So, we’re agreed that it’s worth your time to write a cover letter to accompany your resume (see Why Cover Letters Count). Now you’re facing the daunting task of making your cover letter worth reading. Related: 3 Easy Steps To A Quick Cover Letter Makeover Considering that a 2005 Society for Human Resource Management survey revealed that more than 8 out of 10 human resource professionals spend less than one minute reading a cover letter—and that was before the recession flooded the market with applicants, putting even more demands on hiring managers—how can you hope to catch a hiring manager’s attention, let alone convince them to invite you in for an interview? It might feel scary. Somewhat intimidating, maybe. Almost like asking for a date!
As a career coach, I meet plenty of less-than enthusiastic networkers. You know… people who drag themselves to a monthly job seekers support group or dread the thought of networking events. If in-person networking is more of a chore than a welcome chance to make new connections, then perhaps you’d be better served by changing your approach.
There you stand, at your neighbor’s cocktail party, martini in hand. As you nonchalantly pop the olive into your mouth, you just happen to blurt, “Listen, Christina – there have been layoffs at Acme. Is your company hiring?” RELATED: 60 Seconds Of Networking Advice Two days later, at your son’s Boy Scout award ceremony. As you nonchalantly pop the s'more into your mouth, you say: “Listen, Hank – there have been layoffs at Acme. Is your company hiring?”
Human beings are wired to love stories. U.S. moviegoers spent more than $10 billion at the box office last year, and readers spent about $29 billion on books. But even if you’re not much for the movies and can’t remember the last time you read a book, you’ve probably eagerly absorbed hundreds of stories over the past year. We soak in the stories behind our favorite sports figures (or celebrities), chew over the details of a compelling court case or real-life murder mystery, and click on the touching accounts of people who have triumphed over adversity or have made a difference that pour into our news and Facebook feeds.
Let’s say you’ve decided you just might possibly (maybe) want to look for a new job. What kind of thoughts go through your head? “Great! I’ll have my dream job in no time!” “Let me make a list of all the things I need to do and people I need to contact. Time to get busy!” “I’m the best person I know for that job! They will absolutely hire me.” OR... “I don’t have the time/energy/knowledge/contacts to find a new job right now. I’ll wait until something in my life changes.” “No one’s going to hire me. I don’t have the right experience / I’m too old /I talk funny and drive the wrong car.” “I can’t do this. It’s too overwhelming.” If you see yourself in the first list, you are ahead of the game. Because I can assure you that many people struggle with feelings of doubt, discouragement, or dismay at the perceived effort of a job search. Related: 10 Reasons Happy People Get More Job Opportunities We often undertake a job search just when we’re feeling at our lowest: when we’ve been fired or laid off; when we’ve had a life-changing event such as a move, a death, or a divorce that’s rocked our world; or when we’ve buckled under the weight of the very last straw in our current job situation. But even in more pleasant circumstances, such as graduation or when we’re choosing to look for a new career path without an unpleasant catalyst, it can be hard to stay positive throughout a job search. Let’s face it: finding a job is work. And sometimes the payoff for all of our effort seems too far-off and uncertain to seem worth it.
The idea of making LinkedIn connections can be very intimidating. Once you decide who you’d like to send requests to, you still have to agonize over what to say. (Because you’d never send a request without a personal note, right?) RELATED: Need LinkedIn advice? Watch these LinkedIn tutorials! At one of my new LinkedIn Meetups, a recruiter friend of mine shared her favorite trick for connecting on LinkedIn: she has a few different scripts she uses when reaching out to people she’d like to connect with. Although she tailors those scripts a little, it's mostly copy and paste…which really takes the stress out of requesting connections. Cast your eyes up here, folks! I’m going to show you how the magic is done: