Day 1 Stats:
It’s 7am and there are several cover letters I want to make certain go out today so I get to work…by diverting and cleaning everything in site.
Now that everything is clean I can get to work.
BTW, when I say”cover letters”, it’s more of a process known as ‘The Cover Letter Game’. I’ll explain.
Years ago, when I was writing cover letters, it was really simple. Almost unimaginably, you took the cover letter you wrote for the last job you applied for on craigslist and changed names and dates, and a few details…that was about it. [#sorude]! but this was the way it was done, and I could crank out about 10 of these a day and would have at least 5 interviews lined up for the week.
When I found out that things aren’t done like this anymore, imagine my shock.
We had embarked into an era where applying for a role in the tech space involved using apps, word clouds, portfolio tools and virtual CV’s. We had gone from hotmail emails with CV’s and cover letters in the body (gasp!) to applying through a web portal.
I learned the hard way but you don’t have too! So if you don’t already know these great tips and tricks then:
Here are the steps I take for every role I apply for and they don’t change even in this experimental environment.
- Read the Role and Pick 3 pieces of content that speak directly to how your skills can help fill the needs of the company.
Pretty much self explanatory right? But, if you are anything like me you have a sentence prepared for each of the bullet points with backing support from a job you had in high school to let the hiring manager know everything you have ever done that makes you a great fit for this role. These types of mistakes will only lead to long cover letters that no one wants to read.
This isn’t just taking a look at the website for the company you are looking to work for but reading their blog, looking at their developer site, reading articles about the company and finally checking out the ‘Our Team’ page and see who is in a role or on a team that you would be working with.
After you find the name of a real person, do some research on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, see if you can get an introduction to a hiring manager to find out more about the role. Bottom line, this person you are reaching out to may ignore you and that is ok, just make sure to thank them for their time. When I was preparing my cover letters today, I was applying for a role in which I had no LinkedIn connections and I could SEE the exact hiring manager I needed to connect with but didn’t have her email. I had to hack around the Google to find the proper email format and was able to send a connection email. It was short and respectful of time.
- Set up work space
Every great developer has an incredible toolkit, so I too have one for the job search.
If you are applying to a role through some type of portal and you don’t want the algorithms to spit you into a bin, use a wordcloud application. You can copy and paste the job description into the application and it will return statistics on tagged words like frequency and usage. You can then pick the top 3-5 words and use them in your cover letter and resume. Here is a great article on this from The Muse.
Since I started freelancing, I was turned on to the Harvest App which tracks the hours you work and can create professional invoices to send to your clients. Harvest is much more than that though. I use it to track the time I spend on projects so when a client asks me how long it will take to do something, I can give them a better idea from similar tasks I have done.
I would love to hear about the tools and routines you use in your job search in the comments. Or feel free to email me.
We are at Day 1 people and I am super motivated to keep up the momentum.