Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Get the Job of Your Dreams

How to Get the Job of Your Dreams
So you're stuck in a dead end job with no advancement potential. Perhaps you graduated from high school and are wondering what to do next. Or maybe you're satisfied with your present job but sense the opportunity for greater things in your future and don't know how to make a career change. With the right tools at your disposal, anything is possible. The proper training and education you need to get started on a great career path is out there and readily accessible.

It's never too early to begin working on your
resume. Once you've started on a career path, whether it's a college or career school, you are ready to begin drafting your cover letters and resumes to potential employers. Learning how to write a great cover letter and resume is a crucial step in separating yourself from the competition. In this article, we'll go over some important tips on how to write a cover letter and resume that will dramatically increase your chances of obtaining an interview at your dream job. We'll also discuss how job placement services can help direct your career path and introduce you to potential employers.

Making a Good First Impression:
Resume and Cover Letter
Two of the most important tools for landing the job of your dreams are your cover letter and resume. After your education or certification is complete, this is the first thing potential employers will see when deciding whether or not to have you come in for an interview. A well-written cover letter can go a long way in distinguishing you from the other job applicants, many of whom share similar qualifications. Along with the cover letter, your resume will show your potential employer that you have the proper skills and training necessary to be successful in your chosen field.

Writing an Impressive Cover Letter
We all know how important first impressions are. If you've written an impressive and engaging cover letter, your potential employer is more likely to view your resume in a favorable light. On the other hand, a bland cover letter that uses non-specific words such as "hard-working" and "dedicated" to describe the applicant with no specific details backing up these claims, may end up tossed into a pile with others that have also failed to distinguish themselves. Don't just copy a formulaic template you find on the web.
Remember, you are unique. So just be yourself!

The Four Keys to Writing a Killer Cover Letter

  1. Be concise. As much as you might feel like telling your whole "amazing" life story, try to keep it to a page or so. Remember, your cover letter is just one of many. Most likely the hiring manager doesn't need to know about that time you scored the winning run in a kickball game back in 5th grade.
  2. Be specific. Rather than typing up one generic cover letter and mailing it to all potential employers, tailor each cover letter to the specific job for which you're applying. Taking a few minutes to do this with each one will assure the hiring managers that you are selective in choosing your career. Also, if you've had specific success in the past related to the position you're applying for, take a sentence or two and highlight it.
  3. Be honest. Confidence is important, but be realistic about which skills you can bring to the position and what your employer can expect from you. Don't just repeat the information listed on your resume; take this opportunity to relay a few details about yourself that might not be apparent on your resume.
  4. Proofread! After typing up your letter, have a friend or someone you trust read it over to double check for spelling and grammatical mistakes. The spelling tools on your computer are not foolproof and a fresh set of eyes will often pick up small details that you might have missed. Perhaps they might also suggest a different way of phrasing a sentence or ask you to clarify a point or two using more detail. This sort of pre-interview help is invaluable in making sure your letter is well thought-out and professional.

Resume Do's and Don'ts
Congratulations, now that you've written a great cover letter, you're almost there. Let's move on to building a resume.

  1. DO title your resume appropriately and specifically. As with the cover letter, it's best to revise your resume for each specific job you're applying for.
    DON'T use more than a page or two. Again, brevity is best.

  2. DO list your qualifications in the most effective order. For example, if you have job experience in a related field, list that first. If you don't have relevant work history but have recently completed job related certification or training, or graduated from college, then you would list that first.
    DON'T inflate your responsibilities at previous jobs or embellish your work history or experience. According to, nearly half of hiring managers reported catching a job candidate lying on their resume. Of those caught lying only six percent were actually hired and nearly 60 percent of those employers immediately dismissed the applicant.

  3. DO get the proper education or training for the position you're applying for. reports that employers plan to hire 16 percent more new college graduates than they did last year. Plus, the Association of Colleges and Employers says that the overall average starting salary offer given to new college graduates, regardless of major, increased by over 7 percent in comparison to last year.
    DON'T forget to follow up. After you've sent your resume, be sure to call or email after a few days to ensure that your resume was received. Be patient, polite and persistent about getting your interview set up.

One Last Hint - Job Placement
Most colleges and career schools offer job placement services located conveniently on campus. Often the schools develop close relationships with local companies who hire directly from the crop of recent graduates. Many times, it's even possible to get your foot in the door before graduation via an internship. Job placement services serve as an intermediary between the academic and professional world. In addition to job placement, many colleges and career schools offer free resume help, mock interviews and career fairs to ensure that their students are getting all the help they need to find the job of their dreams.

Go Out and Get that Job!
A well-written and effective cover letter and resume, in combination with the
right training and job placement will give you your best shot at getting your foot in the door for an interview at the job you've been looking for. Once there, it's up to you to make a good impression and put your education and skills to use. Finally, remember to relax and once again, just be yourself.


How to Choose Between College and Vocational School

4-year College vs. Trade College
College is not for everyone, but that does not mean you shouldn't pursue some sort of higher education or job training. When you think about your future, what do you envision? Are you doing something you love, or are you just working for a paycheck? If you are one of the many who is trying to make a decision about where to spend your money and invest your future, read on. This article provides a comparison of 4 year colleges and technical schools. Which one is right for you?

How to choose between 4-year colleges and technical schools:
Ask yourself these questions and then consider the benefits and disadvantages of each type of school.

What are your goals? Do you have a specific career goal? What are your educational goals? Do you want to learn as much as you can about a variety of subjects? Do you want to learn as much as you can about one specific topic (become an expert)?

What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Would you benefit from a shorter more targeted program?

Lifestyle. How will school fit into your life? Would you benefit from non-traditional scheduling such as online, evening, or distance learning? 4-year colleges and technical colleges both offer such options, but it varies by school so check with any schools you are interested in attending.

What do you need? Realistically, what sort of degree or training do you need to pursue your dreams? Research your desired field--know what the requirements are and how they compare to the programs you are considering. The US Department of Education website offers resources for career and training research.

Be a consumer. Check equipment; is it new and up-to-date? How does it compare to the equipment you will be using on the job? Trust me, this can be tedious but it is quite important. After graduation I realized I should have taken more time to research the computer programs employers expected me to know for technical writing jobs. Had I been better informed, I could have taken extra courses dealing specifically with those programs.