job-hunting advice from an employer

Amy B 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 
offered.

	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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