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how much they can see

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how much they can see

Postby V » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:17 pm

I find it hard to convince myself (after reading that recruiters only scan cover letter for some seconds, and if convinced go to resume) to put real interest into writing cover letter (& resume).

I feel they first have a glance on no. of years of experience, no gaps, see just some visual numbers, easy to see, & sort. They do not owe us to read carefully. They have too many resumes, will go on to scan next one.

When my grandma had vision and hearing deficiencies, I used to feel as if I don't fully exist for her. Same way I feel about HR people.
Last edited by V on Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby PG » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:39 am

I would recomend looking at this the other way around ie since they only spend a few seconds reading the cover letter it is crucial that the letter is very good and very clear.

From the cover letter I expect to find out why you want to work for our company and get some information about which value that you think that you will bring. I usually start with the cover letter and then I go to the CV. IF your cover letter is poor the probability that your CV will save your application is rather low.

In the CV I expect to see a list that very quickly will tell me the number of years of experience you have and what potentials gaps exist. In the cover letter you can avoid anything that isnt relevant for the current position and focus on key issue.

Finally, I dont see the existance of one or a couple of shorter gaps as a problem. Everyone knows how the labour market looks like today. I also have gaps and I consider myself lucky from many aspects.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby V » Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:50 am

detail edited.

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Last edited by V on Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby PG » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:54 am

I interpreted your first post as you didnt think that it was important to spend time on the cover letter which is something I believe is incorrect. In the situation that you are describing I would say that a good cover letter is even more important.

As always getting a position will get harder the more advanced position that you are looking for and unless you give other information I will assume that you are looking for an entry level, industry position. In this situation a good cover letter can go a long way. For example if you can write a letter shortly describing your skills and then stating something like "Since my education/ last position I have been home for x years with my children / due to being ill / due to xxx and I am now very eager to go back to work.

If you can write this in a letter that also in other ways gives the reader the picture that you would really enjoy coming to their company doing whatever it is that you want to do I dont see any major hurdle for bringing you in for a meeting.

When we hire for entry level positions we often want the candidate to know the basic and after that the most important points are personallity, willingness to perform the tasks that comes with the position and a positive attitude. Having gaps is fine as long as you can explain them. If you are currently unemployed it should preferably be short or if long you should preferably be able to show that you are actively trying to develop your skills etc.

Finally trying to find a position through networking efforts is often more successful than applying for advertised positions. If you have been away from work a long time for a reason you can explain this is a good reason that you can use for networking contacts.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby V » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:42 pm

edited---
Last edited by V on Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby PG » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:18 pm

I always read the cover letter first and I am sure that I am not the only one. This means that whatever other things that might be lacking I will read the cover letter.

More importantly networking very different from sending unsolicited emails to PIs. Networking is about collecting information and offering information in return.

The idea is to contact people who either may have information about how to get into a certain type of position, information about companies/ universities that you think are interesting, information about the field of research and who is doing what within that field etc. This is very different from sending an e-mail to someone asking for a position.
However since you will explain why you want information this also means that the people you talk with will know who you are and what your interests are. If you make a good impression this may or may not lead to a position with them or with someone they know.

The information you will give is information about yourself and your interests but also information that you have about the field, things that you know is going on in the market etc. This also means that the more people you have contact with the information that you have to offer becomes more valuble and you have more to offer and an easier time to get additional networking contacts. As often the first steps are the hardest. If you dont already have contacts that you can use, aim at people who are 2-4 years ahead of you in the career you want. They are most likely to have time to talk with you and may enjoy the fact that someone wants their advice. Even if these people are not making hiring decisions they may recomend someone (many companies have referal bonuses)and they will help you with a first step in your networking effort.

Most importantly and potentially also most difficult is to keep a positive attitude. Being positive is the key to actually getting a position even if it may take time. Being positive makes your networking contacts want to talk with you and noone hires someone with a negative attitude.

Finally e-mails are not a good first contact unless you contact someone who has another reason to talk with you which for example may be a mutual contact. Possible an e-mail can serve a purpose of trying to get a meeting to discuss something specific but not more than that.


This post got a bit long but hopefully it contains something useful.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby V » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:53 pm

Thanks.

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Last edited by V on Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: how much they can see

Postby PG » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:01 am

Academia might be different regarding who to contact. My experience is that in industry it is usually harder to get a reply from people higher up in the organization. Usually not because they choce to ignore you but rather they put your e-mail in that pile of other e-mails that are not urgent but that they should answer whenever they have time. Since it never becomes urgent the risk is high that you dont get a reply.
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