Cover Letters – Do I Need One?

interview questions

You may be wondering if you need a cover letter to compliment your resume when applying for jobs. Are you asking yourself “What difference will it make or can it make?” Let’s discuss when you should send a cover letter and why.

Essentially we should be sending a cover letter along with our resumes to hiring managers unless they specifically say otherwise. Here are the two main reasons:

  1. You can speak directly to your specific qualifications and why these make you the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter allows you to tell employers “who you are” and align your experience and career with their business needs.
  2. The cover letter is used to send a targeted message specific to each job/career for which you are applying.

It is possible to find numerous examples of how to write a cover letter and what the best formatting options are. However, when you work with our professional resume writers you will get the benefit of experience, past client feedback, and current formatting to optimize the ROI. In addition, it can be a struggle to capture who you are on paper. This is why it helps to have a professional writer head the effort.

The window of opportunity to make a strong first impression can be a narrow one. This is especially true when the job market is flooded. The higher the volume of job seekers the more challenging it is to grab the attention of hiring managers. Once you have their attention your cover letter needs to be strong enough to hold it.

Knowing what to put in your cover letter is important, however, knowing what not to add is just as important. In a blog written by Joe Matar titled, 6 Things Your Cover Letter Should Never Say (But Probably Does)

The author talks about the need for your cover letter to be concise. The cover letter is your opportunity to fashion a direct message to the company. Joe Matar explains that saying “a skills and experience section” will not have as much impact compared to telling the story of your career and the value you bring. The same goes for this statement: “I want to work in this industry”. It does not show the employer your passion for their particular company. You want the hiring manager to know you are ready to invest yourself into the very specific needs of their business. Read more of what Joe Matar has to say on this here.

It is also important that you choose the appropriate letter type as well. For example your letter will read differently if you are applying for a specific job posting or you are simply inquiring about job opportunities within that particular company. Hiring managers should not be left guessing about your goals via the cover letter.

Before you start applying for jobs, be sure to invest time in creating a professional cover letter. Make the cover letter concise and direct. This document is an invaluable tool in ushering you through to the interview process in your job search. Use this opportunity to show future employers who you are, and why they need you on their team.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Working with a Professional Resume Writer

Client Success and resume
Professional Resume Writing
Professional Resume Writing

At Power Writers USA it is our job to help you stand out from the crowd. You may have wondered what you can expect from working with a Professional Resume Writer. Or perhaps you have questioned the benefit of hiring a professional writer to help with your resume. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and outline what you can expect when working with Power Writers USA.

First of all, it is important to look at your resume as an investment in your future. This document is going to be your initial point of contact with potential employers and we want to position you for instant impact when your resume lands in front of the employer or job recruiters.

Today’s job search methods are a bit different than what they used to be. With the ever-increasing drive for companies to streamline their hiring process, new software has been created to funnel prospective job applicants through a series of algorithms. This process is known as ATS which is short for Applicant Tracking System. In an article in SearchHRSoftware.techtarget.com they define what ATS is and why it is so useful through the hiring process:


An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software that manages the recruiting and hiring process, including job postings and job applications. It organizes and makes searchable information about job seekers. As its name implies, an ATS tracks candidates through the hiring process. It helps scheduling, issues notification alerts and sends automated emails to candidates. But these systems are far more than organizers.

An ATS is also used to cull candidates. It conducts a preliminary analysis of the applicants to find the best fits for a job. The goal is to speed HR’s review of job applications and resumes. It may look for keywords or use AI-type algorithms that run a deeper analysis of the job applicant.


applicant tracking system (ATS) [Web log post]. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://searchhrsoftware.techtarget.com/definition/applicant-tracking-system-ATS

Power Writers USA ensures that all resumes are written for ATS optimization. So you can rest assured that your resume makes it through all the rankings and algorithms and lands in front of the right people. To learn more about what ATS is and how it works read this helpful article found in, SearchHRSoftware.techtarget.com.

