Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Greeting Cards Help You Network

Sometimes doing things the old-fashioned way will get you noticed, respected, and appreciated. While everyone else is sending out emails, you can stand out from the crowd and grow you business network and social network by using greeting cards to make a permanent and lasting impression. This will help you find a new job. The following 7 tips will show you how greeting cards help you network.

1. Send a Note To New Acquaintances

Any time you meet someone new, whether it be a business contact or someone you meet in your personal life, you can show that person how special they are to you by sending them a greeting card via snail mail. It does not need to be fancy. In fact, it would probably make a better impression if you stick to something simple in design but unique.

To really make it something they'll really remember and appreciate, include a short personal note. For example, you could say something like, "I enjoyed meeting you at the XYZ Conference and I thought your ideas were intriguing. I hope we can chat about them again in the future." For a new personal contact, you could say something like, "I enjoyed talking with you the other day at the soccer game. You would be a great asset to our parent organization. I hope you come to the next meeting on Dec 16, 7:00pm. I'd also enjoy getting together for coffee sometime."

2. Send Greeting Cards To Your Clients Or Customers On Special Days

When a client or customer signs up for your mailing list, ask them for their birthday. Then, get into a habit of sending your customers a birthday card. In this instance, it's best if you do not try to sell them anything. Just keep it simple, letting them know that you remembered them on their special day. The same can be true if you happen to learn about one of your clients having a new baby, having a child graduate, getting married, or another special event where you can express your genuine joy for them through a greeting card. They will treasure this!

3. Send Out Greeting Cards For Unannounced Sales

Don't overdo this but occasionally it is nice to send your clients or customers unannounced sales. Make it something truly special and let them know how much you appreciate their continued business. You could also slip an extra coupon into the card for them to give to a friend or family member.

4. Handwrite the Name and Address On the Envelope

These days, our mailboxes are filled with junk mail. Chances are if you print out a "professional" address label, your greeting card and note will just get tossed. However, there is something quite magnetic to the receiver of a card when the name and address on the envelope have been handwritten. Your greeting card will almost assuredly get opened if you do this.

5. Be Sure To Handwrite the Personal Note Too

When they open the greeting card, it will make a very favorable impression if the note inside is highly personalized and handwritten. Take your time and write in your neatest handwriting. It doesn't have to be perfect but do make sure it is legible.

6. Use a Real Stamp and Make It Really Count

Don't use a postage meter to pay for postage or let the post office worker run it through a postage meter either. Instead, take the time to select a nice looking stamp to put on the envelop. Ask the postal worker behind the counter to see the whole collection of stamps they offer and try to pick one that seems the most appropriate for the person to whom you and sending the greeting card.

It is also a good idea to stock up on stamp designs you really like. You could even say in your handwritten personal note, "I picked out the XYZ stamp because..." For example, if you met someone at a city council meeting that might be interested in one or more activities of your nature club, you could select a stamp featuring wildlife or a particular habitat. Likewise, if you met someone who might be interested in joining your sales network, you might select a stamp that that shows a money sign or another financial icon.

7. Make Your Own Cards For an Even More Personalized Touch

Making your own cards does not have to be difficult and you do not need to be an artist! Simply buy some 8x11 inch colored construction paper. Cut each sheet in half and then fold these two halves to make two cards. You can then paste a nice photograph in the center of the front of the card and leave the inside blank for your personal note.

We Wish You Great Success

Try to put the 7 tips above on how greeting cards help you network into action right away. It can help you find a new job, advance your career once you do, and help you in your personal like. Once you develop this habit, you will be amazed at how much it helps you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

10 Things To Do the Day After You're Laid Off

Getting laid off can be a devastating experience. The initial shock may put you in such a bad mental state, it can be hard to figure out what to do. While you get started writing your cover letters and getting your resume updated, there are 10 constructive things you can do the day after you're laid off to get you through the crisis and get your life back on track.

1. Let Go Of Your Negative Emotions

It is natural to be depressed, and even angry, when you get laid off. However, if you wallow in those emotions too long, it will only make matters worse. Go somewhere and scream if you have to, cry your eyes out if you feel like it, and get those negative emotions out of your system as soon as possible. Then, get ready to take the bull by the borns and find solutions to your problem.

2. See What You Can Temporarily Cut Out

Make a written list of your bills and expenses. See if there is anything you can temporarily eliminate. Perhaps you don't need cable, or at least not premium cable. Cancel subscriptions you could live without. Downgrade your cell phone package. Cut everything you can so you won't have as much going out.

