Purveyor of High-Quality Verbiage

Lisa Vaas is a journalist who analyzes technology and job-hunting strategies.

Archive for November 2009

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

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It’s so easy to blow it from the get-go. Here’s how: Open the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam.” Isn’t that great? You just told your potential employer that you’re too lazy to look for a hiring manager’s name. How about this approach instead: Do some due diligence. Find out some names, find out or guess the company’s e-mail address naming convention, and then, most importantly, find out what the company’s problems are. Then, in the cover letter, drop some hints to Mr. Sir or Ms. Madam about how you’re going to fix those problems. For these and other tips on cover letters, check out the article I wrote for TheLadders.


When to Use a Resume Template

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The cookie-cutter approach—i.e., using free or dirt cheap resume templates from the likes of Google Docs and Microsoft Word—is handy to create an initial draft, but beware; hiring professionals can spot a cut-and-paste job a mile away.

Predictably enough, professional resume writers have a slew of reasons why job seekers should avoid resume templates, and one resume template vendor I spoke with for this article on TheLadders even agrees with their rationale. But on analysis, it’s easy to see that both resume templates and the professional resume writers’ individualized attention are both crucial tools in a job seeker’s arsenal. Click here for the full article, which tells you how and when to use this fill-in-the-blank approach.

Tuning Your Resume to the Right Keywords

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The importance of keywords in a resume can’t be overstated. They not only help connect resumes with current openings, they also ensure that searches for future job openings will pull appropriate resumes out of the database and put them in front of hiring professionals. But how do you find the right keywords, and where exactly do you use them in your resume and supporting documents to target a given job? For this article on TheLadders, I got tips from hiring professionals, ATS vendors and resume writers. Click here to read the full story.