Learn Cover Letter Essentials

Ever wondered or panicked about how to put together a cover letter or cover email to support your job application. No need to worry anymore. In this section, I will share in brief, what I have called ‘Cover Letter Essentials’. Within this context, they are things or items that should not be found missing in your job application cover letter or cover emails.

It is important to note that while some recruiters are moving towards online application (which require applicants to complete job applications in an online platform, sometimes without the need for a cover letter), a large percentage of recruiters or employers still use the not too old email job application approach. This article provides tips on what to include.

So here you are, you just found this exciting opportunity that you think is fit for you, before you click your send button, be careful to note that your cover email or cover letter contains these essentials:

Subject: This can be the position you are applying for, example: Data Analyst. It could also be a phrase ‘Application For the Position of a Data Analyst’.  Avoid leaving this section empty, especially if it is an application through email;  use of generic terms such as ‘Job Title’ or ‘Application’ is neither a good practice nor will it put you in good light. Such words  would also mean nothing to a recruiter or hiring manager who is probably reviewing hundreds of emails for several positions at the same time. Generic words as subject could also mean that yours could be an unsolicited application, which may be ignored.

Introduction: Do a brief introduction – not necessarily stating your name, but a line to express your interest in the advertised role with specific mention to the role.

Body of Letter: Here is your opportunity to pitch. Briefly explain your experience and skills in relation to the role. Make it brief and no more than five to six lines.

Closing: A line to express appreciation to the recipient or let him/her know your interest in further discussion is a good way to close. An example: ‘I thank you for your time and look forward to receiving your response’.

Signature: Like in a standard official letter, always close your cover email or cover letter with a closing salutation and your name as signature. Example of closing salutations include – Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, Kind Regards, and Best Regards.

There you have them. Cover letter and cover email essentials. Be sure to modify within the context of recruitment practice in your country and remember to use them when next the opportunity arises.

Conclusion: Job application is your first step to be in front of the recruiter, albeit online and on a screen, make sure you represent yourself well and never miss out on the essentials.

Next, I recommend, make your email or letter brief, except there is specific requirement for word or character length, do not write very lengthy cover email or letters.

But also very importantly, read the job application guidelines and follow the instructions provided.

Got questions, comments or experience to share, please do so in comments section below or hit the contact button.

My best wishes in your career journey.

How to Prepare for Job Interviews – Trends You Need to Know

If you recently attended job interview in a structured organisation, you would notice the continuously changing trends in the things that recruiters or recruiting organisations look out during interviews.

The business world is constantly changing so the players frequently adjust how they navigate to be able to fit, compete and survive. If you are looking to fit yourself in the business world, it is important that you equip yourself with how to make your interview a success and the constantly evolving trends in the labour market.

A successful interview boots your moral and confidence and sends positive signals to your emtions and is great for your mental health. On the other hand, an unsuccessful interview does the opposite: it is demoralising, can affect your self esteem and mental if not properly managed. It could make you to begin to doubt your capability and the confidence you have built overtime. I write from my personal experience with job search and interviews.

So if you scaled through the CV review and shortlist hurdles and finally here you are: a call or an email for an opportunity to further compete for the job, you want to put your best foot forward. I deliberately, use the word compete, yes that is what the entire job search cycle including interview is – competition.

If you are in this state, congratulations, you are a step forward. Here are some tips for you:

  • Research the Company to know its culture and prepare to discuss how you fit when related questions are raised. This because recruiters and company owners are looking for great fits technically, but more so culturally.
  • Find out more information about behavioural and attitudinal interview questions from the internet including professional platforms like LinkedIn. Read and rehearse as many of these questions as possible. Recruiters are interested in the ‘person’ who finally take up the job – will be or she be able to fit with the team or with the organisation’s way of doing things.
  • Some top questions you need to know how to answer include: tell me about your self, your leadership style especially for managerial positions; how you work in a team; communication style or skill, how you work under pressure, conflict resolution skill, work delivery approach, top past achievements that you are proud of, why do you want this job or why do you want to work with the company….. and more.
  • You may also get opportunity to be asked technical questions, it is important to read up the job description and connect your experience and skills to the job you are interviewing for and be able to relate it to how you can add value to the organisation.
  • Note that each company is different and therefore the things they look for could be slightly or largely different, such that no interview questions could be the same, except for the generic – tell me about yourself.  Therefore, your safe net, will be to research, read and rehearse as many interview questions as possible each time you submit a job application or way before you get an interview opportunity.
  • Finally, remember that it is a competition, if does not turn out as you expect, learn from the process and take necessary corrective measures, do not be hard on yourself, but try to dust up quickly and keep pushing your application out. Employers are looking for people, be assured your day will come.

