Career E-News: August 2009 

Monthly E-Zine for People in Career Transition. Written and Published by Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin: "The Career Success Coach" 

In this issue:
News from "The Office"
How to Get Better Responses from Classified Ads and Internet Job Postings
Stuck, Stalled or Confused in Your Job Search?
Quote of the Month: On "Difficult Moments"
Applause - ClappingClient Landings! 

Congratulations to my clients who landed jobs this month: 
Julia Margolis:
Special Education Teacher - Leland High School, Leland, Illinois 
Greg Steffon: 
Business Development Manager - Commercial Lines, AIG Insurance Company, Boston, Massachusetts.  
Quick Links...
Forward to a Friend
Greetings!                             Joellyn Headshot 2009 
Hope your summer is going well. It's finally warmed up here in Worcester. Hopefully, with our summer's false start, we'll make up for it with extra "Indian summer" days in the fall. 
I was delighted to hear some encouraging news about the economy. According to a recent CBS article (based on the August 2009 US Labor Department report) the jobless rate dropped to 9.4% and layoffs have slowed down.
These economic times remind me of job searching during the holidays, when people believe that no one hires during November and December. Hiring actually does go on in these months; and hires have been made even after our economy slowed down in October 2008. My point is this: folks who bemoan the economy use it as an excuse to drop out of the job search pool, similar to those who take a break during the holidays. Both situations  create less competition for people who continue to move forward, regardless of the economy or the holidays. Just ask my clients -- two of whom I'm highlighting -- who just landed this month!  (Scroll left)     
I'm a strong advocate of networking your way to your next job.  But, classified ads and internet postings can still be an avenue for jobs -- as long as you don't rely on them as your sole source of leads. My article:  How to Get Better Responses from Classified Ads and Internet Job Postings will provide you with some strategies to help you  compete in this highly-trafficked arena.  
Stuck, stalled or confused in your job search or career?
Whether you want to make a career change, re-enter the job market after a long absence, need to get a job after a layoff, invested too much time in an unproductive search and don't know why, or are unclear about what it takes to get the job or career you want -- a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session will help get to the root of your career problem and get you moving in the right direction. 
Here's to your Career Success!
:-) Joellyn 
P.S. A great big "Welcome" to my new subscribers!
News from "The Office": Joellyn Quoted in Worcester Telegram & Gazette Article
Applause - Clapping My fellow Toastmasters and I were quoted in a recent Worcester Telegram & Gazette article, which profiled our Paul Revere Toastmasters Club and explained how we help people build their public speaking skills.  Read the entire article here:  

PublishedHow To Get Better Responses from Classified Ads and Internet Job Postings         

Classified Ads
by Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin
The "published job market" (classified ads and internet postings) indicates hiring activity in certain companies or industries. Besides communicating specific job openings, ads can be clues to an organization's possible openings in the future due to employee turnover or business growth.

The downside of the published market is that it typically draws hundreds of applicants for one position alone. So, should you even bother applying for jobs in the published market?  Of course; but spend only 15% of your precious job search time responding to ads - and the remaining 85% networking. To stand out from the competition, use these strategies when writing cover letters for both identified and blind ads.     
General Rules for Cover Letters
* Letters should be warm and personal. Avoid stilted, stereotyped phrases and job-hunting jargon like "utilize" instead of "use," "proven track record," etc.
* Send letters by email and US Mail, since emails can be intercepted by spam filters.  Email resumes and cover letters as attachments entitled:  "yourname.resume" and "yourname.coverletter."  In the body of the hard copy letter write: "I am also sending a copy by email for your convenience." In the body of the email write: "This is a duplicate of a hard-copy sent by US mail."  Email gives you speed; US Mail gives you certainty.   
* Print hard copy letters on a good quality laser printer, (600 DPI minimum), using plain 20+ lb paper.  
* Keep your letters brief unless there's reason for detail.
* Maintain copies of all correspondence for follow-up.
* Include your contact information on all correspondence: name, phone number(s) mailing address, and email address. 
Replying To Ads Where the Advertiser is Identified
Rather than writing to the person specified in the ad, find out who the hiring decision maker is for the position, and send your letter directly to that person. Research the company website to identify the hiring person; or see if someone in your network may know who this person is and can introduce you. Or, simply call the company and ask!  When writing your cover letter:
1. Explain your reason for writing to this individual. Do not mention the ad, or your materials will almost always be referred to HR, where your competitive position will be weak. Focus on your research and knowledge of the company. Decide whether an additional letter to HR would be helpful in your situation--or if it would interfere with your direct line to the decision-maker. 

