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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.


3 Tips for Getting Yourself Out of a Work Rut

 

If you have been in your job a while, you may be feeling stuck. You might feel like you follow the same routine and do the same things every day.

You may begin to feel like your work is disengaging and unfulfilling. This can lead to feelings of meaninglessness and unhappiness.

When you lack creativity and inspiration, you have no motivation to perform. This may lead to letting your work pile up and not caring whether it gets done on time.

If you are feeling this way, you need to find the energy to begin improving your circumstances. The sooner you start, the sooner you can feel better about yourself.

Implement these three tips to help find your way out of a work rut.


1. Identify the Cause

Think about what may be keeping you down. Perhaps you no longer feel challenged by your work. Or, you might not be able to move up within the organization.

Consider whether the source of your unhappiness is temporary or beyond your control. Determine whether there are steps you can take to make things better.

Focus on the parts of your job that bring you joy and the parts that bring you stress. Think about whether you still are in the role because you want to be or think you should be.

Determine whether your work relationships provide meaning and fulfillment. Uncover whether you remain in your job because you do not want to waste the time and effort already invested.

2. Make Small Changes

Make a list of the changes you can make to improve your situation. This may include establishing different habits or behaviors to bring the results you desire.

Choose one or two small modifications you can begin making now. You are more likely to be successful by focusing on incremental changes rather than modifying everything at once.

Implementing small modifications is easier to maintain than big modifications. The process of change typically seems less overwhelming when you break it down into manageable steps. This helps you quickly see results.

The faster you see your hard work pay off, the more inclined you will be to continue to change your habits and behaviors. Over time, this can create significant results. It also encourages you to implement other changes when the time is right.

3. Focus on Your Goals

Consider whether your job is helping you achieve your career goals. If so, you can use this as motivation to continue to make progress toward your objectives.

Having something tangible to work toward helps increase engagement. This can elevate your productivity as you move forward on your professional path.

Is It Time to Find a New Job?

If finding a new IT job would help you get out of a work rut, include RightStone in your search. Visit our job board today.


How to Follow Up During Different Stages of the Hiring Process

 

Following up during each stage of the hiring process can help you land the role you want. This helps you stand out from other candidates. It also lets you have an open and honest conversation about the opportunity.

Follow-up is something you can control about your job search. This helps motivate you to continue moving forward.

Implement these tips to follow up throughout the stages of the hiring process.


After Resume Submission

Reach out to the hiring manager to learn more about their needs, expectations, and timeline for hiring. Show authentic interest in the role in a proactive manner.

You may want to reach out to the manager through LinkedIn, social media, or email. For instance, share that you submitted your resume and would like to learn more about the opportunity and company. Ask whether the manager would tell you more about their experience there.

This can help you decide whether it makes sense to move forward or look elsewhere. It also can provide more information about how you can help the manager reach business goals. This helps you frame your answers to interview questions.

After a Phone Screen or Interview

Email a note of gratitude to the person you had a conversation with. This helps create a positive impression of you as a potential employee.

Highlight how your skills and experience can help the hiring manager solve their problems. Also, express interest in moving to the next step in the process.

If you do not hear back within 5 days, call the person you had a conversation with. You may be able to pick up on nonverbal cues that suggest hesitancy or concerns you can address. Continuing to follow up shows motivation to land the job.

After a Final Interview

Call the hiring manager if you do not hear from them by the given date. Ask what else they need to see from you to make a decision. Or, send a 30-second video reminding the manager why you are best equipped for the position.

Keep in mind that the top candidate may not accept the job offer. This means you still could secure the role.

Work with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter from RightStone provides fast follow-up during every stage of the hiring process. Visit our job board today.


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.


4 Ways to Advance Your Career by Embracing Your CIO’s Strategy

 

As an IT professional, advancement along your career path is important. One way to move forward is by helping the CIO attain their strategic goals for the company. Understanding the CIO’s overall mission and the role of technology to increase company performance demonstrates your own strategic thinking abilities. You can talk about your experiences in future interviews to set yourself apart from other candidates and potentially land a new job.

Helping the CIO reach any of the following four priorities this year can aid in your career progression.


1. Data Analysis

Use your data literacy to address business needs and outcomes. This helps you transform the company to better carry out its mission. Understanding the analysis process, analytical tools, and how to work with data lets you collaborate with non-technical users and fill business needs through data and technology. This helps the organization become more inclusive, an issue that all stakeholders should be focused on.

2. Movement of Data to the Cloud

Most companies are moving their data to the cloud, adopting a software as a service (SaaS) solution, and increasing their cybersecurity. You can use your documentation, task delegation, and knowledge-sharing skills to facilitate and support these updates. Promotion of growth makes you a positive change agent in the organization.

3. Expansion of Self-Service Technologies

Many companies are looking for scalable, secure, and effective self-service solutions. This is because the pandemic continues to impact the way basic services are delivered to consumers. Demonstration of your knowledge and skills involving self-service technologies makes you an important team player. You can create practical roadmaps for adoption, transparency, and related issues.

4. Navigation of a Cultural Shift

Company culture is difficult to feel and maintain during times of significant change. This includes shifting from in-person work to remote or hybrid work and back again. Because working in silos is ineffective, you can break down the barriers by becoming a culture contributor. You can make it a goal to collaborate on projects to drive successful outcomes. This may include welcoming, training, and mentoring new team members, sharing knowledge and ideas, or boosting morale. Doing your part to contribute to a positive work environment and culture can lead to new opportunities within the organization.

Advance Your Career

Find a job with more responsibility with help from RightStone. 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.


How to Combat Work Stress

 

Stress at work can have a number of sources. Some of the most common include increased workloads, the pressure to perform well, longer work hours, downsizing, and issues with coworkers. Increased stress levels can lead to disengagement, reduced productivity, and greater absences. Bigger issues include sickness, depression, and problems at home. As a result, you want to monitor your stress level each day and take steps to combat potential issues before they get out of hand.

Use any of the following methods to decrease your stress level at work.


Time Management

Make a list of the personal and professional tasks you want to accomplish for the day or week. Your goal is to create a balance between work and family time and social and solo activities each day. Then, distinguish between the activities you need to do and the activities you should do. Place your required activities at the start of each day and the activities you should do later in the day. Allow enough time to finish one activity before beginning another. Also, schedule 10- to 15-minute breaks throughout each day and an hour for lunch. You need time to get up from your desk, take a walk, eat healthy foods, and clear your head.

Daily Exercise

Engage in aerobic activity every day. Increasing your heart rate for at least 30 minutes helps elevate your mood, energy level, and focus. Your body and mind are better able to relax then. Breaking up your exercise into three 10-minute intervals can be just as effective as exercising for a half hour all at once.

Healthy Eating

Consume just enough food and beverages to provide the energy needed to stay productive. If you eat too little and experience low blood sugar, you may become anxious and irritable. Or, if you eat too much, you may feel lethargic. Instead, try consuming small meals throughout the day. This can even out your blood sugar level, maintain energy, and keep you focused.

Adequate Sleep

Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. This reduces your vulnerability to anxiety and insomnia. You are better able to maintain emotional balance when you are well-rested. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day can promote rest at night. Disengaging from mobile devices an hour before bedtime can help as well.

Looking for a New Job?

RightStone can set you up with opportunities to advance your IT career. See which jobs interest you today.


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