(The following was originally written by Sara Klieger, director of the Motley Fool’s internship program)
I wrote a post recently that generated a lot of traffic – Five tips to improve your application and resume. It seems a lot of you are here (rightly so!) to learn about career opportunities and how to get them. As you know, we read through countless more applications and made lots of connections at conferences and networking events. So what else can you do during your job hunt to make it a success?
- Make sure you’re applying to the actual job that’s listed. If the opening is, say, for an editor, and you go on and on about how you want to work in market research, you’re not the ideal candidate for this job. It’s better to spend more time on fewer applications and make sure they’re the best they can be and appropriate for the job opening, rather than sending generic applications out to hundreds of places a day. Quality, not quantity.
- Do some research about the company you’re applying to. Let them know what you learned in your application. Mention how your skills would fit into the company’s work.
- Actually write a cover letter. A real one, not just “I’m applying to this position. You can reach me here.” This is a marketing document. Brag about yourself! List relevant accomplishments! Show the recruiter your personality! An amazing cover letter fills in the gaps on your resume. Are you looking to switch career fields? Your resume will show no relevant experience, but a cover letter can list your transferable skills. Are you a recent graduate just starting your career? Your resume might be a little empty for now, but your cover letter can discuss student leadership roles, volunteer work, and other ways you got experience even though you haven’t held many jobs yet. Trust me – applications with no cover letter get eliminated from consideration immediately at a lot of companies!
- Show gratitude. A lot of people helped you get to where you are, so write them a quick thank-you email. The recruiter who interviewed you? Always send a follow up email to thank them for their time and reiterate interest in the job. The person you met through a friend who answered your questions or introduced you to someone who was hiring? Thank them too! No need to send flowers – just a nice, sincere note.