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Why is a cover letter important?

Everyone knows that a resume needs to be accompanied by a cover letter during job hunting. It is, after all, the golden rule. But with the advent of technology and introduction of new forms of online applications, is a cover letter really important?

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A recent survey targeted to close to 3000 respondents showed that a whopping 86% of them decided that a cover letter is “not very important”. So why are we still following the 14% of them?

The power of a cover letter

Many experts believe that submitting a cover letter with the resume is still necessary even in today’s context. This is because the cover letter still proves to be more functional than a resume in capturing the reader’s attention.

Consider this: The purpose of a cover letter is to get your resume read. The purpose of the resume then is to land you that interview. Ultimately, that interview will secure you the dream job. So the moral of the story is, you won’t get the job without first writing that cover letter.

Here are some reasons why the cover letter is so important.

Your resume cover letter is a sales letter. It sells your resume; therefore it sells you. It is the fundamental tool that acts as a bait to hook the reader, mainly your hiring manager. Most hiring managers tend to scan materials quickly, hence it is important that your cover letter is attached to the resume, because it lists down specific qualities that are made to stand out and grab the reader’s attention.

According to Pennell Locey, senior consultant for Keystone Associate, a career management consulting firm headquartered in Boston, many companies still prefer the cover letters to be submitted alongside the resume because it is valuable. In a cover letter, hiring managers are able to precisely match one’s qualifications to the job requirements and to the company to a degree “that’s difficult in a resume”.

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Short and sweet but impactful

Using your cover letter to catch the attention of your hiring manager is more advantageous than using a resume because of its short, brief and succinct content.

Cover letters are more appealing to the eye precisely because it is not supposed to go beyond one page. Applicants usually list down few but powerful points where they feel their qualifications directly make them stand out from the crowd on the cover letter. This makes the cover letter a lot easier for an employer to read.

According to Tracy Cashman, partner and general manager of the information technology division of Winter, Wyman – one of the largest staffing firms in the Northeast, cover letters are also useful because it explains certain information not reflected on the resume, such as a gap in employment history or a position outside the applicant’s career track. This helps build some form of a connection and allows the hiring manager to understand you better because after all, you will be working with him or her for quite a while.

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Start writing that cover letter

So now that we have established the fact that a resume might not be as appealing without a cover letter, it’s time to start thinking of a way to craft one. Many online websites and resume writing courses might help you produce a cover letter, but is it good enough? At Style Resumes, we provide the best cover letter services as we have been specializing in this industry for many years. Not only is it affordable, it also represents you, especially since we have the experience, knowledge and expertise in writing cover letters and resumes. So stop worrying about whether you will get that interview, start worrying about what to wear on the first day of your job instead!

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Creative Resume: 6 Steps To Bounce Back From Committing A Mistake At Work

Your creative resume is probably the one that paved the way to get you a chance for an interview and your well-crafted resume plus the way you carried out the interview is a combination that secured that job that you have right now for you.

The moment you started your first day at work until now, you are working so hard to prove yourself and show them that the company did not made a mistake in hiring you. One unassuming day, you are doing your thing as usual and you realized that you made a colossal mistake, how do you react?
Before you go into the whole panic mode, remind yourself and know that these things happen to anyone whether you’re just starting out or have been in the in the company for ages, or whether you’re in an executive position or the lowest. Stop yourself from filling your resignation letter and dig into these tips that will help you handle the situation.

1. First off, breathe. Take a deep breathe, before jumping into anything make sure you are calm and collected to make a rational decision after what happened. This will prevent you from making another blunder due to panicking.

2. Step away a little for you to see the whole situation. This does not mean take a leave of absence or go on a vacation (that’s running away not stepping away a little), if you do this you get to analyze and assess how big the damage is.

3. This is the crucial and scary part. Confess. To your immediate superior, that is. Don’t go all the way up to the CEO without informing the person with direct responsibility and authority over you. If you do this you wouldn’t have to bother the head of the company with a problem you and your superior can fix. Most importantly bypassing your superior would not be a very smart move and may even cause more trouble than the actual mistake that you made.

4. After confessing in a clear, concise and non-dramatic way, though it’s tempting to sugarcoat, make excuses and blame somebody else, don’t. Take responsibility for your actions. Apologize and say that you understand that you made a mistake and it won’t happen again and then state the most effective and fast solution that you have in order to fix it.

