Category Archives: Cover Letters

Career Help Is Just A Click Away!

jansamplenewsletterWe’re excited to announce our NEW Talent Community! If you join, we’ll email you a monthly newsletter full of tips and career related topics, ranging from how to write a better resume, to advice on answering tricky interview questions and much more. You’ll also find recruiter profiles, company spotlights, employee/site news and hot jobs.

It’s a great way to keep your career on track, whether you’re actively looking for a job or just thinking about switching employers.  We’ll also archive older issues online. Simply click below to subscribe. You can opt out at any time. Not looking for a job? Help out a friend who is and send them this link: http://oldcastlecommunity.monster.com/

videoClick HERE to watch a short clip about our newsletter.

P.S. Do you have any topics or questions you would like to see covered in the newsletter or on our blog? Suggestions and comments always welcomed!

 

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Can We Talk? Twitter Career Chats – Join The Conversation

Social conversationWant to know more about a certain career field or job?  Have a cover letter, resume or interview question?  Twitter chats are an easy, low key way to get your questions answered, get involved AND get your name out there. You never know who might be participating. Not only that, career chats can be fun!  It’s easy to jump right in.

How it works
Chats are centered around a common interest, theme or topic and take place at a set time and date. Many last for about an hour. Typically, a moderator starts off the conversation with questions and explains the format for the answers. You can respond with your answer or just follow along without responding to see what everyone else is saying. Below are two screenshots with tweets from the moderator.

format format2

As you can see in the third screen shot (below), the moderator (OpenMicCareerChat) asked a question related to the theme for that week’s chat. The theme was salary negotiation.

 OMCchatquestion

Here’s a tweet in response:

OMCchat

Don’t forget to use the hashtag (in the examples above, it’s #OMCchat) so everyone can see your reply.   You don’t have to answer every question, and can hop off the chat anytime you want. Depending on the chat, you’ll find a wide variety of people who participate, including career experts, job seekers, recruiters, college career center staff, company recruiters and more. The beauty of the chat is that everyone’s input is welcomed. The goal is to get a conversation going and learn from each other.

There are many ways you can follow a chat. You can follow along and participate using Twitter, use TweetChat or HootSuite or use the chat hashtag in the Twitter search box to see new replies as they come in.  It’s a bit hard to see below, but in this case, we typed #jobhuntchat in the search bar. Click “All” to see the most recent tweets. It will continue to refresh with new tweets as they come in.

jobhuntchat

 

During the chat
People will be tweeting, replying to tweets, re-tweeting and “favoriting.” Once you feel comfortable, feel free to do the same. You may encounter a few side conversations, greetings and introductions as well.

After the chat
Follow up by following any of the people who sparked your interest during the chat.  This is a great way to connect and network.

Can’t make the chat or felt like it went by too fast?
Chats can move at a very quick pace. In the beginning, you may feel like you missed out. Not to worry! You can always go back and search the chat hashtag again to take a look at the discussion that took place. This is also a good thing to do if you want to research the chat BEFORE you take part in it. Look at the previous chat session. Again, to do this – simply type the hashtag in the search bar. It’s a good idea to observe the chat first, just to get an idea of how things flow.

Tips
Conversations move quickly, with people retweeting answers that resonate with them, as well as giving their own answers. Some chats are more informal and free flowing than others. Observe and participate in a few to see which are the best fit for you.

Chats To Check Out:
#internpro,
Great for young people just entering the workforce.
Topics: internships, networking, interviewing & more. Monday at 9 pm EST, Moderator: @YouTern
#jobhuntchat, Monday at 10 p.m. EST  Various moderators including @Blogging4jobs
#tchat (workplace “hot topics” from hr and recruiting to career management) Wednesday at 7 pm  various moderators: @TalentCulture
#CareerServChat (dedicated to engaging college students and graduates in the career development process and answering career and job related questions)
Thursdays, 9 PM, EST. Moderators @ChaimShapiro, @CareerDrEliz, @RichCareer, @E_fields
#OMCchat (OpenMicCareerChat) Fridays, 12:00 PM, EST
Moderators: @CyndyTrivella, @TomBolt & @LevyRecruits

Where to find more chats in your industry/field?
Here’s a great place to start: http://tweetreports.com/resources/twitter-chats-list/

Career chats on Twitter can be a good way to make new connections, learn answers to your career related questions, get suggestions for your job search and promote yourself. Give one or two chats a try and let us know what you think!

Photo: DepositPhotos

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

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When It Comes To Your Career, Listen To Your Mother

mothers day flowersIn honor of moms everywhere, we wanted to share with you how common “mom-isms” can translate to your professional life. Do any of these sound familiar?

“Because I’ve got eyes in the back of my head.”
This may have been been said to you when you were doing something you shouldn’t have been. Siblings were probably involved. We’re not here to judge – that was the past. This “momism” is a good reminder that even when you think no one is looking, they really are. In an interview, never let down your guard. Be on your best behavior at all times. Game face on! Be polite, professional and nice to everyone, from the doorman to the receptionist. Interviewers often ask other employees (at all levels) for their impressions of a candidate.  Just pretend your mom is watching. This advice holds true once you get the job too.

“Stop making that face or it’ll freeze in that position.”
We’re not suggesting that you’re about to make a silly face in an interview, but do you even know what you look like answering interview questions? Mock interviews can be very useful. Recruit a friend and practice. Make sure you are aware of and correct poor non-verbal behavior (tapping the desk, squinting, nervous tics, etc.) so you don’t risk not getting that second interview.

“Don’t ask me why – the answer is NO.”
This mom catchphrase was usually uttered when you wanted to do something inappropriate, ridiculous or dangerous. Or, when your mom was just tired of the endless questions and requests. Either way, it’s good advice if you’re thinking about breaking certain career related rules. For instance, are you a new grad that wants to submit a 3 page resume? NO. A one or two page resume is appropriate. Think you can just bypass submitting your information online because it involves extra steps? NO. Most companies that have a web based applicant tracking system (ATS) require that you apply online. Follow the rules. They matter.

“Watch your language!”
This holds true for what you say at work, in an interview, in emails and on social media. Everything you say (verbal or written) is a reflection of who you are.  Use keywords on your cover letter and resume and language appropriate for your field. Talk professionally, avoid slang and office gossip. Make mom proud.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
This is great advice when it comes to evaluating job listings. For new grads, don’t dismiss entry level openings when you’re trying to get your foot in the door. For mid level job seekers and career changers, be open to opportunities.  Don’t overlook organizations because they may be smaller, lesser known or not as glamorous as the big names. There are many hidden gems and growth opportunities where you least expect them. Be nonjudgmental and keep an open mind.

“It’s no use crying over spilled milk.”
Mistakes and rejection are a part of life, and that includes your career. You won’t get an interview for every resume you send out. You may not get that promotion or raise. Don’t give up.  Analyze what happened and try again! Some things are in your control and others aren’t. The important thing is to keep moving forward in your career and your life. You can do it!

“Are you really going out dressed like that?
Sound familiar? This question transcends the decades. No matter what the fashions of the day are, it never hurts to re-evaluate your attire. Ask a trusted friend what they REALLY think of your look. Always dress in professional clothes for an interview, even if it’s for a place where casual wear is accepted. Better to err on the conservative side, than risk not getting an interview call back.

“If you don’t clean your plate, you won’t get any dessert.”
Sweet rewards, like sweet desserts, are within your reach. Getting that job, promotion or raise requires a game plan and extra effort. Few people love writing resumes or going through the interview process, but it’s a necessary task to get where you want to be. Never give up.

“Some day you will thank me for this.”
We do, and that day is today. Thanks mom, and Happy Mother’s Day!

P.S. Have any “mom-isms” you want to share? Comment and let us know.  Thanks for reading!

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

© OldcastleCareers, 2014. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to OldcastleCareers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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How To Catch A Hiring Manager’s Attention – In Less Than A Minute

Jobs Career Dartboard Dart Successful EmploymentWant your resume to make it past that initial cut? We spoke to professional recruiters who emphasized three things you should focus on:

1) Visuals
2) Qualifications
3) Customization

VISUALS
Appearance is important. Use bullets, ample spacing and easy to read fonts. ALWAYS proofread for spelling and grammar issues.

Confused about the the one page vs. two page resume “rule?” Don’t be. Two pages is fine, as long as your experience and job history warrant it. According to Corporate Recruiter Nick Ragone, “Having a two page resume is better than trying to cram it all onto one page. If I see two resumes from people with similar qualifications, but one just looks sloppy, I’m going to go with the resume that is more professional-looking.”  There are numerous free resume templates and how-to guides out there. Don’t let unpleasant aesthetics be the reason you’re moved to the “no” pile.

QUALIFICATIONS
Deonna Campbell is a corporate recruiter who reviews hundreds of resumes every week. She looks for “metrics and numbers. Those provide more of an impact on how well a person did or how much they could handle.” It’s all about achievements. For sales people, Deonna likes to see  “a ranking. For instance – if they hit certain numbers over and over.”

Don’t think you have a job where you can quantify your achievements? Almost every position has job duties that can be quantified. If you consistently finished projects before others, you could quantify it like this:

  •  Met project deadlines 20% ahead of schedule

Remember, recruiters don’t want to see a list of job responsibilities. They want to know what you accomplished. Furthermore, if you’re a recent graduate, Deonna recommends that you “show internships/co-ops that portray a more “green” person’s experience, no matter how brief.”  If you’re a long term employe, “make sure your career progression is spelled out- some people lump that together.” 

CUSTOMIZATION

You need to present your job history, education and skills in a way that matches the position you’re applying for. Show that you’ve done your research about the company and job opening. Use keywords from the job ad itself  – recruiters and hiring manager will be on the lookout for them. Also, if you’re using a functional resume, include a timeline of jobs as well. Leaving out those key dates is a red flag for recruiters.  

Candidates have very little time to attract the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. Make sure your resume showcases your strengths in an easy to read, accomplishment rich, customized manner and you’ll be well on your way to that first interview!

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE. 

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and LinkedIn!

 

 

 

 

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