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Do You Still Need a Cover Letter When Applying to an IT Job

Due to the fact that most IT jobs primarily require a high degree of technical experience and ability, many job candidates in the industry assume that sending a resume to an employer on its own will sufficiently demonstrate their qualifications for a particular role. Resumes, after all, are intended to be clear-cut and straightforward documents that lay out the bare facts of your professional experience and skills.

While resumes are undoubtedly a crucial component that should be included in every job application, they don’t necessarily provide employers with an in-depth feel of an applicant’s character or unique abilities. In order to communicate those qualities, it’s essential to include a cover letter in every application that you submit in your IT job search.

What are the benefits of a cover letter?

As mentioned above, a resume – while very useful – should only be communicating the bare-bones facts of one’s career: work experience, education, technical skills, awards, contact information, and so on. A cover letter, on the other hand, should paint a picture in an employer’s mind of who you are, why you’re passionate about what you do, and how, specifically, your unique background, skills, and experience make you the best possible candidate for the role that you’re applying to.

In other words, it should take the facts that are contained in your resume and turn them into a story about how you’ve come to be who you are and where you are today.

What are the components of the ideal cover letter?

Compared to resumes, cover letters typically require a bit more time, thought, and effort. To simplify things a bit, here are four basic components that should be included in every cover letter:

 

  • Greeting, such as “Dear Mrs. [insert name of hiring manager].

 

  • Body paragraph containing an outline of your experience and the specific reasons why you’re a uniquely good fit for the job.

 

  • Role and Industry-specific keywords placed strategically throughout the letter.

 

  • Appropriate closing, such as “sincerely,” or, “thank you for your consideration.”

 

To learn more about how to format a compelling and effective cover letter, check out some of these templates.

At RightStone, we’re passionate about providing job candidates with the education and resources that they’ll need to advance to the next stage in their careers. To get started on your IT job search, contact us today!


8 Traits that Successful Professionals Show

Every job varies in terms of the skills, abilities, and talents that are required for success. A technical skill that’s absolutely crucial to one role might be completely superfluous to a professional working at a separate job. That said, there are some traits that every highly successful professional possesses, irrespective of their particular role or of the industry that they work in.

By understanding the qualities that are conducive to success in any role, we’ll be much more likely to cultivate those traits within ourselves and thereby make it more likely that we’ll enjoy success in our own careers.

With that in mind, here are eight common traits of highly successful professionals:

1. Discipline.

Before success becomes possible, an individual must learn how to forego impulsive pleasure, concentrate for long periods of time, and never veer from their own standards of excellence. All of this must start with self-discipline.

2. Passion.

Professionals who care deeply about their work and who believe that their goals are worthwhile are much more likely to be successful than those whose commitment to the task is merely lukewarm.

3. Eagerness to learn.

Success requires an ability to consistently update one’s store of knowledge and to adopt alternative points of view.

4. Ability to take risks.

If you’re not willing to take risks, you will remain in the same place.

5. Organization.

As success accumulates, so too does responsibility. Staying on top of a growing number of daily tasks requires an ability to keep things in order over long periods of time.

6. They seek opportunities to learn from the success of others.

No one climbs the ladder of success on their own. There are countless relationships that have to be cultivated and maintained along the way. For every successful professional out there, there are mentors, teachers, and inspirational figures behind the scenes who each played some sort of role in that person’s achievements. The ability to engage with and learn from successful individuals who came before you is crucial to our own thriving.

7. Communication.

If you’re able to communicate in a forthright, confident, and articulate manner, you’re much more likely to clearly express – to yourself and to others – what success actually looks like for you, and what you need to achieve it.

8. They prioritize their health.

Physical and mental health is the foundation for any success story. When we fail to nourish our bodies and our minds, we’re setting ourselves up to encounter serious impediments to success. In order to be successful in our careers, we first have to ensure that we’re getting the diet, rest, exercise, and self-care that we need to be able to perform at our best.

Improvement is an ongoing process, and the actions that we take today determine the degree of success that we’ll enjoy tomorrow. At RightStone, we specialize in providing professionals with the resources that they need to advance in their careers. Contact us today to get started!


Coronavirus Update For Our Clients

March 12, 2020

Dear Valued Customer:

The coronavirus situation is highly fluid. As a valued client, we want to take this opportunity to inform you that we are staying abreast of public health information and guidelines and will continue to monitor and assess the actual and potential impact on our clients, temporary associates and contractors, and staff employees.

The well-being of our staffing community and neighbors is paramount to us. We will continue to share up-to-date developments, as necessary. We are following government and health organization web sites and we encourage you to review the same. Many of the most commonly suggested preventive measures are inexpensive and easy to obtain. These web sites include:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

We trust you are advising your employees similarly and that you will apply the recommended safety policies outlined in the links above. We will stand together to navigate this public health challenge and further the well-being of everyone.

Should you wish to discuss this issue or have any questions, please let your local representative know, or feel free to contact our Director of Insurance and Risk ManagementAnissa Wieck, at awieck@cssitalent.com.
As always, I am also a phone call away and welcome your direct input or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Steven R. Drexel
President & CEO


How to Ask Interview Questions that Help You Uncover the Character of a Job Seeker

Every employer understands that the interview is a critically important stage in the course of the recruitment process. By building a successful interview strategy, employers are much more likely to gain a clear and reliable picture of a candidate’s unique strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. A poorly-defined or underprepared strategy, on the other hand, can often lead employers to miss a golden hiring opportunity or, conversely, to hire someone who is unfit for the role.