Best wishes in your career journey.

Got more questions or experience to share? Remember to hit the contact link or comment below.

Recruitment Myths You Need To Know As You Search for Employment [Part 2]

In the first part of this article we looked at six (6) recruitment myths job seekers need to beware of in their search for employment. I understand the challenges job seekers face in trying to land that dream job and have shared this as part of my goal to make job search easier for people. In this edition, I discuss the concluding part of the article – six additional myths (Myths 8 – 12) below. So let’s go.

Myth 8: An Unsolicited Application Will Receive Attention:  

A single recruitment process consumes hours and can take several days or weeks.  As a result, attention and time is usually given to on-going recruitment and less if any to unsolicited job applications.  Some people do get lucky, but the chances are slim, especially with most organisations that have a policy against unsolicited applications. 

My suggestion, before you submit an unsolicited application, research to ensure that it is a position such an organisation advertises very often.   Example, an unsolicited job application to an organisation that frequently advertises for a software developer or a customer relationship officer has more chances than a position that is rarely advertised by such an organisation.  Trust me, I have erred in this severally as an applicant, and now we receive several unsolicited job applications for positions our clients are not seeking and we are unable to address every single one of them.

Myth 7: My Job Application Gets Noticed But Ignored:

Again from Myths 1 and 2 discussed in Part 1, we have seen how it is possible for job applications not to get noticed. Recruiters do not deliberately ignore applications. Remember organisations are run by humans and operate in environments, so things happen. When a candidate’s job application does not get noticed, it does not always mean that he/she is a bad fit, it was just not noticed and someone was chosen.  It is always best in such a circumstance, to move on fast to the next opportunity.

Myth 9: Applicant’s Work Experience and Qualifications Makes Him or Her Fit:

Candidates are usually surprised when they receive a rejection email, especially if they have performed well at an interview with a line-up of work experience and qualifications also going for them.  

Great work experience and qualifications are not the only ticket that gets us a job offer (also see Myth 12 below).  There are several factors that organisations consider in a recruitment decision.  This means that a candidate may rate high in some criteria, but miss out in some key ones and therefore will not be chosen.  Again, such a situation does not make such a person unsuitable for all jobs; he/she has just not been found suitable as presented by the organisation’s current need, situation or circumstance. 

Myth 10: Recruitment Decision is Taken Speedily:

Things happen for individuals and organisations.  For instance, an organisation may interview with a contract or expansion, then hit roadblock internally or externally. There are also instances where circumstances put organisations in a state of indecisions after they have identified suitable candidates.  

Such and many other factors can cause a lack of or delay in communication especially where intricate confidential matters are involved.  Say, a key person leaves an organisation, company goes bankrupt, company is in debt, office politics or bureaucracy, change in organisational direction, sudden awareness of limited budget or delay in a particular project execution, environmental issues causing change in business priority.  

Delicate matters such as any of these could delay recruitment decisions much longer than even an organisation or a recruiter anticipates. These are partly reasons why some candidates get called for employment six months after they have forgotten about such a job opening or never get called even after they have reached the final rigorous interview stage.

Myth 11: Recruiters Should Settle for Something:

I see some job applicants apply for jobs where they are indirect fits. People call this, trying luck.   Truth is that a recruiter will focus his/her limited hours on candidates that are potentially fits.   

My advice to avoid this trap is to properly read the job announcement and apply for jobs where you meet the criteria as near as possible and where your skills and potentials give you better chances.  There are organisations in need of your skills, find them.  

Myth 12: Any Interview That Does Not End with a Job Offer Means Failure:

I have seen CEOs make recruitment decisions on the basis of ‘connection’ with a candidate; or a candidate’s likely fit into an existing team or culture. None of these has anything to do with a candidate’s competency, but an organisation’s peculiar need and circumstance.  When this happens, such a candidate was just found unfit in line with an organisation’s core need or issues, but could be a great fit somewhere else.

As mentioned above, things happen for people and organisations that completely disrupt organisational plans and impact recruitment processes and decisions.  

It is important not to allow interview outcomes to define who you are or affect your self-esteem.  Learn from any mistake you may have identified and improve your skills for future opportunities.

Therefore, for every interview that does not end with an offer, find the job and organisation where you will be a fit. Your opportunity awaits you.

In Conclusion, you can manage your emotions and expectations better when you remember that there are lots of human factors, environmental, socio-economic, political, governmental and natural situations that go on in organisations;  that could impact how your job application is handled.  If one door did not open, simply knock the next, and keep knocking till a door is open for you.  

