Your Resume Cover Letter: It’s Not About YOU

Your Resume Cover Letter: It's Not About YOU

You’ve heard about a fantastic job, and you feel you’ve got as much chance of getting it as anyone else, so it’s time to write a resume cover letter.

You grit your teeth, because you’re determined to get it right. They’ll love you, and decide that you’re perfect for the job.

Maybe. If you’ll forget about yourself for a moment.

Big, Important Tip: Forget About YOU, Focus on THEM

From Penelope Trunk (read her article on cover letters, it’s good):

“Someone has actually said that they are qualified for the job because it’s a good commute for them.”

Yep. Sadly, people do that sort of thing all the time, and not just in job hunting, either. They focus on their needs, rather than what they can do for someone else.

The last time I read a batch of resumes, I wanted to stab myself in the head with a fork, to stop the pain. That’s why lots of companies say the heck with it, and get you to fill in online forms; no one wants to read resumes.

Focus on What You Bring to the Company

I write bios and resumes which get people hired. Here’s how I do it. I list my client’s attributes. Usually it’s a long list; many more than the client can come up with for himself. It’s hard to see yourself as others see you.

By this time, I’ve researched the company, and know quite a lot about them. So I cross out irrelevant attributes, and focus on the two or three of my client’s attributes which directly relate to the job.

I make sure that those are highlighted in the resume itself.

(Writing a resume is a copywriting task; you’re writing to persuade.)

You’ve Got a Personality, Let It Shine

One thing: be wary of online cover letter samples. Most are me, me, me… They sound self-satisfied and precious, verging on pompous. Consider the poor soul who’ll glance at these letters. (No one will read them, life’s too short.)

All that “me, me, me” belongs in the resume, NOT in the cover letter. Create an overview in your resume, which highlights why you’re perfect for the job at Company X. Make this specific. You don’t want the HR person to think: “Ooooh look. He did a printout just for us.” Each and every resume you send out needs to be specific to a company.

You’ve got choices with a cover letter. You can make it strictly business. You write a few sentences about the company, and why you think the company is so wonderful. Then you you say you’d like to be considered for the position, and that’s all.

Alternatively, and this is my preferred option, you can let yourself go, and just be yourself. Write whatever you like. Be enthusiastic, and honest.

A Final Tip: Read, and Follow the Instructions

Always, always, read the instructions if you’re applying for a job, no matter whether it’s online or offline. Read the instructions once, and then read them again, and make a list of the things you need to do. (I’m serious.)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

It’s All About You: 5 Tips to Help You To Make Social Media Work For You

It’s All About You: 5 Tips to Help You To Make Social Media Work For You

Is social media working for you? Often, it just isn’t. You blog and tweet away, and no one cares. Consider this: your social media contacts can’t care, if they don’t know who you are.

Complete your profile on the networks you choose. Add an image, and a capsule bio. No matter how intriguing your updates, it’s impossible to engage with a blank slate.

Tip 1. “Who Are You?”: introduce yourself.

In “This Is Me”: Quick Ways to Get Found With a Profile Page, I said:

“Who are you?” That’s the most common question when someone sees your name online. You need to be able to share who you are… A profile page is your online calling card…. It can tie all your social networking sites together, to build a picture of who you are, without a website.

If you don’t have a website or blog, create a profile page. You can do that in minutes. Then link to your profile page from your social media profiles on the networks.

On the other hand, if you do have a website, update your About page, but first, create a positioning statement.

Take a sheet of paper, and briefly, write who your audience is, and how you help them. You should also include the ways in which you can’t help them. Once you’re clear in your own mind about this, draft your positioning statement in a few simple sentences.

Begin your statement with this phrase: “My perfect customer is…”

Introduce yourself on your About page, targeting the audience you described in your positioning statement.

Tip 2. Know what you want.

What results do you want from your social media interactions?

Maybe you want “traffic” to your website. However, with 27 million pieces of content shared daily, consider focusing on conversions:

Measuring the effectiveness of your content via traffic is easy, so that’s what everyone does. Instead, consider measuring via conversion rates, rather than traffic. If you do that, you’ll start thinking differently about your content.

Write down what you want from social media, and create a plan to help you to get it.

Tip 3. You’re an expert. Show it. Help.

You’re the expert on your business. I’m sure that when someone calls you, and asks you a question about your business, you talk. And talk. Responding is easy, when someone’s asking you questions.

