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Make Your Cover Letter Count in a Competitive Job Market

Today's blog is written by Kelli Robinson from JobWeb.

Today’s primary modes of communication are e-mail, text messages, and web pages. The job search process is no different. Most job searches are done on the Internet, and job seekers e-mail their resumes or complete online applications.

Given these facts: Are cover letters still necessary?

While the answer varies, the majority of human resource representatives and recruiters say yes. Done the right way, a cover letter can capture the second glance needed in a competitive job market.

There are two tips for crafting a catchy cover letter: follow the formula and personalize it.

Tip #1: Follow the formula
Cover letters contain four components with one essential question answered in each.

Paragraph One – Introduction
Who are you and why are you writing?

Paragraph Two – Highlight of Qualifications
How has your education, previous employment, or other experiences repared you for the … 

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As an advisor in ECS, I see a lot of resumes in need of improvement...some students need to make formatting adjustments, others could use work on their content or wording, and occasionally, there are resumes that need to be entirely revamped. Lucky for me (and my coworkers), most engineering students understand the reasons behind the recommended resume improvements. Just remember: proofing your resume is a must! Check out some of these resume blunders from some unfortunate job seekers taken from Resumania

OBJECTIVE: "To find a challenging and rewarding job in a _______."
Should we fill in the blank?

OBJECTIVE: "I am looking for the medical field."
Let us know when you find it.

JOB DUTIES: "Assist callers and answer heavy phones."
That's one way to build up your biceps.

JOB DUTIES: "Relieved on the front desk."
Well, maybe no one noticed.


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Common Grammatical Pitfalls on Resumes

Most people pursuing engineering and science careers think that once they have survived the basic grammar and composition courses in high school and college those topics are no longer applicable to their lives. However, when you’re looking for a job –whether co-op, intern, or career - it’s time to dust off those skills once again! This time, rather than writing an essay on your favorite book for English 110, your writing skills will have an immediate practical application – an interview or a job offer.

Proper grammar, particularly noun and verb usage, is essential to creating a top-notch resume and cover letter and creating your image as an educated person. If you want to impress a potential employer, you should demonstrate that you have taken the time to thoroughly proofread the material that you submit to them. This means avoiding grammatical errors as well as spelling mistakes and typos.

Here … 

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Struggling with landing interviews?

How is your job search going? If you have been active in your search and you aren’t getting any invitations to interview, then it’s time to assess the situation.

Possible problems…

Issue #1:
You haven’t applied to enough jobs. I don’t want to put a number on the optimal number of resumes you should submit, but when I hear students tell me they have only applied to three jobs, it does make me cringe. You need to aim high...that doesn’t mean apply to everything, but it does mean that if something sounds somewhat interesting…you should apply to it and then plan on learning more in an interview to determine if it’s a good fit.

Issue #2:
Your resume objective is too limiting. “Seeking a summer internship dealing with renewable energy, specifically wind power, with a focus on design located in Smalltown, Ohio” is an objective that includes too many … 

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What to do if an employer won't take your resume

It can be frustrating when you are waiting in line, resume in hand, to speak with an employer at a career fair or other employer event, only to find that when your turn comes around that the employer won't take your resume...

Why do they do this?


Most likely they have been directed by their Human Resources and Legal Departments to direct all interested applicants to the company website or to a specific email belonging to the University Relations or Talent Acquisition teams. Some may have travelled to the event by plane and can't fit it all in their luggage. Others are simply concerned that they will be unable to get your resume in the right hands once back at the office.



What to do next?



Ask the employer what they suggest:




  • Is there a specific person or email address I can … 
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