Are you struggling to write a cover letter that makes employers sit up and take notice? Need inspiration on the best ways to influence hiring managers? Believe it or not, a cover letter can often cinch the deal for an interview. Employers, weary of wading through applicant files, may be swayed by the fresh and engaging pitch you include in your letter. However, if you’re stumped by what to write (or how to avoid rehashing what’s in your resume), take heart. A new look at your cover letter’s meaning to employers, plus a rundown on key mistakes to avoid, may be just the ticket to your success. In my post on compelling, value-rich cover letters, I’ve noted tips crucial to making a knock-em-dead first impression, with simple ways to convey your strengths in a way employers will understand. The trick to a cover letter that gets results versus those that get tossed in the round file is this: a new angle on your ROI that entices employers, helps them realize how you can solve business problems, and makes them wonder how they could pass you by! Read on for insider tips on making your cover letter a memorable – and effective tool for capturing interviews: READ FULL ARTICLE ►Photo Credit: Shutterstock
We get it. Looking for work can be scary, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time and haven’t gotten any results.
Understanding which fears are getting in the way and how to overcome them will make all the difference. Sometimes you might not be aware of which obstacle is getting in the way of your goals. If you want to overcome these fears once and for all, we invite you to join us!
In this training, you’ll learn how to:
- Utilize strategies for coping with your job search fears
- Be confident in your job search—from writing your resume to networking
- Face your fears and move forward
Join our CEO, J.T. O'Donnell, and Director of Training Development & Coaching, Christina Burgio, for this live event on Wednesday, October 5th at 12 pm ET.
CAN'T ATTEND LIVE? That's okay. You'll have access to the recording and the workbook after the session!
For most workers, being laid off or furloughed is a scary thought, and, unfortunately, this scary thought became a reality for many professionals who had their jobs impacted by COVID-19 and the recession that followed. However, for some, losing their job is the push they need to make a career change.
It's not as crazy as it sounds!
Some people need a change but are too afraid to make one, and losing their job is the perfect opportunity to do so. In addition, many workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis may find it difficult to get back into the industries they were working in.
Making a career change isn't easy, but with an organized approach, it can be done successfully. It won't happen overnight, but with patience and commitment, you can ultimately end up in a better place.
Here's what you need to know about the career change process as you embark on the job hunt after a layoff...
Commit To A Career Change Plan
Before committing to a career change, make sure you're ready to close the door on your current career.
A career change should not be an impulse decision or strictly driven by the trauma of a layoff. So, it's important to take some time to really think things over.
But if your decision comes from a prolonged period of career unhappiness, then the time may be right.
Identify the new industry that you're looking to get into and then create an interview bucket list of 10-12 companies where you would like to work. Take a self-inventory of yourself and identify the transferable skills you possess that would also apply well to this new industry. Identify where you need to upskill.
What skills are you missing for this new position? Come up with a plan for gaining these skills. Attend training courses, workshops, classes, or certification opportunities.
Changing Careers Is About Who You KnowBigstock
Now that you've drafted a career change plan, the real challenge begins: building your network.
When applying to a new industry, it's not enough to just apply online and pray that you'll get an interview. You have to put the work in.
Go to the company's website or LinkedIn account to identify the human resources manager and the company's key players. Try to make an actual connection. Tap into your current network to see if you already know someone working at the company or have a friend who knows a current employee.
Use any connection you make to learn more about the company and to tell your career story—where you've been, and why you are choosing to change careers. Any connection that you make is a foot in the door.
This is a much more efficient way to conduct a job search, rather than just applying for every online job posting (spraying and praying). Most resumes don't even make it past the applicant tracking system (ATS).
In addition to trying to secure an interview, putting in this work will also help you build networking skills and expand your professional network. No matter where you are in your career, it always pays to network. This would also be a good time to update your LinkedIn profile, too.
Ease Your Way To Your Dream Job
What if you could get a job at the company you want to work for, just not in the position that you wanted?
That would actually be a career victory. When it comes to career changes, very rarely can you just switch lanes and land your dream job. Sometimes you need to ease your way in.
If you're struggling to get the position you want within a certain company, research other positions at that company to see if there are any positions that better fit your current skill sets. If there is, apply for that position. That way you at least get a job at the company.
From there, you can figure out a way to gain the skills that you need, so that you can one day move into your dream position.