3. Get Really Frugal

This is a time when every penny counts. Cook your food at home and don't eat out. Look for ways to trim your grocery bill. Save on gas money buy not driving the car as much. Don't waste electricity. Turn your heater or air conditioning down to a minimum. Turn the temperature on your hot water tank down.

4. Call a Family Meeting

If you have a spouse and/or kids, call a family meeting and explain the situation. Let them know that you all need to pull together to get through this crisis. Ask them if they can think of ways to save money and/or make money. Ask them to be as frugal as possible.

5. Get Your Resume In Ship Shape

You'll probably want to start looking for a new job so get your resume in order. If there is a career center in your area, go there and ask them to review your resume and offer suggestions. Schedule an appointment for a mock job interview. If they don't offer this in your area, ask some of your family or friends to help you stage a mock interview.

6. Reach Out To All Your Contacts Via Email and Social Media

Use the speed and efficiency of the internet to let all your contacts know that you are looking for work. Specifically ask if they know of any openings now or in the near future. List your skills, accomplishments, and traits that make you a strong job candidate.

7. Check CraigsList 2-3 Times a Day

While you are looking for long-term work, seek out short-term gigs to bring in some money. Even if you have savings, it is best to use as little of it as possible. CraigsList has a special section called "Gigs" where you can find a variety of short-term income opportunities. When you're out of work, a half day temporary job can really help out.

8. Get Creative

There are all sorts of things you can do to make money if you are really motivated to do so. For example, some people collect things off the side of the road on garbage day and resell these items. Some have a garage sale, some sell on CraigsList, and some sell the scrap metal. You could put up fliers for lawn mowing, landscaping, hanging Christmas lights, cleaning out garages, walking dogs, house sitting, running errands, driving people who can't drive, tutoring, sewing, etc. The possibilities are endless so get creative!

9. Consider Starting Your Own Business

This may be your opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. Take some time to consider starting your own business. Brainstorm about what type of business you might like to start. Ask your family and friends to help you brainstorm too. Even if you find a permanent job, you may want to keep a lucrative side business going.

10. Plant a Garden

You can easily save hundreds of dollars off your grocery bill growing vegetables. Don't worry if you have never done any gardening. You will find it super simple to raise lettuce, herbs, and kale even if all you have is an apartment patio/balcony. Gardening is also a great stress reliever and it gives you time to think things over.

Good luck to you and keep your head up!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can a Resume Writing Service Write Your Cover Letter?

Many job applicants use a resume writing service to write their resume from scratch or to improve their current resume. I don't see anything wrong with this with one BIG exception. I strongly discourage my clients from using such a service to create their cover letter.

Here's why...

Although most resume writing services offer cover letter creation as an add on service or even throw it in for free, they are almost never exceptionally adept at doing so.

The cover letter is the very first thing a hiring manager is going to see. In fact, many hiring managers don't bother to read all the resumes they get when they have a lot of applications for a single job. They go through the pile and narrow it down based on the cover letter alone.

What does this mean?

The cover letter is often more important than the resume in getting you on the "short list" and getting you the interview.

Creating an exceptional professional resume requires a different skill set than preparing an exceptional cover letter. Yes, the better resume writing services are skilled writers but they are more adept at technical writing than with writing advertising copy.

And... to get on the short list in this competitive job market what you need is exceptional advertising copy. You need marketing language with a call to action. You need language in a 1/2 to 3/4 page cover letter (with lots of white space) to succinctly sell YOU and convince the hiring manager that he or she needs to meet you in person. You need time tested marketing magic.

This is why I always recommend to my clients that they use the cover letter software that I review at the top of this page to create their cover letter, even if they have hired a professional resume writing service. For those who do both and end up with 2 cover letters to compare side by side, they always choose, without exception, the cover letter that is created with this particular software (there is other cover letter creating software out there but I've never found one that worked as well as this one).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is It Ok To Use a Generic Cover Letter?

A client asked me recently, "Is it ok to use a generic cover letter?"

What do you think? Do you think that cover letters don't really matter and they're just something you slap on  top of your resume?

Absolutely not! In fact, the cover letter can actually be MORE important to getting you the interview.

Do you think that someone who is applying to be an office manager should use the same generic cover letter as someone else applying for a teaching position?

NO! of course not! Your cover letter should be very specifically tailored not only to the type of position you are apply for but for the specific place you are applying as well.

