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6 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

 

Your cover letter introduces you to a hiring manager. It helps the manager form an impression of you as a candidate.

Your cover letter also highlights why you are the best candidate for the position.  This impacts whether you are contacted for an interview.

As a result, you want your cover letter to be as effective as possible. The following suggestions can help.

Implement these six tips to help your cover letter stand out from all the rest.


1. Address the Hiring Manager

There are many ways to find the hiring manager’s name and include it in your greeting.

  • Check the job posting for the hiring manager’s name.
  • Use LinkedIn to determine the hiring manager.
  • Call the company to ask for the hiring manager’s name and title.

2. Promote Yourself

Share your enthusiasm for the position and company.

  • Relate your skills and experience to the job description and qualifications.
  • Demonstrate why you are best suited for the role.
  • Comment on the company mission or leadership to show you researched the organization.
  • Ask to follow up about the position.

3. Be Concise

Limit your cover letter to three paragraphs focused on different parts of your resume.

  • Begin with an attention-grabbing introduction that shows your enthusiasm for the role and organization.
  • Mention the employee who referred you, if applicable.
  • Highlight your most important skills, experience, and accomplishments that relate to the position.
  • Explain why you are well-qualified for the role.
  • State how you would add value to the organization.
  • Thank the hiring manager for their consideration.
  • Request a call or interview to follow up.

4. Customize Your Cover Letter

Tailor your cover letter to the role and company.

  • Tie the most important parts of the position to your skills and experience.
  • Point out how your contributions would be unique.
  • Use numbers to emphasize your accomplishments relevant to the role.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, company, and type of position.

5. Emphasize Your Accomplishments

Demonstrate how your achievements can benefit the company.

  • Share examples of the projects you worked on, the results you achieved, and how they impacted the organization.
  • Include the awards and recognition you received from previous employers.
  • Show you are a top performer who wants to grow along with the company.

6. Use Keywords

Pepper throughout your cover letter keywords and key phrases from the job description.

  • Keywords help your cover letter and resume pass an applicant tracking system (ATS).
  • The ATS scans for keywords to determine how closely a cover letter and resume match the skills and experience needed for the position.
  • The appropriate cover letters and resumes are sent to the hiring manager for review.
  • The hiring manager contacts the selected candidates for an interview.

Want Help with Your Job Search?

RightStone has IT positions that fit your goals and interests. Visit our job board today.


Breaking the Ice with New Coworkers

 

Starting a new IT job is exciting! You get to meet new peers and leaders as you take on new challenges.

However, you may feel anxious about not knowing any coworkers at your new company. Meeting people while staying focused during the onboarding and training can be difficult.

Fortunately, connecting with your new coworkers can be accomplished in a few steps. The more you get to know the people you work with, the more comfortable you will feel. This helps improve your engagement, productivity, and longevity with the organization.

Implement these tips to break the ice when meeting new coworkers.


Introduce Yourself

Take short breaks to walk around and introduce yourself to coworkers. You might want to ask basic questions about their job duties, responsibilities, and day-to-day activities. Or, you could ask about a coworker’s family. Share similar information about yourself as well.

Use this information as a basis for future conversations. The more you see your coworkers, the more you will have ideas of what to talk about.

Look for Common Interests

Ask questions to uncover your coworkers’ personal interests. This may include what they like to do in their free time.

Your coworkers may share your love of yoga, reading, or trying new restaurants. They might enjoy going to the farmers market you frequent on the weekends. Or, your coworkers could have traveled to the same destinations as you.

You can indulge in future conversations about these interests. You also might be able to set a time to engage in a favorite activity with your coworkers.

Offer to Buy Lunch

Ask a coworker if they would like to join you for lunch. Find out what food they like, then suggest a place to go. Or, if you are new to the area, ask which restaurant your coworker recommends.

Being away from the office helps you unwind. You should feel comfortable getting to know your coworker on a personal level.

Looking for a New IT Role?

RightStone can provide you with IT openings that fit your skills and interests. Visit our job board or contact us today.


