3 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Cover Letter

3 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Cover Letter

Job seekers put a lot of work into the job hunt and resume preparation. Without a great cover letter, employers might not even look at your resume. At Brelsford Personnel we’ve seen thousands of cover letters, so we have a pretty good handle on what gets results. Read on to discover how to catch that potential employer’s attention, highlight your qualifications and land the interview.

Three Brief Paragraphs

A good cover letter is no longer than three short paragraphs. Hiring managers and staffing agencies are busy. You put your education, work history and volunteer experience in your resume, so you don’t need to list it all again in your cover letter.

Use what you know about the employer and the job description to choose which of your skills to highlight. While you want to let potential employers know your capabilities, at this point you might not have enough information to state you’re the perfect fit. Stick to a short summary of what you know you can do.

These Cover Letter Sections

At the top of your cover letter, put your contact details. Include your name, street address, phone number and email address. If your LinkedIn profile is complete and updated, you can include that as well.

Beneath your contact information, create a section with the date, hiring manager’s name, the company address and phone number and the contact person’s email. If at all possible, address your letter to a person and not the generic “To Whom it May Concern” or “Sir or Madam.”

Grab attention with a first paragraph that tells how you heard about the job, why you’re interested and what professional experience you can contribute. Use the second paragraph to provide specifics on how your skills fit the job description. For example, if the job description states the employer wants an administrative assistant with technology and communication skills, succinctly explain how you used tools like Microsoft Office Suite, WordPress and Outlook to effectively communicate in a previous role.

Use your third paragraph to thank the potential employer for considering you and to request an interview. Wrap it up with “Sincerely” or “Respectfully,” then your name.

Extra Information If You’re Relocating

If your job change coincides with a move to East Texas, mention why in your cover letter. Employers are edgy about hiring someone who might not stick around, so if you have family ties, you’ve already bought a home or you have other strong reasons to want employment in the area, let them know. Tell when you anticipate moving and when you’re available for interviews.

More Job Search Resources

Find advice for writing your resume, dressing for interview success and acing the interview on our resources page. Then check out our online job postings today.

Sources:

https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CoverLetters.html
https://resumecompanion.com/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/
http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/16/pf/how-to-write-cover-letter/index.html

How to Attract The Best East Texas Employees Part 3 – Build a Winning Corporate Culture

How to Attract The Best East Texas Employees Part 3 – Build a Winning Corporate Culture

Is It Really That Important?

Is company culture just a buzzword, or does it make a difference in employee recruitment, performance and retention? Harvard Business Review says company culture “picks up where the employee handbook leaves off.” Entrepreneur.com defines it as “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.”

Your corporate culture is an essential part of developing your brand’s identity and values. A strong company culture attracts the best East Texas employees and keeps them engaged. It decides how staff responds when the boss is out of the room or the challenge they face takes an unexpected turn.

Corporate Culture Statistics

When savvy business owners consider investing time, energy and other resources, they seek data that indicates they’ll see a return on that investment. Here are some numbers.

  • A Columbia University study analyzed the relationship between job satisfaction and employee turnover and found employees who ranked their company culture as high left only 13.9 percent of the time. Offices with a poor company culture had a turnover rate up to 48.4 percent.

 

  • Company culture makes employees happier and more productive. One study by the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick discovered happy workers are 12 percent more productive than average, while unhappy employees are 10 percent less productive. People work harder when they’re happy.

 

  • When researchers in a Duke’s Fuqua School of Business study talked to 1,800 CEOs and CFOs, 92 percent of them said improving their firm’s culture would increase their company’s value. They linked ineffective culture with high turnover, unethical behavior and poor quarterly earnings.

4 Components of a Strong Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is about more than just pleasant lighting, free snacks and mentioning birthdays at staff meetings.

Strong corporate culture has a mission or vision. TED has a two-word mission statement that says the community’s purpose is to “spread ideas.” Coca Cola says their mission is “to refresh the world in mind, body and spirit.” Your vision or mission guides employee decision making and spills into interactions with customers, vendors and stakeholders.

Strong culture has clearly articulated values. Personal values dictate how people live their lives. Company values define how employees and stakeholders act in business and in the community. Values might include a commitment to innovation, environmental sustainability, compassion, honesty, dependability or a spirit of adventure.

Staff communicates with respect. People feel comfortable bringing up new ways of doing things. Managers offer feedback constructively and encourage each team member to be their best. There’s an open door communication policy with a clearly defined process for resolving conflict.

New hires fit. When people spend most of their day together, they are united if they share the same mission and values. Your employees bring your company culture to life.

In the book Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porras studied 18 companies over six years to try and identify cultural attributes of top ranking US companies. Each company had different beliefs and values, so a strong culture wasn’t tied specifically to prioritizing idealism, courage or self-improvement.

What they all had in common was that they prioritized hiring, managing and training employees based on their vision and values. They had a clear system for making sure each new hire was a cultural fit.

