Ensuring your resume reaches more people

(Above) Job recruitment sites, like Sarawak Jobs, are great avenues to submit your resume online.

Thanks to the Internet, you have more ways now to make sure your resume reaches more potential employers.

In fact, applying for jobs online has become commonplace, with more and more people accessing the Internet through their computers or mobile devices for this purpose.

For employers on the other hand, going online is a faster and more cost-effective solution to find potential employees.

As jobseekers, so long as you’ve done the necessary employment and industry research and produced an outstanding resume, putting your resume up on the Internet will help to improve your chances of getting more job interviews.

Indirectly, your ability to utilise online tools to upload and update your resume could also suggest to your future employer that you’re naturally a digital native.

Job recruitment sites

There are quite a number of job recruitment websites in Malaysia, such as JobStreet, myStarjobs and Monster, as well as Sarawak Jobs.

There are also recruitment sites that focus on specific needs, for instance StartUp Jobs – for those who wish to work for start-up companies; and WOBB – for those who want to work in a company culture of their choice.

These sites not only enable you to submit your resume, but also let you browse through various job openings based on your preferred industry or specialisation.

For greater visibility, it is advisable to post your resume in several job sites, and fill in the information required by the sites to make it easier for potential employers to find your resume.

Your target employer

If you have a particular employer in mind, search for vacancies that it has listed in its website or on job sites.

Make sure you know exactly how to submit your job application, customise your resume to suit the position you’re applying for, and abide by the resume submission guidelines.

This would signal to your target employer that you are able to take the initiative, organise your information and follow directions.

Your own resume website

Creating a resume website is especially suitable if you have a portfolio – including work or project examples, testimonials and other work-related materials – to demonstrate your specialisation in a particular field.

With an effective resume website, you have the creative control to show your “personal brand” through your website design while still maintaining professionalism.

It can also be a quicker way to attract potential employers or clients as they can find you through a simple Google search.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

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Smart strategic communication can make your cover letter stand out

There are examples of strategic communication everywhere. In fact, one could speculate that since all of communication is intended to have some specific effect, all communication is strategic – it’s mostly a matter of whether it is effectively or poorly planned and executed.

So, what exactly is strategic communication?

A good definition comes from James P. Farwell’s book Persuasion and Power: “Strategic communication (is) the use of words, actions, images, or symbols to influence the attitudes and opinions of target audiences to shape their behavior in order to advance interests or policies, or to achieve objectives.”

This definition more or less guides numerous public relations and communications experts in political, corporate and many other professional spheres worldwide. And for those in pursuit of a new job, smart strategic communication practices need to be incorporated into your cover letters.

The first steps are to identify your objective and target audience.

The objective obviously is to score an interview for the job. However, the target audience can be trickier to identify. Perhaps it’s the head of the department you would like to join who will receive the application directly. Or, maybe, it’s the manager from human resources screening dozens of CVs and cover letters, and filtering out ones she considers irrelevant. If you’re unsure, it’s important to act as though it will go through HR first.

So, let’s assume it is the latter. Now that you’ve identified your target audience (HR + hiring manager) it’s time to develop your messages to create a story and narrative that defines your intent (requesting an interview for the position), drives a cause (your candidacy for the position), and maintains message discipline (the reasons why you are a highly qualified candidate for the position).

Since you know you are going to be potentially writing for two very different targets, it’s important to tailor your messaging accordingly while creating a narrative and weaving a proper story. A sharp and persuasive cover letter must explain who you are, what your cause is, why you are pursuing it, and how your actions help the target audience. Effective cover letters are as much about the target audience as the job seeker.

HR is not likely to be an expert in your field and will only be inspecting your cover letter for keywords and relevant phrases to justify forwarding your application on to the hiring manager. So, ensure your introduction identifies how you fit the required experience and can fulfill the important duties listed in the job description to satisfy busy human resources staff scanning piles of cover letters. After all, keeping a CV and cover letter out of HR’s trash bin and getting it on the hiring manager’s desk can be half of the battle.

The rest of your cover letter is an opportunity to reinforce to the hiring manager your expertise, and why you will be a great fit for this specific position. Decision makers need to be shown that you are interested in working for them for very specific reasons. Additionally, they want to know how you can make their lives easier – that you can deliver from day one and are no amateur. So analyze the job description and make it crystal clear why you can already meet the most important aspects of the role. Tell an interesting story in the process, one that supports the information on your CV as opposed to simply regurgitating it.

And finally, remember it is critical to be honest.

Strategic communication must be taken into consideration and built into any cover letter (or CV), but no amount of clever messaging can obscure an obvious reality. If you do not meet the requirements do not invent skills or experience that you do not possess — focus on your strengths and figure out how to mitigate your weaknesses.

Doing all of this will make your cover letter one that stands out, and will help you land that interview. Good luck!

 

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Covering the cover letter: 5 tips to make the most of it

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By guest blogger Sailee Sarangdhar, Head of Content Marketing at Taskworld.

Most of us have a detailed resume or curriculum vitae saved somewhere on our computers. It’s a document that professionals should make an effort to keep up to date, even if you do have steady employment. If you’re not doing this, it’s probably time to make that long-awaited update.

With the job market being what it is at the moment, just a resume is no longer enough to land you the job. It is just one part of what can now be called the ‘job application email’ that also usually includes a cover letter, a portfolio, and sometimes even a letter of recommendation. Nailing all of these is the first step to making a confident start to the application process.

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What’s the point of a Cover Letter?

Your cover letter essentially explains to prospective employers why they should choose you for this job. It gives you a chance to explain yourself and tell your story. This aspect of storytelling is what you need to master in order to really make the most of what many consider a useless document.

The cover letter is a tricky one and here’s why:

It is the only part of your application that needs to be tailored-made to fit the job you are applying for. But that doesn’t mean that every part of it needs to be re-written from scratch every time. Your story stays the same. Your skills stay the same. You just need to explain to the reader how your story and your skill set are perfect for the job.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Create a Timeline

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Even though your resume will tell the hiring manager what you did when, think of your timeline as the plotline of your career. For example, if you were one of those people who did internships throughout your education, this is your chance to explain to a hiring manager why you did that and what you learned from it. It shows them that you are someone dedicated to exploring your career options and that you have good multi-tasking and time management skills, which is something everyone looks for in a prospective hire.

2. Nail the Tone of Voice

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Do some research on the company you are applying to. Write in a way that acknowledges the company’s personality. For example, if you are applying to a very corporate or large organization, make sure you keep the language professional and to the point. However, if the company has a smaller, cool startup vibe, or you are applying for a creative position, you can go for the jugular and be more upbeat and use your sense of humor.

3. No Humble Pie Here

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No one likes to toot his or her own horn. This is part of what makes writing cover letters so uncomfortable. Telling a faceless person what makes you the perfect candidate can be daunting, but you have to do it to get employment. Don’t be shy about your achievements, highlight them and explain what you learned from them.

4. Say Why You Want It

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Not only do you have to demonstrate to the hiring manager why you are right for the job, but you also have explain why you want it. Make sure that the person reading your cover letter knows what you are planning on getting out of this position you are applying to. Explain your motivation so they understand your expectations. Your ability to walk the fine line between desperation and commitment will be tested here.

5. End It On a Happy Note

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While the Cover Letter may start feeling like an essay as you start to write it, it is essentially, a letter. So make sure that you apply the standard letter format while writing it, starting with a Dear Sir/Madame and ending it with a Kind Regards or a Sincerely. Make sure you add in a line about hoping to hear back from them before your closing remarks to show them that you expect the best result because you are a deserving candidate.

* This blog first appeared at http://blog.taskworld.com.

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