Although your résumé is definitely important, the cover letter can also be a make-or-break factor. Your cover letter is key to earning a face-to-face meet.

1. Tweak your tone for every company.

Don’t send generic cover letters that can be used for any job application. You want to make sure that the tone of your letter fits the type of firm you’re applying to. Is the company looking for someone with sass or someone more serious? Figure that out on your own, and tailor your letter to what suits the company.

2. Make a case.

You won’t be able to get to this on your résumé, so be sure to make the case for why you’re the right person for the job and why you want to work for the company on your cover letter. A good way to sell yourself is to connect your experiences with the job description. List your skills and experiences that match the type of candidate they are looking to hire.

3. Be different.

Don’t repeat everything on your résumé in your cover letter. The letter is your chance to shine and show a bit of your personality. Repeating what’s already been said just takes up valuable space.

4. Don’t bring up your weaknesses.

If no one is asking you what your biggest failings are, then don’t be so eager to volunteer that information. The cover letter is not the time to reflect on self-improvement; save that for the weakness question you may be asked during the interview.

5. Focus on the company, not yourself.

Try your best to show that you care about the company and how you want to help it grow. Try to avoid using too much “I,” and instead show how you can be a helpful addition to the company, not in general.

6. Stick to the right length.

Limit yourself to a page, and try to stick to four paragraphs. The first should comprise an introduction, the position you’d like to apply for, and a sentence briefly summarizing why you’d like the job and why you’re a perfect fit. The next two paragraphs should go on to mention applicable skills and specific achievements that further showcase how qualified you are for the job. You can even use some of the space to explain your suitability if it needs more details, such as the fact that you’d move for the job or why you’re changing careers. The last paragraph should be a final, brief emphasis on why you’re excited for the position and a place for you to thank the readers for their time and consideration.

7. Keep it clean.

Be sure to repeatedly edit your cover letter, and always have at least one other pair of eyes look it over. Check for grammar mistakes, run-on sentences, and spelling errors. Make sure everything is consistent. If you say “I am” in the first sentence, then don’t suddenly switch to “I’m” in the next.


What Is Your Value?

Because EVERY Job is Temporary

If your executive resume does not have a clear value proposition that compels someone to call you, then you need to make some changes. Hire a professional who has extensive education and experience. She will have expertise in citing value.

About Your Resume

When a job title on your resume does not appropriately describe what you do, it can mean a lost opportunity. Focus on achievements and results more than duties. The best executive writing services will help you eliminate unnecessary information that could cost you the position. More than 75% of employers rely on keywords to narrow down candidates & bring them to the interview stage. We write resumes in a way that gets past the filters and puts you in an interview where you can present yourself as a viable candidate. Don’t risk losing out on a perfect position because your resume or cover letter wasn’t up to par. Writing a professional resume requires careful attention to detail.

Applicant Tracking Systems and Resumes

Today’s jobseekers need to think about one more type of audience when preparing their resume. In the past, one simply had to send their resume and a person would scan it, but today’s employers are also relying on Applicant Tracking Systems.When you have both technology and the human reviewer looking at your resume, there are some things that need to be done differently on the resume. Here are common subtle mistakes people make that should be avoided:

1. Missing space between the slash (/).

While you may think your resume is covering the bases by including key terms between slashes, it may actually be missing the mark when you don’t have a space between it. For ex. “Financial Analyst/Business Analyst” looks fine to the human eye, but to the Applicant Tracking System, it does not recognize the “/” as a break between words if the search criteria the employer puts in is only for the terms “Financial Analyst” and “Business Analyst.” You’re better off adding a space before and after the “/,” like “Financial Analyst / Business Analyst.”

2. Listing more than one job title and employment periods under one employer.

Applicant Tracking Systems have a method to scanning resumes. It looks for dates to locate job titles and employers. When you indicate multiple job titles and dates under one employer, it confused the ATS. Only list one period of employment with each employer like this:
•XYZ Company, Office Manager / Executive Assistant / Administrative Assistant (2010-Present)OR
•XYZ Company, Office Manager (2010-Present)
Started as an Administrative Assistant and earned promotions to Executive Assistant and Office Manager.

3. Including your zip code.

Applicant Tracking Systems will also look at your city, state and zip code to determine if you are in a commutable distance and if you are not, you will be de-ranked. You do not need a street address but whether you are relocating or not, the zip code must be within a commutable distance.

4. Not following a writing format that is Applicant Tracking Systems-friendly.

Applicant Tracking Systems have a certain way of reading and deciphering information. It identifies your position by looking for a pattern of information like Company name, Title, and Dates of employer – and they must be on your resume in that order. When you add other information like Company name followed by some brief information about the employer (for ex. “Leading provider in…), it messes up how the software is to read your information.

5. Using an email address that dates yourself.

Yes, your email address can reveal a lot more than you think. Typically anyone using an AOL email address is over the age of 45. Also, an email address with numbers like johnsmith1970@…. is often interpreted as the year of birth. Avoid dating yourself by simply signing up for a free Gmail email address and not including any numbers. Keep it simple like your first name, last name or brand it to your profession or industry like TaxExpert@…..

6. Not including a Profile Summary at the beginning of your resume.

The word “profile” or “summary” tells the Applicant Tracking Systems what section follows. Without it, the system can skip the entire section. So make sure your resume has these important keywords.

7. Indicating you have over 25 or 30 years of experience.

When you have a significant amount of experience working in the field or industry, avoid specifying a random number like “30 years of experience.” What you want to do is round it off like “20+ years of experience.” And when you list your experience, don’t go too far back. Employers are generally interested in the last 10-15 years of your work experience – anything beyond that is often ignored.

8. Burying experience with well-known companies.

Experience working with well-known companies in your field or industry is a major attraction to potential employers, so don’t bury it at the bottom of your resume or on the second page. If you worked for Microsoft 10 years ago, don’t let it be buried on page two. Mention it upfront, like in your Profile Summary and in your cover letter.

All of these pointers may appear simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many jobseekers miss the mark on job opportunities because of it. Don’t be one of them!

the author is Don Goodman



Your connection Lisa has endorsed you for skills listed on your profile. Endorsements help show what you’re great at.

Lisa David, SFC 1st – Connected in Apr 2015

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Recommendation from an Expert

From Sandy Wysocki
To Doris Appelbaum

Dear Doris,
I’ve written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.

“Doris is a very driven and determined business owner that brings passion to her work as an advisor to job seekers. Her expertise in resume writing and consulting is unmatched and her track record speaks for itself. She is known both nationally and internationlly for her work with members of the armed forces and is a frequent speaker on job placement issues. She is a tireless networker and an advocate for those looking to improve their career status. I highly recommend Doris as an experienced professional…and a great friend!”