Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Resumes, Cover notes and Keywords

By Michael Pollock

Resumes and cover notes are the first line of attack for job hunting. Here's how Sonia Jairath, Founder and President of Metierlink, a niche recruiting firm, sees it.

"Your cover note gives you the opportunity to highlight why you're the most relevant person for the job. And it provides the way to structure and focus any further conversation." From Jairath's point of view "A good cover note usually indicates that the resume following it will be a good one. It gives me a sense of their writing and communication skills and shows whether they are passionate about what they do."

"Many people may look at your resume," says Jairath. "Some of them may not have the experience to understand what they are looking at  so your introductory paragraph is really important: it should say who you are and what is your pitch. This is most important in connecting the dots for your reader."

"Definitely get advice on your resume," she advises. "Have another pair of eyes look at it, whether it's a friend, or a coach or a resume writer.'

"If you are going after a C-level position, your presentation has to shift to another level. The selected candidate will be representing the company to the outside  so it needs to not only make a clear statement of accomplishments along with a biography, but your writing and communication skills become even more critical."

Keywords are important in a resume  so Jairath suggests that you be specific. Just saying you are a marketer is too general. Searches are made on terms like Search Specialist, Business Development, Web Analytics, and Social Media. If you are after a strategic position then emphasize your strategic insights over your tactical experience. Some roles do require both production management and strategy, so then you do need to show both, to show that you can roll up your sleeves as well as do the thinking.

Candidates need to be covering all their bases: emailing, being part of social networks and working with a recruiter or hiring person. Join networks where you see there are recruiters and hirers and you will be able to get their announcements when they are looking  go to events and make good connections.

Her final words of advice: Be Proactive.

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