always be sent with the resume. There are, of course, other tools you’ll use when job seeking.  Your cover letter and resume come first of course, followed by follow-up letters; thank-you letters for after the interview, reference sheets, salary histories, and job acceptance letters.

Your goal in this is to get the attention of the hiring manager, just as it is with your resume. The method and format are a little different however.  Your resume will cover all, or most of your professional career, and will be from one to two pages.  Your cover letter will be a very brief page serving as an introduction to the resume. Cover letter writing style must be direct, to the point, and able to grab the attention of the reader quickly, with a goal of making the reader want to read the attached resume.

Many people, when engaged in this type of writing, have a tendency to say too much.  Good cover letter writing is short and punchy, and will take two or three key points from
the resume and emphasize them.  The old adage “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” holds true in both resume writing and cover letter writing.

The hiring manager, according to many surveys, devotes only about fifteen seconds to each resume and cover letter he or she reviews.  With that in mind your cover letter need to be top notch to get this person to look at your resume.  Your resume needs to be just as good to get the reader to want to grant you an interview.  In turn, your interviewing skills need to be excellent to get the hiring manager to offer you the position.  This long and hopefully positive chain of events begins with a good cover letter and ends with job satisfaction and a nice paycheck.

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Your Resume = Your Admission Ticket Through The Door Of Your Future

Your resume should be viewed and handled as if it is an
airline ticket to your destination of choice. This may just be a piece of paper
with words on it, and it may not reveal who you are personally but it is the
only means by which you are going to get to the interview (your destination).  Therefore you need to use this document to
gain the reader’s trust and not provide any source of hesitation.

As a former employer I can tell you that when I was hiring I
often hoped there were mistakes or things that just didn’t strike me right in
the massive stacks of resumes that I would have to go through for different
positions. These would allow me to toss that applicant out of sight and out of
mind, moving through the pile faster, and narrowing down the interview pool. So
these should not be view as mainly a way to stand out in a good way, but rather
a way to not stand out in a bad way. No grammar errors, missing punctuation,
funny words/wordings, contrived language, or outlandish claims! Simply put what
you are on paper in a concise, correct, logical form that doesn’t sound like a
sell job but rather like an “about the author.”

That said it is helpful to not appear robotic. It is really
the blend of no mistakes and the subtle yet unmistakable personal flair that
people added to their resume that resounded with me and got them an interview.
So how is this done? Well be honest! If you are hesitant to put something in
because you see the potential for misunderstanding, then don’t put it in! If
you can’t answer all the questions that come to your mind concerning an entry
then its best to leave it out.

So to help you understand what I am talking about when I say
personal flair or touch let me give you an example. Employers value a good
work-ethic right? Well most everyone knows that and I can’t tell you how many
times that I read the words “I possess a strong work-ethic,” and nothing else!
You need to explain yourself—something that proves that statement such as
“possess strong work ethic, missed only 5 days in 3 years of work, was voted
most valuable employee 3 times, and was counted on to assume more
responsibility when bosses were out of town.”

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