Here you have them, 12 Recruitment Myths You Need To Know as You Search for Employment. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but has covered some important points of note.  This post is not written in defense of recruiters, but to give a preview of issues around recruitment that will help persons seeking employment better manage their expectations and more importantly their emotional well-being.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

My best wishes in your career journey.

Kind Regards,

Recruitment Myths You Need to Know As You Search for Employment [Part I]

In the course of my career, I have been both an applicant and a recruiter.  So I understand what it means to apply several times, wait at the other end in anticipation of a response that may never come.  Now as a recruiter, I see through the lenses – the high unemployment rate, the volume of applications, the search for talents to meet Clients’ needs, the time constraints and more. 

Like me, most of us have read several critiques about recruiters on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook with regards to responses to job applications.  Understandably, feedback is being sought by applicants at different stages of the recruitment process – application and the various interview stages.  Most times the perception of Recruiters by talent holders (job seekers) are seen more as “they against us” than as a partnership’.  

In my quest to help professionals in their unemployment and job search journey, I have put together recruitment myths that job seekers need to know or remember as they search. This I believe would help persons looking for employment to manage their application process, expectations and emotions better.  This edition covers Part 1 in this edition. 

Myth 1: Recruiters See Every Application:  

This can be a painful truth, but Recruiters do not see every application that hits their in-box. First, some organisations use software that utilizes keywords to select or screen out candidates.  In this case, a Recruiter would only review the applications of candidates identified or selected by the software and engage with the shortlist.

There is also – Spam or Junk Mail issue. I have seen quite a number of job applications in our Junk Mail Folder several months after we had concluded a recruitment process. So why some candidates are waiting for responses, the junk mail is sadly holding back their applications! 

Myth 2: Recruiters Read All Job Application: 

I know what it means to carefully craft your application, perfect your CV and apply for a job where you believe you are a top fit; then nothing but silence follows. 

Similar to number Myth (1) above, Recruiters do not read every application they receive. Here is why. Depending on the recruitment policy of an organisation: example, ‘applications are processed as they arrive’, ‘shortlisted at the end of the application deadline’, or reviewed on a first come basis.  

What any of these options means is that, if a Recruiter reviews the first 500 applications within the timeline allotted for the recruitment process, and finds the number of required candidates for interview, he/she would proceed to the interview stage, and if a suitable candidate is found, closes the recruitment process.  In such a case, chances that the 501 to about 2000 applications would be reviewed after selection become slim. 

My suggestion is, if you want your application to receive attention, submit it within the first few days of a job announcement, and not a few weeks after, and definitely not after the application deadline. 

Myth 3: Recruiters Are Against Job Applicants:  

In real sense, recruitment is a partnership or a search for it.  Recruiters are on assignment to deliver and seek candidates to achieve their set target; candidates are on a journey for opportunities to utilize their talents, and go through Recruiters to secure it.   

Recruitment is like any deal or transaction in the business world; and so it is done by following a process and a goal in mind.   

It is worth noting that every recruitment assignment comes with specific instructions or specifications to be followed. A quick look at the job advert will give you a hint as to the specifications a recruiter has been given; and whether you are a likely fit.

Where a candidate is not contacted, it is possible that the candidate did not particularly fit the specifications or that any of the circumstances described in this article is the case. 

However, it does not make such a candidate a bad fit for all jobs. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, learn to dust up quickly and look for the next available opportunity, till you find yours.  Recruiters are for and not against talent holders, both need each other to accomplish their objectives.  

Myth 4: Recruiters Ought to Respond to All Applications:

My experience shows that it is possible to respond to only so much (except through automated responses for incoming applications). During reviews, it is still possible to miss a candidate in the long list of emails.  

Also reference to Myths 1 and 2 above, we see why Recruiters are unlikely to respond to every application. 

To help manage your expectations and emotions, during job search, my suggestion is, if after six weeks of submitting a job application you do not get a call or mail, close your mind to that application, and focus your efforts on new job openings.  But make sure you do your part – see my article on how to handle job application process for some guide: http://afomauchendu.com/2021/02/23/how-to-handle-job-application-process-in-a-professional-way/

Myth 5: Recruitment is Indefinite: 

As we recruit for Clients, I have seen job applications for advertised roles hit our mail box several months after we completed recruitment.

My view is that applying for closed job opportunities is a waste of effort, diminishes resources and increases emotional roller coaster.