What Should You Do During Your First Week on the Job?

 

Starting a job comes with lots of uncertainty. You must adapt to new peers and leaders, a different work environment, and more challenging responsibilities.

The first week at your new job should be focused on balance. This includes making a positive first impression while giving yourself time to learn everything. The following tips can help you reach your first few milestones.

Follow these guidelines for increased success during your first week at a new job.


Introduce Yourself

Make a habit of sharing your name with the colleagues and coworkers you come into contact with. This helps you get to know other employees within the organization. It also helps your name and face become more familiar to others.

You may want to ask your manager for a list of employees you definitely should get to know. You also might ask for time at the beginning of a meeting to introduce yourself to the other participants.

Know what you want to say when you introduce yourself. For instance, if the person you are meeting appears distracted, keep your introduction brief. Or, if the person appears receptive, take a few minutes to get to know them.

Focus on remembering names by saying them back to the person. Also, write a quick note about the person to jog your memory.

Ask Questions

Request the information you need from your peers and leaders. This helps you more effectively do your job.

Consider what you want to know more about. This may include permission, advice, or validation. Be as specific as possible to receive the information you desire.

Write down your questions. This helps you remember what to ask about.

Prioritize the information you seek. This lets you determine when an appropriate time may be to ask about it. For instance, if you cannot access your computer, you should request help immediately. Or, if you need clarification on your team’s quarterly goals, you should be able to wait to talk with your manager.

Develop a Friendship

Ask a colleague or coworker out for coffee or lunch. Have a goal of getting to know them better. Developing social ties helps you feel more stable and comfortable as you adapt to your new work environment. It also can increase your productivity.

Add Value to the Company

Absorb as much information as possible in a short amount of time. Then, use what you learn to begin finding ways to contribute to the organization.

You may want to think about what you learned during the interview process. Perhaps there was a specific need discussed that you could focus on. Or, you could ask your manager what you should be focused on. Prioritize getting results as soon as possible.

Get Help Finding an IT Job

When the time comes to find your next IT role, make RightStone part of your search. Here are links to our job board and contact information.


How to Highlight Contract Work on Your Resume

 

The inclusion of contract work on your resume helps show you have the education, skills, and experience needed to be successful in a role. This can help you stand out among all the other candidates.

Engagement in contract work demonstrates your ability to quickly adapt to new environments and begin producing. It also helps eliminate potential gaps between full-time jobs.

Follow these guidelines to include contract work on your resume.


Use a Reverse-Chronological Order

Begin listing your work experience with your most recent position first. For your contract work, include the name of the staffing firm, its location, the name of the company you worked at, your position title, and the duration of the contract. For each full-time job, list the name of the company, its location, your job title, and the duration of your employment. Then, work backward for the past 10 years.

Listing each position helps provide a cohesive picture of your work experience. It also helps hiring managers understand what your background is like.

Another option is to list your contract work by industry. You can organize your work under one heading, such as a staffing firm, to ensure continuity. This helps show the relevance of each position to the job you want.

In either case, clarify the staffing firm you worked for, the companies you worked at, and the contract positions you held. This shows that the staffing firm was your employer and you held multiple contract positions through them. Including the names of the companies you worked at can increase your authority in the industry.

Emphasize Your Accomplishments

Include your achievements for each contract position or job. This shows the value you added to each organization.

Use numbers to quantify your benefits for each employer. Show how you helped each company make or save money or increase efficiency. This indicates how you can provide value for your next employer.

Highlight Your Skills

Point out the skills you gained from each contract position or job. Be sure to review the job posting to determine which keywords and requirements to focus on. Include your skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. This helps your resume get past an applicant tracking system (ATS) and to a hiring manager.

Get Help with Your Job Search

Partnering with a recruiter from RightStone provides you with resume and interview coaching and other job search assistance. Get started by visiting our job board today.


When Coworkers Leave, How Do You Handle a Heavier Workload?

 

The loss of a teammate often means an increased workload for you. This can be a significant source of stress.