Another component of modern job searching is your LinkedIn Profile. Having a presence on LinkedIn keeps you dialed into the job market. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your personal advertising page. It provides you with an online space to highlight your education, career goals, and achievements. Power Writers USA understands the importance of a LinkedIn profile which is why one of the services we provide is LinkedIn Profile Optimization. It is important to note that your resume and LinkedIn Profile are meant to compliment each other. So keeping your LinkedIn profile updated with the information from your resume will help give prospective employers the most accurate and current information on your career history and goals. Your profile not only keeps you current but it also helps you streamline your job search because LinkedIn helps filter jobs based on keywords found in your profile.

In her article on Forbes.com Robin Ryan talks mentions one of the many beneficial elements of a LinkedIn Profile. She speaks to having recommendations on your profile:
“Recommendations are pure gold as they live forever on the profile”. You can read the full article here. So you can see how your LinkedIn Profile becomes a virtual extension of your hard copy resume. They are not carbon copies of one another rather they are used to complement one another.

Here is an example from linkedjetpack.com on what a good recommendation should look like and how beneficial it is for “selling yourself” to prospective employers:


“I rarely come across real talents who stand out like Peter. I had the pleasure of working with Peter for three years at the Big Corp, collaborating on several project teams. Peter’s ability to handle multiple projects was unlike any I’ve seen before and made a dramatic increase in the productivity level of our company. No matter how tense a meeting, Peter made sure everyone left with a smile. As a team member or a leader, Peter earns my highest recommendation.”

You can see how having a number of recommendations such as this on LinkedIn could potentially boost your appeal and put you ahead of your competition. Taking your raw data to formulate a streamlined and unique resume along with an optimized LinkedIn Profile is just two of the ways you will benefit from working with our Professional Resume Writers.

It is not uncommon for some to struggle with the ability to articulate who and what they are. Some of us find it very difficult to explain ourselves to others in a way that best highlights our achievements. All the elements are there for a strong resume but we need help compiling it into a cohesive format. Once all this data is collected and we have all our educational achievements and career accomplishments in front of us it can seem daunting to try and pull it all together while keeping in mind formatting and algorithms. This is where relying on a professional writer becomes invaluable.

It is not always easy to know exactly where we should be focusing our attention and efforts when it comes to our careers let alone job searching. Hiring a resume writer will help bring clarity to the various elements of your resume. Whether you are thinking about a career change or are looking to position yourself for advancement within your current job Power Writers USA has the knowledge and experience to craft an eye-catching resume for you.
Every resume written by Power Writers USA is custom made for each individual. As mentioned before the resume is also optimized for ATS.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

How Do We Ensure Our Client’s Success?

Client Success and resume

Our business revolves around our clients and we want to ensure our clients experience successful results.  Success to us means that we create a resume for our clients that get them the callbacks for interviews they are after and go on to land the job they want.  Success also means our clients have a great experience working with us.  Here are some of the components that help us, and our clients succeed

Detailed Intake Process

At the onset of a project we engage in a detailed intake process with our clients.  We gather the necessary information from our clients to compile thoughtful questions.  We then interview our clients with these questions to dig out useful information we can use as content for the resume.

Collaborative Process

We approach resume writing as a collaborative process.  We get in touch with the person we are writing for to better understand them, their professional history, and what direction they want to go in.  Our lines of communication are always open for our clients.

ATS Optimization

With the ever-growing use of ATS (applicant tracking systems), it is becoming more and more important to make sure you have the right formatting and keywords.  If your resume doesn’t have these key ingredients, it will not get to a hiring manager.  We make sure that our resumes are optimally formatted to make it through the challenges of the software and algorithms.

Targeting a Resume

What good is your resume if it doesn’t have a focus?  We take the time and effort to understand what specific jobs you are targeting so we can incorporate key details from those jobs into your resume.  This ensures that your resume speaks clearly to the hiring managers reading it.  If a resume is too broad, you will not come across as the right candidate for the job.

