Tag Archives: cover letter

Rough Job Search? Make your own luck

St Patricks Day dog

Green with envy upon hearing a friend just landed a new job? Don’t despair!
1) Reevaluate your plan
How many hours a week are you REALLY devoting to your job search? Be honest. You may have to carve out more time OR maximize the time you are currently devoting to it. Mass blasting out resumes isn’t the best option. You should spend more time researching potential employers/contacts than you do actually applying to positions.
2) Always try to get a back door into a company
Applying to “Acme” company and don’t know anyone? Broaden your search. Are any of your LinkedIn connections connected with people at the company? Reach out to your connection to ask if they might be able to make an introduction.
3) Power up your social media
Use Facebook to research company pages and to see if any of your followers have mutual connections. Fill out your profile completely to show where you work. Recruiters and hiring managers could potentially look at it. Also, make sure all your profile and cover photos are employer friendly. Even if you have all your privacy settings locked down, anyone can see those photos.
4) Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Open Candidates feature
This relatively new feature lets recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities. Don’t worry -it does not inform people at your current company. To activate, go to the preferences tab on the home page, turn sharing on and fill out the info about role types you are interested in.
5) Customize that cover letter
The jury is still out on the importance of the cover letter. Some swear by them; others question their importance. Either way, you have to make yours the best it can be – just in case!

“Take the time to customize the cover letter so it fits the particular position you are applying for. You want to make sure it reflects the particular role, and it’s not just a stock template you use for every job you apply to.”
Damon Arnold, Corporate Recruiter, Oldcastle Materials Group

Damon also mentioned that, often times, he will see a cover letter come through with a different company’s name on it. It’s imperative to be sure this doesn’t happen. He can spot a canned cover letter immediately, and this can hurt your chances. “You need to take the time to personalize it. Attention to detail like this is important and also reflects your level of interest and commitment in the position and the company.”

The cover letter also showcases your writing/communications skills. Take the time to get it right. That means no typos or grammatical errors. Read it aloud to a friend, and make sure you proofread. It should flow easily. Don’t throw in unnecessary jargon or fancy language. Industry terminology is fine, but don’t go overboard. The resume is ultimately more important than the cover letter, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the time you spend on it. You never know which employer might weigh it more heavily.

Make tweaks like this so you’ll be the next ‘lucky’ one to land a new job!

** Bonus tip **
You can send a LinkedIn message to group members you share in common. This is a great way to reach out and communicate with people who may not be a connection.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

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!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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4 Career Resolutions You Can Keep in 2017

2016 to 2017, happy new year conceptWell, here we are again. A fresh slate, a new calendar. Ready to make the most of this year for your career? Great! Let’s get started.

  1. Vow to update your LinkedIn page
    Be honest now. When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Set aside an hour. You want to go through and make additions and deletions as necessary. Have you taken on any new projects? Are there new success stories you could add? Don’t just reiterate your resume! Add “wow factor” content that a recruiter or hiring manager would be impressed to read. LinkedIn allows for photos, video and links too – take advantage of the multimedia possibilities. When you’re done updating, show it to a friend or family member and ask them how it looks, what makes sense, and what could still use some sprucing up. When you’re done with that, you need to do the same thing for your resume.
  2. Start an accomplishment list
    It’s easy to forget all the projects you’ve completed over the year. Yet, you can really stand out when you have this arsenal of good stuff to draw from (for your resume, cover letter and interview). If you jot down your successes and projects you’ve worked on as they happen (once a week is a good goal), this will help when it comes time to interview. Start – right now – to keep track of your results. This way you won’t have to back track or try to remember something you worked on months ago. This list can also be helpful for your yearly performance review.
  3. Show your references some love
    You do have a list of at least three references that you could use, right? Never underestimate the importance of a good reference. Create your list and then make sure to keep in touch with your references – not just when you need them. In addition, make sure your reference has a copy of your resume and prep them if you think they will be called. At the very least, send them the job description and 2 or 3 points/characteristics you want them to emphasize.
  4. Start a career ‘Content calendar.’
    Marketers and writers often schedule out topics and themes by day, week and/or month. This could be based on the season, holidays or a number of other factors related to the industry/field they are working in. You can do the same – whether you’re job searching or just focusing on your career. Break it up by season to get started. What do you hope to accomplish this first quarter? For instance – January through March could be – Resume/Cover letter updating, April though June – networking/submitting applications, July through September – attend an industry conference/seminar, etc.

Don’t stay stuck in a job just because you don’t want to put in the work and effort required for a successful job search. These tips don’t take a lot of time, but can yield good results. Good luck on your career journey in 2017!

PhotoCredit: DepositPhotos

Looking for more job search advice?
Join our Talent Community today HERE! You’ll receive receive a monthly e-newsletter with job search advice written by our own staff of recruiters and experts.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

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!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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6 Easy Ways To Bust Through That Online Application System

hulk

Don’t get mad, get hired!

Many c0mpanies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Talent Management System to gather resumes and track candidates during the hiring process. These automated online systems can can seem very impersonal. We’ve heard candidates say that there are too many fields to fill out, the information required seems redundant, and there is no way to make direct contact with a hiring manager.

We hear your frustration! This post is not meant to debate whether an ATS should be in use, but HOW you can use it to your advantage.

So, why do companies even use these systems?
Applying for jobs has changed over the past decade. These systems make it easy and efficient to post jobs, collect resumes and screen/evaluate potential candidates during the recruitment process.

Gina Williams, a Human Resources Systems Analyst who works with these systems daily, explains that the ATS is typically used by companies with many openings “to save time and effort, to keep compliant with government regulations, and to build up a good database of candidates.”

“I know job seekers may feel frustrated about not having easy access to a human contact during the application process,” says Gina. “However, the up side is that if you spend the time to load your resume and carefully update the fields in the system, the next application will be much easier. Recruiters will then be able to search the system and locate you for future openings.”

To make it past that initial cut:
1) Make sure you fill in ALL of the fields – even non required ones. The more information you can share that shows your qualifications match the opening, the better.

2) Be careful about applying to multiple jobs. Don’t just apply to anything. Only apply for jobs where your qualifications match the opening.  Some systems allow the administrator or hiring manager to see ALL of the jobs a candidate has applied to.

3) Embrace key words. The system will scan to pick up on key phrases for the job and industry. You want the phrases you use to be detected so that a match can be made.

4) Use the job ad to guide your resume and cover letter. Go through the job description. Your resume should have many of the same skills and terms listed. If not, and you have those skills, add them. Or, think twice about applying for that job. It may not be a fit.

5) Be careful of formatting and spelling. While spelling errors are a sure way to go to the “no” pile even outside an ATS, they are even worse in the system. Even if you’re the perfect match for a job, your resume can be filtered out due to typos, spelling errors and inconsistent, busy or unusual formatting.

6) Creativity can kill your resume. In an effort to stand out, many people title their experience and jobs using more creative terms. Don’t! Keep it simple and straightforward.

Love them or hate them, Applicant Tracking Systems aren’t going away. You don’t have to embrace the ATS, but take heed of these tips to enhance your chances of being selected as a candidate.

** Bonus tip: A majority of ATS systems send an automated response that confirms your application has been received. You do not have to follow up at this point. If a hiring manager is interested, they will contact you directly.

What about you? Have you had any experience using an ATS? We would love to hear about it!

P.S. Please share this post if you found it to be helpful.

This post, by our Social Media Specialist (Recruiting Office), originally appeared on LinkedIn.

 

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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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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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