2. Mention your genuine interest in the company and ask for a discussion of how you can contribute. 
3. Indicate when you will call to set an appointment.
Responses To Blind Ads: The T-Letter
The purpose of this letter is to pass the first screening by the HR department and get some response. Enclose your resume only if you're sure it will help you.
1. After warm introduction, state that you have outlined the match between your qualifications and the position requirements; then arrange your letter in two columns, using the T-Letter approach. (see below)

2. End with accurate information about how and when the advertiser can reach you.
T-Letter Approach
Your Requirements (left-hand column)
In this column, list the requirements exactly as they appear in the ad.  If the ad does not spell out the requirements in enough detail, you may add some that you are sure would be involved in the position.  Omit requirements which you do not meet, unless you can show a strong equivalent.
My Qualifications (right-hand column)
In this column, directly opposite the requirements on the left, write examples from your experience that demonstrate your competence in that area.
If you follow these approaches, you'll increase your chances of favorable responses. Re-send your materials, if you've heard nothing after two weeks. Otherwise, let it go and realize that the published sector only represents a small percentage of employment opportunities which are available. Most of the very best jobs are found through networking.  (See March 2009 issue: "How to Tap the Hidden Job Market Through Your Network")
   2009 - All Rights Reserved.
CAPSessionStuck, Stalled or Confused in Your Job Search? New Question MarkCareer Change Stuck in Neutral?
Whatever career problem you may be  struggling with -- whether you want to make a career change, re-enter the job market after a long absence, need to get a job after a layoff, invested too much time in an unproductive search and don't know why, or are unclear about your career direction -- a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session will get to the root of your career problem and get you moving in the right direction. 
In this two-hour, strategic breakthrough consultation, you and I will talk about your work situation, your job search, and whatever seems to be making you feel stuck or stalled. We'll even discuss your career history from your early decision-making days to the present, to identify patterns and themes which stand out.
I'll listen, ask important questions, and provide you with feedback:
(1) What's working: Career decisions / job search strategies which are on the right track;
(2) What's standing in your way: The reason(s) why you're stuck, stalled or confused;
(3) Next steps:
Initial action plan steps to land your ideal career position.
Then, you can decide if you want to continue working with me or otherwise. Either way, you'll finish the session with a sense of "Aha! Now I know what I need to do!"  plus the beginnings of a strategy to help you move forward.    
Investment:  $175.00.  This includes:
  • MP3 recording of the session, plus a written summary.
  • 40-page e-book: "The 12 Biggest Mistakes Job Hunters and Career Changers Make -- and How to Avoid Them."
  • 45-minute follow-up session (no additional charge)
Still skeptical?  Here's what one client said:
"After going through your Career Action Planning (CAP) Session I quickly realized that you were someone that I felt comfortable with and would tell me the truth. Together we uncovered my talents so that I could have fun at work again. After completing your coaching program, I started my own business and am having the time of my life! 
Visit my website to learn more or contact me to schedule this single session. (Note: this session is conducted by telephone).
Quote of the Month: On "Difficult Moments"
New Q
 "Above all, do not fear difficult moments. The best comes from them." -- Rita Levi-Montalcini
(Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist who  celebrated her 100th birthday in April 2009)

 2009 The Career Success Coach

 All rights reserved.