So before you apply for a job, check the job announcement date. Except for a reoccurring position or peculiar situations, recruiters are likely to close a recruitment process within six to ten weeks of a job advert.

Myth 6: Presentation Does Not Matter: 

This has been well emphasized by experts. My take is: see the job application process as a competition. Or imagine it to be a beauty pageant, would you not put your best and look your best? 

Presentation does matter. It is important to present your job application documents in as much a professional way as possible. Your CV, cover email or cover letter, all should be professionally written and properly presented.   

Summarily, in the Part 1 of this article, we have looked at 6 Recruitment Myths. These are the realities of some recruitment environments. As every Recruiter faces different task scenarios; some similar and some more peculiar, it is not possible to cover all. However, remember that in every job, there are human and technological factors; and that it is the same with recruitment.  Watch this space for part 2 of the Recruitment Myths as we look at more scenarios.  

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

Interested in Online Jobs? Here Are Things To Do

Recently, I checked my website data analytics for my esteemed readers’ search interest, and discovered that quite a number of people are looking for online job opportunities.  So I thought to share a bit of these to help someone out there.

The high rate of interest in online jobs (also referred to as remote or work from home – WFB jobs) is understandable: technology has made it easy for people to seek for skills to support their businesses from any part of the world.  Secondly, the outcome of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic brought increased need for a remote work culture and high unemployment rate (with lots of businesses closed and on-site job opportunities limited). People with prior freelancing and remote work experience were quick to adapt and earn.  Findings show that a lot of remote working freelancers in some niches had their income doubled in 2020 while the world was at a standstill!

Online Job Options:

I will share some online job options I have found very useful and for some, I will include my referral link.

Appen Job Platform: Appen has been operating for about 20 years and accepts contributors from around the globe. So irrespective of your country, you can work and earn with Appen. Appen offers a variety of projects, from few minutes videos with a smartphone or computer webcam, to transcription, surveys or mystery shopping. There is always something to earn from in Appen. Click link here https://connect.appen.com/qrp/public/jobs?uref=b501dc5780934542d05af9fb50c7a1d0 to sign up and start earning with Appen.

Surveys: I have found answering online surveys quite useful.  Most surveys are regionalized (participants register by  country, and answer surveys for research focused majorly on their countries or for people that live in their countries or certain locations within their country.

However, some survey platforms do not accept international participants or panelists; it is majorly for people within a particular country or region.

To be successful in receiving surveys, it is important to ensure your profile is completed and up-to-date; survey responses are usually segmented within a particular demography, depending on the research subject.

Having tried quite a handful, I find these two survey platforms helpful as they accept more international audience (people from different countries); provides consistent surveys and pays promptly. If interested in earning through surveys, click my affiliate links  (for Mobrog and Ysense) below to get started.

Mobrog: https://www.mobrog.com/en/paid-online-surveys/sign-up-england.html?membership_promotion=0&i_invite=8289390-60046dc

Ysense: https://www.ysense.com/?rb=60286209

Caution: Survey platforms may not earn you a huge income, but it does bring in  bits and bits you can build on; and a few dollars that can come handy when you need it.

Remote/Online Job Platforms:

For US, Canada and European residents, you will find FlexJobs quite useful for online jobs; another useful platform is Remote.co . Remote.co has job openings for international audience and therefore helpful if you are outside the US, Canada or Europe. Both platforms share job vacancies (for several roles and and industries) from businesses in the countries and regions I mentioned above; and some of their top job advertisers are fortune 500 companies. As you know there are several online job platforms such as Upwork. But I have selected these two for the category of online jobs they cover which includes – full time, part-time and freelancing online jobs.

Another useful platform is ‘Make a Living Writing’ but this is for writers only. Anchored by the founder Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing helps freelance writers earn better through various training, advocacy and exposure. They also offer a membership only writing jobs for members.

Recommended Actions: 

If you are interested in online jobs, here are some tips:

  • Start your search within your region/country.
  • Explore feasible opportunities outside your country (where it is specified that the client or the company) is open to work with people from any part of the world.
  • Beware of scam sites – that lures job seekers with too good to be true earning options.
  • Have a good Resume as you would for a physical job.
  • Get your Resume ready before you begin your online application.
  • Be patient and do thorough research, including online reviews before you sign-up with any online job platform.
  • Apply for jobs where you have most skills and ensure that your resume is adapted to suit the jobs you apply.
  • Find the platform and job that works for your situation and circumstance.

Online jobs remain viable employment options. But to land them require lots of efforts, professionalism, time, patience and commitment as would the search for physical jobs.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

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