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Job Search Essentials, Resume, Cover Letter & Interview Tips

Updated: Feb 6

Sketch of a girl on her computer

Looking for a new job is never easy and can be time-consuming, but understanding the essentials will help you be successful and confident in your approach. First, You need a good resume showcasing why someone should hire you. You need to articulate data-driven results and the value you bring to an organization. Companies these days are also very interested in soft skills. Do you have a growth mindset? Are you hard-working, dependable, and a team player with emotional intelligence - these soft skills go a long way. With the speed of digital transformation happening in businesses today, most companies want to understand that you can get results that align with business objectives; you are a self-starter with fresh ideas who has the confidence to fail fast and learn.

To build a successful resume that effectively showcases your experience, skills, and business value, you will need the following information:

Contact Information: Your full name, address, phone number, and professional email address. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and easy to find.

Resume Objective/Summary: A concise statement at the top of your resume highlighting your career goals, relevant experience, and the value you can bring to a potential employer.

Work Experience: A detailed list of your work history, starting with your most recent or current position and working backward. Include the job title, company name, location, and dates of employment. Describe your key responsibilities and achievements in each role, focusing on quantifiable accomplishments and specific contributions.

Skills and Expertise: Create a section that lists the specific skills and expertise you possess that are relevant to the job you are applying for. This includes technical skills, soft skills, certifications, languages, and other relevant abilities.

Education: Provide details of your educational background, including the institution's name, degree earned, major, and graduation year. If you have relevant certifications or additional training, include them here.

Achievements and Awards: Showcase any notable achievements, awards, or recognition you have received throughout your career. These accolades can demonstrate your exceptional performance and dedication.

Projects and Publications: If applicable, mention any significant projects you have worked on or publications you have contributed to that showcase your expertise and industry knowledge.

Professional Associations: Include any memberships in relevant professional associations or industry organizations.

Keywords and Action Verbs: Use industry-specific keywords and action verbs to describe your accomplishments and experiences. This can help your resume get noticed by applicant tracking systems (ATS) and recruiters.

Quantify Results: Whenever possible, quantify your achievements with numbers, percentages, or metrics. This adds credibility to your claims and demonstrates your impact in previous roles.

Customization: Tailor your resume for each job application. Highlight the most relevant experiences and skills that match the job requirements, and adjust your resume objective/summary accordingly.

References: It's not necessary to include references on your resume. State, "References available upon request." Save the reference list for when employers specifically request it.

Formatting: Keep the resume clean, organized, and easy to read. Use bullet points to present information in a concise and structured manner. Utilize bolding or italics to emphasize key points, but avoid using excessive colors or fonts.

Proofreading: Ensure your resume is free from grammatical errors and typos. A well-proofread resume reflects attention to detail and professionalism.

By gathering and presenting this information effectively, your resume will showcase your qualifications and business value, positioning you as a strong candidate for potential employers. Remember to keep it relevant, concise, and focused on demonstrating your ability to impact a company positively.

Now that you have a resume representing your ability to drive business results let's move on to the cover letter.

Here is the essential structure for a good cover letter. To write a cover letter for a job application, you will need the following information:

Job Description: Read and thoroughly understand the job description for the position you're applying for. Note the key responsibilities, required qualifications, and any specific skills or experiences mentioned.

Your Resume/CV: Review your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to have a comprehensive understanding of your work history, educational background, skills, and accomplishments.

Company Information: Research the company you are applying to. Understand their values, mission, products/services, and recent developments. This will help you tailor your cover letter to demonstrate your alignment with the company's goals.

Contact Information: Ensure you have the hiring manager or recipient's correct name, title, and contact information. Personalizing the cover letter with this information is crucial to show attention to detail.

Introduction: Gather details about yourself, including your full name, address, email address, and phone number. Include this information at the beginning of the cover letter.

Salutation: If possible, address the letter to the hiring manager or the appropriate contact person. If you can't find a specific name, use a generic salutation like "Dear Hiring Manager."

Opening Paragraph: Write a compelling introduction, mentioning the job title you are applying for and expressing your excitement and interest in the position and the company.

Body of the Letter: The cover letter's main body should highlight your relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences that match the job requirements. Use specific examples to demonstrate your achievements and contributions in previous roles.

Skills and Qualifications: Mention the skills and qualifications you possess that make you an ideal fit for the job. Link these skills to the requirements mentioned in the job description.

Company Fit: Showcase your understanding of the company's goals and values and explain how your background aligns with the company culture.

Closing Paragraph: Summarize your enthusiasm for the role, reiterate your interest in contributing to the company's success, and express gratitude for considering your application.

Complimentary Close: End the letter with a professional closing, such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards."

Signature: If submitting a physical copy, leave space between the closing and your typed name to sign the letter manually.

Remember to keep the cover letter concise, well-structured, and error-free. Tailor it to the specific job and company, making a compelling case for why you are the best candidate for the position.

Following these best practices, you are sure to get an interview. Here are the top 8 best interview tips to help you land a job:

Research the Company: Thoroughly research the company before the interview. Understand their products, services, mission, and company culture. This knowledge will show your genuine interest and help tailor your responses to align with their values.

Prepare for Common Questions: Anticipate and practice answering common interview questions, such as "Tell me about yourself," "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and "Why do you want to work here?" Being well-prepared will boost your confidence during the interview.

Showcase Your Achievements: Use specific examples from your previous experiences to demonstrate your skills and achievements. Quantify your accomplishments when possible to showcase your impact and results.

Ask Thoughtful Questions: Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the company, the team, and the role. This demonstrates your interest in the position and desire to learn more about the organization.

Dress Appropriately: If possible, dress professionally for the interview, following the company's dress code. A polished appearance shows respect and professionalism.

Practice Good Body Language: Maintain eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and sit up straight during the interview. Positive body language helps create a good impression and conveys confidence.

Highlight Soft Skills: Besides technical skills, emphasize your soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving. Employers highly value these qualities.

Follow-Up with a Thank-You: Send a thank-you email to the interviewer within 24 hours after the interview. Express gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position. A well-crafted thank-you note reinforces your enthusiasm and professionalism.

Bonus Tip:

- Practice Mock Interviews: Consider doing mock interviews with a friend, family member, or career coach. Mock interviews can help refine your answers, improve delivery, and reduce nervousness.

Remember, each interview is a chance to showcase your qualifications and fit for the role. By thoroughly preparing and presenting yourself confidently, you increase your chances of landing the desired job. Good luck navigating your job search, landing your dream career, and finding happiness. The 2B Bolder Community is here cheering you on.

If you're looking for more inspiration, listen to one of the many podcast interviews with INCREDIBLE women sharing their career stories and unique perspectives on how they define success and have overcome challenges unique to women. Read profiles of our featured women in business and tech who share their career insights and advice. Sign up for the 2B Bolder newsletter & stay connected, and see what's new. Sincerely, Mary Killelea


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