5. When you’re done with the four steps above resolve it right away, as quietly as you can. Don’t drag it out too long before doing something or else it may worsen the existing problem. Prevent yourself from giving your colleagues a play by play of what happened, the less time you waste on trying to gain pity, venting and complaining the more you show how serious you are on quickly mending the problem. And besides let’s face it. There will always be someone waiting for you to fall so he could rise.

6. When everything has been said and done, make sure you learn from the experience and never make the same mistake twice.

How you act under pressure can really make or break you but if you heed to these steps it will not only make you look professional but also prove that the creative resume that you submitted represents your skills and quick-witted personality well.

Experience vs. Education: Which One Matters More?

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When an employer wants to hire someone new, they want to find someone who can get the job done. Then, when they see someone with some experience in a related field, they assume that the candidate in question is much more likely to pick up the ropes at a faster pace compared to the one without any experience.

Many job hunters get frustrated with the fact that employers often require a certain amount of experience, especially when they are fresh out of college and haven’t yet had the chance to work. However, it’s important to note that the word ‘experience’ doesn’t always mean several years in a similar job. ‘Experience’ could come down to plenty of things such as people working on side projects or volunteering on a part time basis. Not only does this make us think that a candidate will be able to do the job; it also shows a keen interest and a willingness to learn things for themselves.

So, as a job hunter looking for a new job, what sort of things can you do to get ‘experience’ even if you can’t find an entry role?

Work Placements

Perhaps the best thing for anyone to do when trying to build up some experience is to try and approach companies looking for a temporary work placement. Yes, you may have to work for free; but if it makes the difference between getting on the job ladder or not, it’s definitely worth doing. This will benefit you in several ways. Not only will you get some hands on experience in a real life working environment, it will also show your potential employer that you’re willing to go beyond the norm.

Volunteering

Volunteering in the college breaks or at weekends is another great way to build up much needed work experience. If you’re struggling to find something to do, then try searching for local charities or community projects that may need your help. It’s important to note that they won’t always advertise for positions, so you’ll probably need to take the lead and start contacting people yourself. Again, this shows a willingness to push yourself into new situations – all great qualities from an employer’s perspective. If you are successful, then being able to show how you contacted local organizations and place yourself in a volunteer position will all look great in an interview situation.

Side Projects

If you’re really struggling to find something, then you could always consider starting something yourself as a side project. Being able to do something related to your chosen career will look fantastic to a new employer, especially if you’ve had the initiative to try and do something yourself. For example, if you’re looking to get into web design then having your own website from which you can explain your process, and how you’ve grown the traffic will really help you to stand out.

Revamp Your Resume 

Whilst most employers think that experience is more important than education, you can draw attention away from your lack of job experience by adjusting your resume to focus on the skills you have. For example, Instead of a “Work History” section, you can put in a “Professional and Academic Experience” section. Choose a functional rather than chronological format as you wait for job experience to add.

At Style Resumes, we have helped thousands of fresh graduates and industry professionals land their dream job. We will not only revamp your resume and present the best of you; we will also polish your LinkedIn profile and create an impressive web portfolio for you.

Get in touch with us and get ahead of other job-hungry fresh grads!

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How to ‘Hide’ Bad Grades from Your Prospective Employers

So you have finally graduated and are ready to start your adult life. But now a new worry seeps in; you are concerned about your low GPAs due to the period when you had not taken your courses seriously. What if your resume is put in trash when the employer took a quick glance of your grades?

If that is your case, stop worrying now! Not doing well in school doesn’t mean you can’t land the job of your dreams. Read on, and we will tell you how you could ‘hide’ your poor grades in your resume.

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Who said you must show it off?

Well, first of all, there’s no law that says you have to include your GPA on your resume or talk about it during interviews. It’s perfectly acceptable to simply state your school, the location of the school, your degree and year of graduation. The fact that you graduated is in itself a credential – regardless of how marginal your grades were.

In fact, employers are not seeking for someone who graduated with flying colors – they are looking for people who can perform the job well.

Play up your major GPA

Some elite employers have policies requiring a certain GPA (usually a 3.0 or higher), and there is generally no way around that rule. However, in some cases you can squeak through by demonstrating that you’ve achieved better grades in your particular major or in classes related to the job to which you’re applying. For this strategy, you can list your “major GPA” or “grades from relevant classes” on your resume, in a cover letter or verbally during a job interview.

