job-hunting advice from an employer
iamab at wam.umd.edu
Sat Dec 2 00:46:03 EST 1995
I have just finished reviewing the first batch of applications to come in for
a technical assistant position I am offering. While many of the candidates
appear to match my needs w/re to field of education, experience, skills, etc.,
I am generally appalled by the cover letters. Most applicants appear not to
have read over their cover letters, resulting in typos, misspellings, and odd
to poor grammar. It is especially surprising since I set a requirement in the
job description for excellent written and oral communication skills.
My advice to all who are preparing resumes, CVs, and cover letters:
1. Proofread (this doesn't mean to just use a Spell Checker!) before
printing. After printing out your application materials, wait a day or a few
hours before rereading for comprehension. When you reread it just after
composing it, it always seems to make sense.
2. Be sure you tie your skills and experience to the job description.
For instance, if teaching will be a responsibility, point out any teaching
responsibilities you have had. If you haven't any teaching experience but
still think you're qualified, tell why -- perhaps you have experience in
public speaking or organizing mmaterials for someone else's presentations.
3. Keep your terms appropriate to the position. For example, if you
are applying for a job in academia, don't write that you "have a lot to offer
a FIRM such as yours." A university is not a firm.
4. Include information on extracurricular activities that have
provided you with skills especially suitable for the job. As with other
categories, don't just list them -- state exactly what skills you have
developed from that experience that would be desirable for the position
5. Don't try to explain why you didn't get tenure at another
university or why you were fired unless you can be certain to explain it
CONCISELY and in a manner that doesn't sound like you're whining. This is
really hard to do in cover letter.
Good luck to all!
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