Follow up and Customer Engagement

We hate goodbyes!  So, we invest time and effort to stay connected to with our clients to gain their feedback, share our news, answer questions, and remind people that we are ready to handle any updates they need.  We love to hearing the many success stories of our clients.

____________________

Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Components of a Resume

Components of a resume

More and more, people are hiring professional resume writers to write their resumes so they can stay competitive in their job market, save time, and experience optimal results.  However there are those brave enough out there who want to write their own resumes but still need a little help.  This article on the components of a resume breaks down each section that generally goes into a resume to make writing it a little more organized and effective.

Original article click here.

Summarizing your years of work history into a 1-2 page document can be an overwhelming and daunting task.  But if you look at the individual parts of what your resume should focus on the light at the end of the tunnel starts to appear.  Now, not all components of a resume that are discussed in this article may be necessary for your given situation.  This will be for you (or the professional resume writer you hire) to determine and if you have any doubt as to what you should and shouldn’t include please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us.

Let’s look at the most commonly used components that make up a resume.

Heading

The heading is where you put your name and contact information.  It goes at the very top of the document for easy reading.  You want it to stand out with the use of elegant design that will capture the attention of the reader.  The design should be balanced with the text either being centered or by putting your name on the left and your contact on the right.  Your contact information should include your name, phone number, professional email address, home address (or often just the city, state, and zip code), and your LinkedIn profile address if applicable.

Professional Summary/Professional Profile

Your professional summary or professional profile as it is sometime s called will generally go underneath your heading.  Aside from your name this will be the first bit of information a hiring manager will read about you.  Keep this brief and to the point.  Use keywords in the job posting you are applying for and work them in. Depending on the format you choose for your resume this section could be written with bullet points or in a short paragraph form.

Professional Experience

Professional experience or work history is obviously the part of your resume that tells people what job positions you’ve had in the past.  Most people butcher this part by giving too much or not enough detail.  Often the right type of information is left out.  As for formatting use a short paragraph that captures the key elements of past jobs as it would relate to the new job you are after.  Use a couple bullet points just below the short paragraph to highlight key metrics and figures.  Numbers really stand out.  The important part is to keep the information you share concise and relevant to the reader.

Education

It is important to list your education on your resume, particularly if it is current and relatable to the job you are seeking.  What you want to steer clear from generally is giving dates of graduation, and your high school unless you are a recent graduate and/or have certain achievements you want to list along with it.  If you are an early career professional, you may consider including your high school to give the resume a bit more content, but most people will forget about it in a split-second.  This section is generally pretty short.

Training and Certification

Some professions mandate certain certifications which should be listed on your resume.  Others may find certifications and training to be a major advantage in which case it too should be on your resume.  Keep this section as a separate section from your education so it will stand out better. List your certifications with the most relevant and important first, then work down the line.

Skills

Skills and Technical skills are a section that should be included in your resume no matter what.  And no matter what, everyone has some type of skill that should be mentioned.  This is the section where you can list software programs you are familiar with, machinery you know how to operate, job specific skills and keywords that hiring managers will notice etc.  This is a bullet point, highlight section that should be relatively brief but is still intended to capture the resume reader’s attention to let them know that you have what they are looking for.

Keep your resume short and sweet.  Remember these key components to make writing your resume easier.  When you are writing your resume always remember to keep your future employer or hiring manager in mind.  You are not writing the resume for yourself, you are writing it for them!

Author: Scott Nichols

____________________

Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Ingredients of a Great Resume

Ingredients of a Great Resume

Ingredients of a Great Resume

Your resume is more than just the jobs you’ve done and positions you’ve held over the years.  It is a personalized marketing tool designed to capture the attention of readers to give them a quick rundown of your skills, abilities, and accomplishments.  It is what changes their mind from throwing your resume into the recycle bin to them picking up the phone to call you in for an interview.  So, what are the ingredients that make a resume great?  While we could write a book on the subject (and may do so in the future!) here are some key points to consider.

