This post is phase two of creating a great cover letter. It utilizes an actual vacancy announcement to take you step-by-step through the process of analyzing the announcement to determine if your background is a good fit for the position in which you are interested. Please visit often for new posts as we take you through our (five) step process.
In my first post on writing a great cover letter, I promised to share with you how I keep my job search organized. First, you can probably tell that I do not like a lot of paper so I started out using an Excel spreadsheet which I created. It became too time-consuming to maintain so I developed an Access database which also became to time-consuming to maintain. Too much paper and the lack of an effective organization strategy not only clutters my surroundings, but my thoughts as well, and it reduces accessibility. My current strategy mostly requires me to drag files from one location to another, or to save a file to a new location. Let me share, with you, my seven (7) fool-proof secret steps to maintaining an organized job search:
- First, I create a folder in Gmail, Outlook, etc. called Job Search and the year (i.e., CBO job search 2016);
- I then create sub folders under the Job Search parent folder (i.e., Announcements applied to; Announcements to apply to; Phone Interviews; In-Person Interviews; Remove from Consideration; Resumes, Offers, etc.);
- When I see an announcement that I want to apply to, or think that I want to apply to, I copy the entire announcement and paste it into the body of a blank email and send it to myself. This enables me to easily access the details of the position from anywhere. Nothing makes you feel less prepared as a job seeker than to receive that long-awaited call from a potential employer and not have ready access to the vacancy announcement that provides the details of the job that you are interested in. I have received phone calls from recruiters and was unable to readily locate the vacancy announcement that they expected me to be able to discuss intelligently. Although it was not their intention to do so, I became nervous and did not perform as well as I would have with the relevant information in front of me;
- When I complete the application process for a position that I have placed in the “To Apply to” folder, I pull the announcement into the “Applied to” folder;
- I review the “To Apply to” folder at least once per week and I delete any announcement that been in that folder for more than two (2) weeks and I have not applied to it. Lets face it, we don’t get to apply to every position that peaks our interest. My weekly review of this folder allows me to read the announcement again, with a clear mind to determine if it is really an opportunity that I would like to pursue.
- Any announcement that I have applied to and have not heard from in six(6) months is deleted from the “Applied To” folder.
- I maintain a flash drive with all versions of my resume (Chronological, Functional, Federal, etc.) as my cover letters for the jobs to which I have applied. I also email updated versions to myself in case my flash drive goes missing or gets damaged.
Try this process and see won’t it make keeping track of your job search progress much easier. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think. Until next time…Here’s to your job hunting success!
Header image courtesy of google image search.
I cannot tell you the number of times that an employee has approached me and threatened to go to the Department of Labor because they were not allowed to take their fifteen (15) minute snack or smoke break and/or their meal period. They are surprised when I tell them that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which regulates hours worked, does not require those popular breaks or meal periods.
While the Law does not require these coveted breaks, it does require that they count as compensable, or paid time. Employee’s should remember is that such breaks are a privilege, not a right, so if there employer offers them, they are required to adhere strictly to the stipulations that their employer has established regarding the length of time away from the work area. It employees fail to do so, they can be subject to corrective action if they repeatedly extend their breaks without their supervisor’s approval. On the other hand, meal breaks are for the purpose of completely relieving the employee from work for at least thirty minutes, so that they may eat a regular meal. Because meal breaks are different than snack or smoke breaks, they are considered non work time and are therefore unpaid. The Law requires that an employee who answers phones, responds to emails, or performs almost any work-related duties while on “meal break,” is working while eating and should be compensated by their employer for that time worked.
Some states have their own regulations regarding rest periods and breaks. For a state-by-state breakdown of work breaks or mealtime, visit http://www.workplacefairness.org/breaks_statelaws.
For more information on this topic, visit the US Department of Labor’s website at https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/workhours/breaks.
Image courtesy of google image search.
Who Is Cynthia B. Okonkwo?
I am a wife and a mom who is a people person by heart. I live in metro-Atlanta and work as a Human Resources professional and have over twenty-four years experience in the field. My experience includes Compensation, Training, Recruiting, Employee Relations, Benefits, and Selection Procedure Development; however, Employee Relations is my passion because I enjoy interacting with others and helping them to solve problems. I became interested in Human Resources while on a work-study assignment during my sophomore year in undergraduate school. I chose management as my major because I was not quite certain what I wanted to do after college and I knew that an off-shoot of Business Administration was a safe, general choice that could help me get into a number of career fields. My work-study assignment was as an assistant to the campus Director of Career Services. There, I learned to make cold calls to area businesses to seek out employment opportunities for students and alumni. I also learned how to format vacancy announcements and resumes. Since writing had always been one of my strengths, I enjoyed my assignment so much that I requested to be reassigned to that department for most of the remainder of my undergraduate career. My Director also provided resources on job interview preparation and she allowed me to type resumes for students who did not have one and charge $1 per page to make a few extra bucks.
I got a full-time job immediately after graduation, but it wasn’t in Human Resources; however, I had a Vice President who took me under his wings and allowed me to review employment applications for job openings at the Distribution Center where I worked, so this helped to strengthen my resume. It took me about two and a half years to secure my first full-time job in the field of human resources where I became a trained test developer for the State’s Government Merit System. From there my career has continued to grow.
My blog was borne out of my desire to write a book that provides practical job search tips and advice, from a spiritual, holistic perspective. After having drafted about three chapters, I got busy with grad school and obtained my MBA; got married and started a family. In 2013, I became SPHR (Sr. Professional in Human Resources) certified. I started seeing other people’s blogs, became interested and thought that blogging might be a great alternative, or spring board to completing my book, so here we are today. My sincere hope is that what I write will help someone. Enjoy!