Back to Basics with Top 10 Common Search Questions – Part II of II

6.     Are cover letters outdated?

More and more we are seeing the replacement of cover letters with emails. That’s good news for those of us who dread writing the tedious CL. That said, remember, the cover letter is the best tool for directly connecting the job to your experience. Unless expressly instructed not to, we recommend you write a brief but fact-packed letter. Many people choose not to write them, so you are already putting yourself in a select category. If for any reason the letter seems inappropriate or unwise, then use the email to make your pitch.

7.     Should I be concerned if all of my letters are going to whom it may concern?

Likely, yes. Make your online and personal network work for you. The hiring manager is likely one level above the job you are seeking, so ask your connections and search your search engines to find who that would be. “Dear Hiring Manager” is a good 2nd choice if no name can be found.

8.     Should I send a thank you note snail mail or email?

Depends on time. If you believe decisions are imminent, default to email. If, however, people are on vacation and nothing will happen for at least a week, go ahead and hand-write a small thank you card. We don’t all have beautiful handwriting, but unless that is a requirement for the job, it shows confidence and sincerity.

9.     How long until I follow up?

Any unsolicited follow-up with an employer should probably have about a week in between, and always with a purpose. You don’t want to simply keep asking if they have any news. Give them something more to know about you, or consider on your behalf. Maybe you read the article they suggested, or you finished your certification. Maintain their interest in you by expressing your unwavering interest in them, but don’t go overboard. Ask yourself how often you would like to be pinged by someone wanting to work for you.

10.  Besides from having great documents, how do I get noticed?

You will set yourself apart from the crowd by leading or following-up with phone calls or emails to the hiring manager. Introduce yourself. Let him or her know you have just applied or are just going to apply, and you wanted to know if there is anything more you should know before pursuing the role. Remember, hiring managers don’t always agree with how the job has been presented and might have a different need than what is implied. Be brief, polite, and never waste their time. You are simply announcing your application and encouraging them to take a look at your stuff when it comes through.

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