The importance of a cover letter

Plenty of myths about job hunting abound these days. If you buy into them, you may end up delaying or even sinking your job-finding prospects, making your career management efforts needlessly more difficult.

Career transition services can make your job search much more efficient and fruitful, but not even the best career transition assistance can overcome the negative effects of believing half-truths about looking for employment. Anchor your search in what is real about today’s job market, and beware of some of the most pervasive fiction about job hunting today.

Myth # 1: Avoid job hunting during the summer or December

Looking for a job is a four-season activity. When it’s hotter, the business world loosens up and is less likely to be involved in all-consuming projects. The more casual attitude combined with a less stressful environment makes summer great for contacting potential employers.

Toward the holidays employers are often in a hurry to staff up for the next year, when new budgets are in place. Those seasonal parties are always good for networking, too.

Myth #2: Don’t bother with a cover letter

Does the application specifically instruct you not to include a cover letter? No? Then you better write one and send it in. Your resume should list your work accomplishments, your skills, your expertise, your educational background, among other information. Your cover letter is where you show how you envision bringing all of that to the job in question, and to the company.

This letter also demonstrates how well you can express yourself in words, a skill employers want and too many job candidates lack. Do not skip over the hard work of crafting a great cover letter with specifics, or the hiring manager may never even open your fancy C.V.

Myth #3: There are no jobs

Sure the job market has been extremely challenging over the past few years, but there are always jobs. You simply are not aware of them. Your job right now is to become aware of what’s available in your market, and in other markets if relocation is feasible for you. If you find open jobs but lack necessary skills, seek out appropriate training, such as an apprenticeship or certification program. In the course of acquiring new skills or education, you also acquire new connections that can lead to your next job. Be willing to work at getting work.

Myth #4: Only the smartest, most qualified candidate is hired

Not necessarily. Even the most impressive smarts and qualifications won’t suffice if the person cannot fit into the company’s culture. Do not make the mistake of not knowing enough about the employer to have a good idea of what it’s like to work there. This means doing your best to interview current and former employees before you even accept that job interview. Joining a business that is not a good fit for you can be a disastrous career move.

Myth# 5: No need for extra effort at a temporary job

If you land temporary employment, your attitude often determines whether or not it leads to something longer term. Many companies specifically let new hires know that a position is “temp to perm.” Even if no one says so, however, put in your best-possible effort. You show the company your value while expanding the pool of people who know what you can do and may be willing to refer you to a permanent job.

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