You may be asked to take on additional tasks and responsibilities. Due to an already heavy workload, the additional activities can seem endless.

Figuring out where to start can feel intimidating. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to plan your work and accomplish everything by the deadline.

Here are some strategies to handle the increased workload caused by the loss of a teammate.


Plan Your Work

Make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish for the week. Then, break down the list into the tasks you want to finish each day.

You may want to focus on the purpose of each task, the deadline, the desired results, the key performance indicators, and the potential challenges to determine which tasks to complete at a certain time. This helps provide clarity for the tasks, deliverables, and desired results. It also helps you understand your priorities and timelines.

Block out on your schedule the required amount of time to complete each task. Be sure to include time to take breaks and to handle unexpected events.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Determine which of your tasks are priorities and which are not. You may want to use an Eisenhower Matrix to separate your tasks into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

Your urgent and important tasks should be scheduled for completion right away. Your important but not urgent tasks should be scheduled for later. Delegate your urgent but not important tasks to a teammate. Eliminate your tasks that are not urgent or important.

Take Breaks

Walk away from your desk at regular intervals. This gives your brain time to rest and recuperate. It also helps your body stay energized and your mind focused.

Take a walk, meditate, stretch, listen to music, or read a book during your breaks. Be sure to eat healthy foods during your lunch hour. This helps maintain engagement and productivity and reduces feelings of stress.

Consider Finding a New Job

If you regularly find yourself with an increased workload, it may be time to find a new IT job. Be sure to involve RightStone in your search. Here is a link to our job board.


6 Ways to De-Stress at Work

 

Meetings, presentations, and deadlines are among the most common sources of stress at work. If left unchecked, your increasing stress level can lead to decreased engagement and productivity. This can result in anxiety, depression, and burnout.

These are reasons why you must learn to overcome stressful situations at work. The following strategies can help.

Choose among these six methods to decrease your stress level while at work.


1. Schedule Your Tasks

Take time each night to plan your tasks for the following day. Be sure to include your most challenging activities in the morning. You should feel rested and ready to produce during this time. Allow enough time between tasks for interruptions. Be sure to check off each task when it is completed. This helps you stay focused and complete what you need to do.

2. Organize Your Desk

Make sure everything on your desk is in its place. Keep out only what you are working on. Clear your workspace of everything else. Organize your files and documents so you can find the information you need when you need it. This saves time and reduces the stress of seeing everything else you need to work.

3. Listen to a Calming Sound

You may want to play soothing music or a quiet sound while you work. This might involve classical or instrumental music. Or, it might be the sound of waves, a campfire, or whales. Calming music or sounds help relieve tension.

4. Move Your Body

Establish a habit of walking and stretching throughout the day. This is especially important if your work involves a lot of sitting. Taking walks during your breaks and lunch hour helps clear your head and let the creativity flow. Stretching your arms and legs for 10 minutes three times a day helps you feel energized.

5. Eat at Regular Intervals

Consume healthy foods and drink water throughout the day. Your snacks may include a bowl of dry fruit, pretzels, or other non-perishable food. Regularly eating small amounts of food provides the fuel needed to work throughout the day. It also helps control your blood sugar level and mood.

6. Focus on Your Accomplishments

Pay attention to what you get done each day. This may include small steps toward the completion of a project or the attainment of a long-term goal. Emphasis on your achievements increases your confidence and helps you relax.

Find a New Job

If your efforts to de-stress do not work, it may be time to find a new IT job. Let RightStone help you find the one that best matches your goals and interests. Visit our job board today.


Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

 

Work-life balance is your prioritization of the time and energy committed to your professional and personal responsibilities. How you divide your time depends on what best fits your needs on a given day.

Work-life balance typically does not mean an equal balance of your responsibilities. As your priorities change, how you balance your commitments typically changes as well.

Your ability to achieve the work-life balance that is right for you helps increase your motivation, engagement, and productivity. The better able you are to find a healthy balance between your professional and personal life, the happier and healthier you should be.