Beware! Career Changes Come With Salary Implications
This may be hard to believe, but when it comes to a career change, sometimes salary is the last thing that you think about.
That's because the career change process is so involved. It takes a lot of effort to come up with a plan and eventually secure an interview. Salary considerations are something that gets placed on the temporary back burner.
But if you've reached the point in the process where it's time to discuss salary, you've done something right and don't want things to unravel.
Depending on the type of industry you're going into, you'll be looking at either a salary increase, decrease, or match. It's essential that you do your research about the position and the average salary for such a position in your geographical area. Websites such as Salary.com and Glassdoor can be good resources for this information.
Having this information could be helpful in salary negotiations or, at the very least, mentally prepare you, particularly if you're facing a salary decrease.
It's also important not to lie when asked about your current salary in order to get a higher salary. It never pays to be dishonest.
Being laid off and then deciding to change careers is a lot to take on. If you're organized and committed, you can do it, but you don't have to do it alone!
Need more help making a career change after a layoff?
We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.
One portion of an employee’s personal development is work-related, but there is more. When you think of an employee’s personal development do you think of the skills for them to keep current, get a promotion, or transfer to another department? Improving core skills such as analytical abilities, critical thinking, and/or decision making? Skills to take on a leadership role and manage staff? Obtaining higher credentials?
Assuming so, organizational leaders should:
1. Make sure you understand what employees do and how it aligns with the company’s goals
2. Let employees do the job you hired them to do (leveraging their strengths and interests); nobody likes to be micromanaged
3. Challenge employees with stretch goals
4. Encourage employees to learn new things and give them the tools they need to learn:
- Read books, magazines, trade journals, newsletters, blogs
- Watch online videos, listen to podcasts
- Take courses (in-person, online) and attend webinars, workshops, conferences
- Company-provided training - Microsoft Office, application-specific courses
- Hard skills such as an SQL class, foreign language
- Effective communication skills - writing classes or speaking training (e.g., Toastmasters)
- Other soft skills - time management, problem solving
- Learning platforms - LinkedIn Learning, MasterClass
- Leadership-related training
- Supervisor skills, management trainee program
- Some will want to manage people, but others won’t and that’s ok
- Professional license, certification (e.g., PMP, CISSP), college degree
- Don’t forget to support CPE (continuing professional education) requirements
- Groups - professional associations, networking groups, etc.
- Other - internships, volunteer opportunities
These are great work-related considerations, but there is more. There is a saying by Confucius: “I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.” Do you encourage employees’ personal development (and the key word is personal) to be the best version of themself? Have you asked them what is important to them? If it’s important to them, it should be important to you too.
Developing A Growth Mindset
Personal development is lifelong learning and it’s never too late to start. Encourage employees to develop a growth mindset and continue learning while working for the company. This includes opportunities to:
1. Enhance their quality of life such as health/fitness, self-care, self-confidence2. Self-improvement to fully develop their character, capabilities, and potential
- Develop a reading habit
- Personal finances, personal creativity, or other personal-related learnings
- “Work-related” skills listed above even if they aren’t relevant to their current role
- Some organizations (such as Amazon, Chipotle, and Starbucks) have free or practically free college programs for front-line employees, which removes financial barriers
3. Realize their dream - maybe to become an entrepreneur and start their own business
How To Create A Custom Personal Development Plan For Employees
Has your organization recognized that they need to think differently about developing employees? They should work together with the employee to create a custom personal development plan (PDP) based on what the employee is interested in (including both work and personal aspects). Four basic steps are:
1. Perform a self-assessment
2. Establish and prioritize goals (both short and long term) breaking up the goals into manageable tasks
3. Create a step-by-step plan identifying required resources, timelines, etc.
- Identify objectives to reach the goals as well as strategies to achieve the tasks
- Identify any weaknesses, development needs, barriers
4. Measure progress
- Reward and celebrate accomplishments
- Be prepared for setbacks - adjust and course correct
As a leader, be available when employees want to talk with you as well as periodically check in with them to ensure they have a good work-life balance. Both of these could be good coaching/mentoring opportunities.
When there is a comprehensive personal development plan, the employee is more likely to be and stay excited about what’s next (and stay with the organization longer). For more information about personal development, follow me on LinkedIn!