On social media, it’s just as easy. Questions are asked on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the rest, all day long. Answer questions. Help.

You can answer questions on your blog too: reveal who you are, and what you do.

Tip 4. Be there. Be consistent.

Consistency counts on social media:

When I mentioned Twitter, the client snapped: “We tried it. Social media doesn’t work!”

I’ve heard that before. After the meeting, I checked the contentious Twitter account – what there was of it. Twenty random tweets over three months.

You don’t need to let social media take over your life. Decide how many minutes a day or a week you’ll devote to social media, and be there, at the times you’ve scheduled. Apps like Buffer can schedule your updates, so that you can post when your audience is online.

Tip 5. Pick a network or two. You can’t be everywhere.

Explore the various networks, to discover where your audience congregates. Be sure to check your competitors’ social media accounts. Where are they spending their time?

Then, pick one or two networks. You can’t be everywhere, and you don’t need to be.

You can make social media work for you: it all starts with showing who you are: create a branding statement and bio, then engage on your chosen social networks. And most importantly – don’t forget the “social” aspect of social media marketing… have fun, and promote your business at the same time. :-)

Need help? Contact me.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Brand You: Be Memorable, Create Your Own Bio

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Brand yourself: create your branding statement and bio today 

When I’m guiding new copywriters I’ve found that they have more difficulty with creating bios than with anything else. They can’t see their own worth.

This is probably why the branding services I offer, at Freelance Resume Copywriter | Executive Bio Writer | Professional Resumes, Biographies and Company Histories are so popular. I help you to:

“* Identify the major components of the brand called YOU

* Mould them into a value-statement, identifying the unique qualities you bring to any position (there’s only one YOU)

* Match your personal branding statement with a tagline, elevator pitch, your profile, your resume, cover letters and…”

Everyone needs someone to point out their achievements so that they can create an effective bio.

What’s a bio, and why do you need one?

Basically, a bio describes who you are, what you do, and what interests you. You should create several bios. Indeed, if you’re creating a proposal or are applying for a job, you need to create a bio tailored specifically for that purpose.

Your bio can be a mere 160 characters long if you’re creating a Twitter bio. The maximum length is around 200 words. These days, no one has the time to read a bio that’s an autobiography.

But why do you need a bio? Your bio is an introduction to you. It tells people why they should pay attention to you.

A bio tells people who you are. Online or offline, you need credibility. Whenever I visit a site that’s new to me, I check out the About page if I’m interested in what the site offers.

In essence your bio sells you. It’s the foundation of your brand.

What to do now: create a bio if you haven’t already done so. If you have, review your bio. Add your new achievements. If you’re active in social media, create a social media bio.

You can use your bio everywhere online. Offline, add your tagline to your business card, so that you’re memorable.

Grab the most salient points from your bio, and memorize them. Then you’ll be ready for the round of end-of-year parties, because you’ll have smooth answer whenever you’re asked: “What do you do?”

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: Gui Trento via photopin cc

Copywriting: Be Guided By Your Branding Statement

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Each year, I spend a considerable amount of time writing bios and branding statements for my clients.

I do it for myself too — I have a bio which I review twice a year.

I’ve found that these reviews are powerful, because they’re a great guidance mechanism. If you compare your branding statement with your past activities, it shows you where you’ve gone off course, and offers inspiration, too.

For example, I have an extremely short tagline, which is founded on my branding statement. It’s “Experience Counts.”

My tagline sums up my branding statement. It differentiates me from other copywriters, and it guides me too. It reminds me that while I may have 30 years of experience, that’s useless if it’s one year of experience repeated 30 times. I need to keep growing, keep stretching, and keep developing my skills.

This article sums up what a branding statement is and what it can do for you, Write a Brand Statement | Corporate Eye:

“A brand statement is more than a tagline.  It’s an expression of where the company is and a tool to guide the company in the future.  The brand statement is also the touchstone that every business decision should circle back to in order to ensure efforts don’t run counter to it.  For example, if a new product is under consideration, run it up against the brand statement to ensure it’s complementary.  In short, your brand statement can act as a consistency test to ensure your business efforts promote your brand rather than confusing consumers and hurting it.”

Have you written a branding statement? Do you review it?

If you haven’t, take the time to write a branding statement. Create a short tagline which sums up your branding statement. Remember that this statement is for YOU, as much as it is for marketing.

You’ll be amazed at how much your branding statement can do for you: it’s your touchstone for success.