The maintenance of work-life balance is especially important if your work arrangement is remote or hybrid. It can be challenging to enforce set work hours when your teammates and manager are not present to encourage you not to work during the early morning or late-night hours. This is why you must enforce boundaries for your work hours. The rest of your time needs to be spent on yourself and your family members.

Implement these tips to better manage your work-life balance.


Limit Nonessential Activities

Maintain a schedule of your most productive tasks as much as possible. The prioritization of the tasks that need to be finished increases the odds that they get done when planned.

Spend a small amount of time on your less important activities. These typically include checking your personal email, browsing social media, and surfing the internet. You can make time for these activities during your non-work hours.

Learn to Say No

Turn down the projects and activities you do not have time for. This may include social requests such as coworker parties that you have little interest in.

If you agree to take on everything that is asked of you, you likely will begin to feel overwhelmed. Your increasing workload and social activities can take away time from your core responsibilities or the personal activities that mean the most. This can result in increased stress and decreased productivity.

When asked to take on additional work, check whether there is room for it in your schedule. If not, explain to your manager why you cannot help out. Be sure to thank them for considering you.

Manage Your Stress

Schedule time to participate in activities that reduce stress. This may include yoga, meditation, running, reading, or working out.

Participation in activities you enjoy helps take your mind off work. It also can improve your mood and health. The better you manage your stress, the more engaged and productive you likely will be.

Regularly eat healthy foods. This helps strengthen your immune system and reduce your blood pressure.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs time to mentally and physically rest. You should wake up energized and productive.

Find a New Job

If you need a new IT job that offers better work-life balance, let RightStone help with your search. Visit our job board today.


How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

 

You are likely to come across a difficult coworker at some point in your IT career. This can happen to anyone at any company. How you deal with the coworker depends on your personality and the support you receive from colleagues, coworkers, and leaders. The sooner you take action to handle the issue, the sooner you may start experiencing results.

Choose among these suggestions to help you effectively deal with a difficult coworker.


Focus on Yourself

Make sure your coworker truly is causing a problem and you are not simply overreacting. Perhaps you commonly experience a similar issue with the same type of person or behavior. Or, maybe you see a pattern in your interactions with coworkers. This may mean you have a hot button that easily is pushed.

Talk with a Colleague

Find out whether a trusted colleague is noticing or experiencing similar issues with the coworker. Ask for an objective observation about the issue. If your colleague agrees that the problem exists, discuss some ways to professionally address it.

Meet with the Coworker

Discuss the issue with the coworker who is creating it. Use “I” messages to focus on your experiences of the situation. Explain the impact their actions have on you. Remain pleasant and agreeable during the discussion. Try to reach an agreement about one or two positive actions to engage in going forward.

The coworker may not be aware of their actions or how you feel about them. They might agree to consider changing their pattern of interacting in the way you described. Or, the coworker could decide not to do anything differently.

Point Out the Coworker’s Behavior

If you do not feel comfortable talking privately with the coworker, use humor to publicly address their behavior. Perhaps you can salute your coworker after an interaction. Or, you might place your hand over your heart to show that their words wounded you. Then, ask the coworker to consider using more positive words or behavior going forward.

Follow Up

Focus on whether the coworker’s behavior gets better, worsens, or does not change going forward. Determine whether a follow-up talk may make a difference. Focus on how badly you want to make peace with the coworker and keep your job.

Talk with a Manager

Determine whether you want to discuss the coworker’s behavior with your manager or the coworker’s manager. Be sure to write down notes clarifying the issue and how it impacts your productivity. Plan to participate in follow-up discussions as well.

Limit Your Interactions

Spend as little time as possible in situations that may involve interacting with the coworker. Avoid working with them on projects, voluntary committees, and other circumstances whenever you can. Transfer to another role within the organization if possible.

Find a New Job

If the coworker decides not to change, work with RightStone to find a new job. Here is a link to our job board.


A Guide to On-the-Job Training Programs

 

When you want to change jobs or careers, you might not have the time or money to pursue ongoing education or a degree. Although having additional education can benefit your job search, taking classes is not your only option to fulfill this objective. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, many employers are modifying their educational requirements and implementing paid training systems to recruit motivated talent. This means you may be able to take advantage of on-the-job training to move forward on your professional path.