The cover letter software that I review at the top of this page is programmed to produce industry specific keywords in addition to the marketing magic that will get the hiring managers attention. It will also ask you the right questions to help tailor it to the specific place you are applying.

We are in a really competitive job market - more competitive than it has been in decades. Hiring managers get so many applications they just aren't able to review every resume so they do the next best thing - they read all the cover letters first. If you submit a generic cover letter, I'm afraid you are drastically cutting down your chances that you will be called for an interview. Check out the software and see if you think it could help you. I know it has helped many of my clients.

Friday, July 29, 2011

An Interview Tip That WIll Help Land You the Job

Once you've used your cover letter to get your foot in the door and gotten the interview, you are more than 90% on your way to getting the job. However, you will still need to beat out a few other candidates. Here is an interview tip that make you go right to the top of the hiring committee's list.

Arrive at the interview at least 20 minutes early and spend some time looking at the various plaques and awards on the walls. Most companies are involved in committee projects or friendly competitions with other companies. Some companies have some staff that do volunteer work on behalf of the company. You will usually find some mention of this hanging on the walls. Even if it's not prominently displayed, you may be able to find it if you look hard enough. You may also be able to find this type of information by searching through the archives of the local newspaper, especially if they are involved in community projects. Trust me, it is well worth the effort to find this information.

During the interview, ask questions about these activities and tell them that you would love to become involved in these activities. You may be able to even suggest a special skill that you might have that could help them with these activities. Don't assume that the company you are interviewing with is ALL about making money. After all, these are human beings. Companies usually take great pride in the community work they do and in their bowling leagues or baseball teams where they compete with other companies. Your interest will not only show them that you are a team player but it will also allow you to chat with them in a slightly less formal way which "humanizes" you. It gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection and, like I've said before, people hire people they like - even if not consciously, they do so subconsciously.

Good luck and don't forget to check out the cover letter help software.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Should I Use a More Creative Font In My Cover Letter If I'm Applying For a Creative Job?

I get quite a few clients who are applying for graphic design jobs and they often ask, "Should I use a more creative font on my cover letter if I'm in a creative field?" and "Should I use a more creative font on my resume?" Sometimes they ask questions like, "Should I stick with a professional but boring font like Times New Romain or Arial or can I use something more interesting?"

The short answer is "no." You should always stick with a more traditional professional font in your cover letter and resume. Yes, I know it's "boring" but boring will help get you the job in this case.This is true for two reasons:

First, even if you are applying for a creative job, your application packet will likely be reviewed by "business types" who may not appreciate your "creativity" shown by a non-traditional font. You can always include samples of your creative work to show your creativity. If you do so, be sure to mention this on your cover letter. Keep in mind this is how you will likely be expected to deal with clients too. In a business letter to a client, you would almost always use a traditional font even if you are performing creative services for them.

Second, you need to keep the goal of the cover letter (and resume) in mind. You want those reviewing your application to notice you and select you for the interview out of all the other applicants. These days potential employers get so many applications, they have to scan through them very quickly. You want your cover letter to be very easily read at a glance. In other words, the purpose of the cover letter is to entice them to want to look deeper - to want to see samples of your work and talk with you in person. The purpose of the cover letter is NOT to show off your creative skills. Hopefully, that makes sense.

Now, if you want a perfectly worded and perfectly formatted cover letter, I highly recommend this software.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What To Do If They Say Don't Submit a Cover Letter?

Although still not in the majority, some companies require that all job applications be submitted electronically. In some of these cases, they specifically state that they do NOT want a cover letter included. Several of my clients at the job center have complained that this does not allow them to use the secret cover letter weapon we have discovered.

However, I want you to know that you can still use the secret cover letter trick in these cases. In fact, you can use it in 2 different ways:

1. Go ahead and use the cover letter help software I review at the top of this page to create a cover letter. Next, take this cover letter and modify it slightly and then use it to send a personal message directly to the hiring manager or another person at the company that will be influential in the hiring decision. Remember, the software creates perfectly worded marketing phrases specifically designed to entice those reading your cover letter to want to meet you and invite you in for an interview. This can work just as well (maybe better) in a personal email as in an "official" cover letter.

2. The software is designed to generate key industry specific vocabulary. You can create the cover letter using the software and then make sure that these industry specific words and phrases are included in the resume and other materials that require you submit electronically. Remember, companies often use programs to scan and rank applications. It would be really advantageous to include the industry keywords and key phrases generated by the software in your electronic submission to help your application will rank at the top of the list.