 

Formatting

We’ve seen so many resumes come through that we can say without a doubt that most people don’t have a clue as to how to optimize the impact and readability using proper formatting.  The resume needs to be a balanced, neat looking document with the proper usage of bolding, bullet points, titles to separate different features (work experience, education, etc.) while integrating short tables or columns to highlight some quick personal attributes.  The position you are looking for along with your work experience will also influence what type of resume format you should be using.

For example, and entry-level recent graduate may put more emphasis on core curriculum, extra-curricular activities, internships, and personal attributes, placing these topics higher on the resume while putting work experience lower as it is likely limited, part-time, or un-related to the position they are applying for.  An experienced doctor, however, will likely use a curriculum vitae or CV to showcase their particular career and accomplishments while having less of an emphasis on education.

We suggest that if you are going to write, edit, and format your own resume that you take the time to look at several examples that are coming soon to our website or the numerous templates that are available on our online (or in books) to see what type of format is best suited for your particular situation and also what your job seeking competitors may be doing with their resumes!

We alternately suggest that you speak with a Certified Professional Resume Writer as they will be a great resource, can answer questions and can update your resume if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of researching and writing your own resume.

The Numbers

Pay attention to the numbers!  In a sea of words that is a resume it can be incredibly helpful to integrate some numbers as they will stand out and can quickly help guide the reader to key accomplishments.  Here are some common positions and types of information you should keep track of:

Sales Example

Keep a working spreadsheet with quantifiable data, achievements, met sales goals, new accounts, size of largest account, % of growth. For example

  • Successfully increased gross revenue by 35% resulting in $105,000+ annual growth.
  • Met or exceeded 11+ sales goals and was awarded as #1 Salesmen of the Year.
  • Closed the largest account in 15-year company history with annual revenue of $37,000.

Management Example

If you are a manager, assistant manager, shift lead, team lead etc. keep track of how many people you manage, goals met that can be quantified in a % or $ amount, amount of product or inventory you manage.

  • Oversaw all functions of staff development for team of 35+ employees; reduced turnover rate from 15% to 7% annually.
  • Efficiently managed $1.5M of inventory with a net loss of .5%, a company low.
  • Exceeded store sales goal of $750,000 by 5%, a company first.

 

Keep it Short

Based on the all resumes we’ve been asked to update we can confidently say that your resume is too long!  We spend a lot of time culling dull information and needless detail from resumes until we have a concise piece of work that is as short as possible.  People are amazed that we can take their 3-4 page resumes and trim it down to 1, maybe 2 pages.  It is our finding that if your resume is too long people won’t read it, if it goes into too many un-relatable details people won’t read it.  Keep your resume as short as possible, don’t use long sentences or lengthy descriptions.  If you are writing your resume try to craft it so that anyone one the street could read it quickly and so that most everything you’ve done would make sense to them.  Obviously, there are some professions that would necessitate industry related terminology that may only make sense to a hiring manager within that industry but in general you want to keep your resume short and concise.

 

Details

While it may be the case in some instances where your resume is merely a formality and your foot is already well inside door, we take the time with our resumes and suggest that you do the same with paying mind to every detail imaginable.  This goes for formatting, spacing, overall visual balance, spelling, grammar, punctuation, margins, etc.  If you are claiming to be a detail-oriented person on your resume and your resume doesn’t back that up because you’ve been inconsistent with your use of punctuation, you may be really letting yourself down and it may be a reason you are not getting the phone calls for interviews you were hoping for.  Read your resume, leave, come back later and read it again.  Have a friend or family member read and critique it.  Then, read it again!  Extensive proofreading will be a huge help and should set you apart from others who don’t take the same time and care.

 

Summary

While it should be easy for anyone to put together a resume that explains their work history, there is a lot more to it.  Books, workshops, online tutorials, and professional resume writers have all been borne out of the need to have a great resume to land that new job.  This is all the truer today as there seems to be a great deal more competition out there for jobs and that there are many more people hiring a professional for resume writing services.  If you are going to write your own resume we hope that you take our experience and suggestions to heart and to not be afraid to contact us at Power Writers USA if you need any help.