Learn how on-the-job training can lead you to your next career opportunity.


Defining On-the-Job Training

Experience in a role typically is not required for one that offers on-the-job training. Instead, you get paid to learn while working in the position. You also might receive mentoring, classroom learning, and/or assistance to earn licensing or certification. Examples of these setups include internships, co-ops, apprenticeships, certificate programs, short-term training programs, and company training programs. These types of training are especially common for jobs that are hard to fill because they require specialized skills.

Determining the Options That Fit Your Interests

Knowledge of which fields offer on-the-job training helps you narrow your job search. You can use your transferrable skills and interests to further determine which path to move forward on. Or, you might want to take a career test, choose a job that fits your needs, and determine the types of training you might have access to.

Find Employers Who Provide On-the-Job Training

You may want to search job boards to find companies that are hiring trainees for immediate openings. For instance, you can search the top job sites using keywords like “on-the-job training,” “experience not required,” or “no experience” to find openings that fit your interests. You also can visit your state job bank and use keywords such as “training” or “apprenticeship” to find available roles. Plus, you can partner with a local staffing agency that specializes in the field you want to work in to see which jobs you can be matched with.

Prepare Your Application

When you find the job, apprenticeship, or training program that interests you, learn all you can about what you need to do to apply. For instance, double-check your eligibility so you know whether you fit the qualifications. Then, prepare your application materials. Even if you do not need a cover letter and resume, you should have your education, work experience, contact information, and other relevant details ready. Additionally, gather two to three professional references who can attest to your skills and qualifications. The application process should go smoothly when you have all of the information available.

Get Help with Your Job Search

Involve RightStone in your search for a role with on-the-job training. Visit our job board today.


Bad Work Habits to Stop This Year

 

Like most employees, you likely have developed bad work habits over the years. Although you may have tried making big plans to change your habits, you might continue to slip into old patterns of behavior. Fortunately, you can take smaller steps to effectively change your actions and get more desirable results.

Discover some ways to break six of the top bad work habits this year.


1. Staying Disorganized

Organization helps reduce your stress levels and allows you to accomplish more each day. Make sure you create a to-do list for the next day at the end of each workday. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and when saves you time throughout the day. Be sure to stick with your plan as much as possible. Allow flexibility for unexpected tasks as well.

2. Being Unproductive

Trying to force yourself to work when you do not feel like it typically is ineffective. To help yourself get motivated, work on a small task that requires little effort. Then, move to another simple task. Use your forward movement to work up to bigger tasks. Or, get up from your desk to take a quick walk or run an errand. Changing your focus can help you come back focused and ready to work.

3. Procrastinating

The longer you put off the tasks you do not want to handle, the more your stress level will increase. Instead, tackle your most challenging activities when you begin work in the morning. You should have enough energy and focus to finish at least some of your tasks. You can work on the activities you want to after that. This sense of accomplishment can provide motivation to finish more of your tasks the next day. You should feel much better when everything is done.

4. Skipping Breaks

Regularly taking breaks is important for your physical and mental health. You need time to rest so you come back refreshed and productive. You also need to step away from your desk for a healthy lunch, snacks, and exercise. Taking walks, meditating, or reading a book give your brain time to disengage and unwind. This increases your energy level, focus, and problem-solving ability when you return to your work.

5. Working While Sick

You should be resting rather than working when you are sick. You also should not be exposing your coworkers to germs by going to the office when ill. Instead, either call in sick or finish what you can from home. Your top priority should be getting better so you can resume your regular work duties.

6. Staying in an Unfulfilling Job

Since you spend more time at work than anywhere else, you need to enjoy your job. If you are dissatisfied with your current role, then it is time to find a new one. You need to stay engaged, productive, and learning in order to attain your career goals.

Want Help with Your Job Search?

Partner with RightStone to find a position that matches your skills and interests. Visit our job board today.


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