So what does an ideal interview strategy for employers actually look like?

Asking questions that are designed to get a sense of a candidate’s technical skills and professional background is obviously vitally important. That said, those questions should not take up the entire interview. In addition to probing a candidate for his or her particular technical skills, it’s equally important for interviewers to ask questions aimed at uncovering a candidate’s unique personality and character traits. This distinction – between technical expertise and characterological strength – is often referred to as “hard skills” versus “soft skills”.

Here are some examples of interview questions that will help you to gain a better sense of a candidate’s personality, character, and interpersonal abilities:

  • Do you prefer to work alone or within a group setting? Can you explain why?

 

  • Tell me about a time that you experienced conflict with a coworker. What happened, and how did you go about resolving it?

 

  • What are your greatest passions?

 

  • What are the activities, hobbies, or pastimes that you engage in while you’re not at work?

 

  • What adjectives would your best friend use to describe you?

 

  • Who is your greatest professional influence or inspiration? Why?

 

  • Is there a book that you would recommend to someone working in this role? Why? What were the major lessons that you gleaned from reading it?

 

  • Tell me about a time that you experienced failure at a past job. What did you learn from that experience?

At the end of the day, employers should be seeking to build a comprehensive picture of a candidate during the interview process. By balancing your “hard skill” interview questions with questions that are geared towards building a picture of a candidate’s unique character, you’ll be much more likely to find someone who’s the right fit not only for the role but also for the broader culture of your workplace.

If you’re ready to connect with talented candidates who will be a perfect match for your organization, contact us today!


Coronavirus Update For Our Employees

March 12, 2020

Dear Employee:

The coronavirus situation is highly fluid. As a valued member of our team, we want to take this opportunity to inform you that we are staying abreast of public health information and guidelines and will continue to monitor and assess the actual and potential impact.

The well-being of our staffing community and neighbors is paramount to us. We will continue to share up-to-date developments, as necessary.
Please take a moment to update your contact information by going to www.cornerstone-staffing.com and clicking on My Cornerstone. You can update your contact information by clicking on “Personal Info” and then “Contact Method.”

We are following government and health organization web sites, and we encourage you to review the same. These web sites include:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO) – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/

Based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we encourage you to:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Not wear a face mask unless you show symptoms of respiratory illness, including COVID-19
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing (if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol)

We trust you are already following the guidance and will apply the recommended safety policies outlined in the links above. Many of the most commonly suggested preventive measures are inexpensive. We will stand together to navigate this public health challenge and further the well-being of everyone.

Should you wish to discuss this issue or have any questions, please let your local branch representative know.

Sincerely,
Steven R. Drexel
President & CEO


4 Ways to Develop Company Culture that Helps You Keep Your Best Employees

When it comes to building a strong and talented workforce, recruitment is only half of the story; it’s equally important for employers to implement strategies and policies aimed at retaining their top employees once they’ve been brought on board. In pursuit of this goal, the development and maintenance of an optimized workplace culture should be a top priority.

What is workplace culture?

“Workplace culture” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but many professionals only have a vague understanding of what it actually means. We’re here to clear the air on this subject.

Simply put, a company’s culture is the aggregate of values, personalities, workplace norms, and qualities that endow it with a unique and intangible feeling. In other words, when we talk about culture in this context, we’re talking about the quality of the day-to-day employee experience at a particular workplace.

4 Ways to Develop Company Culture that Helps You Keep Your Best Employees

With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why building a strong company culture should be a top priority for every employer. Healthy workplace cultures lead to happy and engaged employees, who in turn produce high-quality work more consistently. There are plenty of studies (such as this one) that have proven this to be true.

So what can employers do now that will allow them to build an optimized workplace culture? Here are four simple and effective ways to get started:

1. Offer flexible work options to your employees.

Recent research has conclusively shown that employees tend to be happier in work environments that offer flexible scheduling and remote work options than those that do not.

2. Increase (and improve) your communication with employees.

It’s important that you make time to check in with your employees on a fairly regular basis to make sure that they’re able to voice any concerns and that their needs at work are being met. Managers who only rarely engage and communicate with their employees will consistently find themselves overseeing a workforce that by and large feels isolated, manipulated, and dissatisfied.

3. Acknowledge your employees’ achievements.

Managers routinely miss opportunities to improve workplace morale and increase feelings of cohesion by giving public praise to an employee who has made a notable accomplishment. By acknowledging an employee’s achievement in front of his or her peers, you can quickly and easily communicate to your employees that they work within a culture that values individual contributions and communal support.

4. Ask for your employees’ input when making important decisions.

There’s perhaps no more effective way of providing your employees with a sense of camaraderie than by including them in the decision-making process. You don’t need to ask for their input on every decision, obviously. But when you’re considering making a change to the workplace that will ultimately affect the day-to-day experience of your employees, you should make every effort to ask for and be open to their input. In all likelihood, they will be able to offer you valuable insights into how the workplace as a whole might be improved.

Building an optimized workplace is not something that can be achieved overnight, but there are steps that can be taken every day – some small and some large – to gradually work towards a workplace that will help to make your employees feel content. To learn more about what you can do to build a stronger workplace culture as well as a happier, more secure workforce, contact us today.


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