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Focus on your strength

Here’s the most important thing about GPA: it matters less and less as you advance in your career and have more experience under your belt. Applying the transitive property of career advice, this means that if you want your GPA to matter less, you need to make your experience matter more.

What if you’re a fresh grad with no professional working experience? Focus on your contribution to your school or to the society; such as your co-curricular activities, your position in an organization, or the voluntary activities you have done. And then, elaborate on how those experiences have enriched yourself.

Build professional network

In many countries, most people land their jobs due to the fact that they know someone in that company which gave reference for them. So, if you are friends with your future boss’ best friend, chances are your grades would not matter.

Join a professional organization in your field and start attending its meetings. Do some informational interviewing so you can meet people in your field, and they can get to know you as a real person, not just a GPA number. The more you can sell your whole self in person, the less impact a low GPA will have on your internship and job prospects.

Showcase your best traits with Style Resumes

If you are unconfident about your grades or the lack of experience, you can still have an impressive resume! Look for the help from professionals who are able to pinpoint your strengths instead of revealing your weaknesses.

At Style Resumes, we are a team of professional, experienced and knowledgeable resume writers that will craft the perfect resume for you. Worry no longer about being stuck in the job race. With Style Resumes, you will definitely stand out!

How Volunteer Work Leverages Your Resume

You might have done several voluntary activities during school breaks or employment gaps to find something useful to do, or you simply want to help a cause that is close to your heart. Whatever your reason is, doing volunteer work is good for you! Not only it makes you feel good about yourself, it can also help you advance in your career growth.

Yes, putting your volunteer work on your resume can impress your hiring managers, but doing it wrong can turn their off too. Learn how you could leverage your volunteer work on your resume.

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What it implies

Volunteer work, if presented correctly, will show an employer that you are willing to try new experiences, be involved in your community and generally demonstrate a willingness to take initiative and make things happen. Many companies would appreciate a spirit of “giving back” which you display by doing volunteer work or community service.

Your good deed as a volunteer can definitely give you a competitive advantage. For example, an involvement in event planning for a local charity 5 years in a row not only shows that you are experienced in event planning, but you are also passionate about it; otherwise you wouldn’t have done it for free. If you were an employer looking for someone who is willing to organize a company event, would you hire yourself? Definitely!

Besides letting the employers know about the useful skills you possess, listing voluntary experience will also show that you have deeper knowledge and true passion about a particular industry; especially if it is an industry you’re aiming to work in. For example, if you are studying Physiology, stating your voluntary activity as information desk assistant at a local hospital implies that you are already familiar with hospital environment, unlike other job applicants who have no idea how working in the hospital would be like. Then, all other things being equal, you are more likely to be hired!

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How to do it right

If you are a fresh graduate with no work experience, you should emphasize your volunteer work. Instead of putting it under the section “Voluntary Activity” at the bottom of the resume, an inexperienced job seeker like you can incorporate volunteer work in the regular experience section. Treat the experience as if it were a paid job – list the organization’s name, location, your functional title, dates and accomplishments. However, be sure to indicate your volunteer status in the description or next to the title.

What’s important when presenting your volunteer work on your resume is to highlight important and favorable attributes you gained through your voluntary work period. For example, you can mention how your tasks improve your communication, leadership and planning skills, while showing that you are adaptable and self-motivated.

Often times, you might get carried away and start loading your resume with every single good deed. But a long list of unrelated experiences might hide your true accomplishments or divert employers’ attention. Worse still, you could end up embarrassed if the interviewer asks about something and you can’t speak about it in-depth. So, when you have rich voluntary experience, it’s always best to stick with up-to-date, longer and deeper involvement which gives you useful skills or knowledge about a particular industry. After all, it’s a personal choice to include your volunteer work, and your decision may vary depending on what you want to highlight about yourself and where you are applying.

Showcase your best traits

Putting various voluntary experiences in your resume is only one of the ways you can add value to it. In this competitive era, it would take a lot to succeed in the job race. Learn how you could showcase your best traits and make yourself as appealing as possible to your prospective employers!

Sometimes, other people would be better able to see your best traits and present them clearer in your resume. So why not multiply your chance by hiring a professional resume writer? Stop worrying about whether or not you will get the job and worry about what to do with your first paycheck!