How to Attract The Best East Texas Employees Part 3 – Build a Winning Corporate Culture

Company Culture and Recruiting

The people you hire represent your company even when they’re not working. They talk about their job when they’re sitting on the patio at Fresh. During the day they post memes to social media that indicate how they feel about their jobs and their co-workers. When they’re at church or the gym, who they are either aligns or contrasts with what your business values.

Finding the right fit isn’t just about retention and productivity. It’s about what’s best for each candidate. When people are in an environment that suits their beliefs and values, they grow and thrive. When they’re not, they feel dissatisfied and unengaged.

Know how your values impact job duties for each role. Reference them in your job posting and design interview questions that relate directly to those values. Build them into your onboarding process. Regularly communicate them at every level of your organization.

Shaping Your Current Culture

Mold your current culture by doing the following:

  • Look at your current mission statement and identify the key values that will form the foundation of your company culture.

 

  • Interview staff to see where you stand. Inc. provides a 15-question true or false quiz to evaluate corporate culture with advantages and pitfalls for some of the most common types, or you can develop your own. If weaknesses emerge, state what you want to change and how you plan to do so.

 

  • Seek employee input on the values you’ve identified.

 

  • Communicate cultural values and goals. Put them in your handbook, in the breakroom and in the company newsletter.

 

  • Encourage everyone to drink the Kool-Aid. If management and staff worked together to find what you’re passionate about, everyone should be a believer. If you can’t practice what you preach, don’t preach it.

 

  • Prioritize ownership. Let each individual know how they contribute to the big picture.

 

  • Regularly express gratitude. Thank people in public and in private for the ways they demonstrate company values. Take time for thanksgiving during celebrations and times of conflict or stress.

Solid company culture turns individuals into teams. It attracts employees who love their jobs and keeps them engaged.

Hire a Cultural Fit Every Time

At Brelsford Personnel, our goal is to make a positive difference for the people we serve. Since 1988 we’ve successfully placed candidates with top Texas companies because we study our clients.

We seek to start each relationship with employers by making a site visit so we understand your organization’s personality, leadership style and mission. We screen candidates for both skill and personality to match employers and staff. Experience the Brelsford difference when you get in touch today.

Sources:
https://hbr.org/2013/05/six-components-of-culture
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/29/15-best-ways-to-build-a-company-culture-that-thrives/#47c84e0c1b96
https://blog.kissmetrics.com/great-company-culture/
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239475

Content by Missy for Brelsford Personnel

Find a Job in Tyler With These 3 Interview Tips

Find a Job in Tyler With These 3 Interview Tips

Job interviews are stressful. The more you want the position, the more pressure you’re going to feel. Practicing helps settle your nerves, identifies your areas of weakness and helps you be your best when you sit down with a potential employer. Find a job in Tyler when you follow these tips.

Enlist Help

Ask a friend or family member to act as your interviewer. Your spouse or best friend might have trouble remaining objective, so select someone else if possible. If you’re a student, your advisor or career services department might give you an unbiased view.

Set up a time for your practice interview so you can test drive your answers to common interview questions. A mock interview will help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety and help improve your confidence.

Choose someone you can trust to be honest with you. Give them the job posting and any information you’ve gathered about the company. Let them know ahead of time you want their constructive feedback and that their contribution might be the difference between landing your dream job and making mistakes that cost you the position.

Ask them to evaluate not just what you say, but your body language. Do you make eye contact? Do you fidget? Are your answers thorough without being too long? What could you do to more clearly showcase what you’re capable of? When they give you that feedback, really listen.

Find a Job in Tyler With These 3 Interview Tips

Make It As Real As Possible

You may know exactly where your new blouse or your best blazer is hanging in your closet, but that’s not enough. You don’t want to find out your shoe has a broken buckle five minutes before you have to leave for your interview. Get dressed like you’re actually meeting with your interviewer to avoid any surprises and the stress that goes with them.

Print or gather any resources you’ll take to the actual meeting. Refer to them when you practice as you would at your real interview to re-familiarize yourself with their contents.

Start the interview like you will in real life, with a handshake and a greeting. It feels strange to begin that way with someone you already know, but the first few seconds of your real interview can be stressful. It’s easier if you’ve walked through it before.

Practice Common Questions

Some interview questions are common in any industry. Spend some time preparing to answer questions like, “What can you tell me about yourself?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Other questions are industry specific.

Create a list of common interview questions for your industry and give that list to your friend or family member. Even if they aren’t the exact questions your interviewer asks, you’ll gain experience answering similar ones.

Be specific in your answers. Employers don’t just want to hear you’re good at your job, they want to know specific situations where you’ve handled difficult personality types, overcome challenges or developed new solutions that increased profit.

For more on writing your resume, dressing for interview success and communicating effectively, see our resources page. Start looking for your next job when you check our online East Texas job listings today.

Missy Ticer is a blogger and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/job-interview-practice-how-to-rehearse-for-an-interview-2062803

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-do-a-practice-interview-thatll-actually-help-you

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/Practice-Makes-Perfect

Why You Need To Hire Job Candidates With These Three “Weaknesses”

Why You Need To Hire Job Candidates With These Three “Weaknesses”

BY TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC
[COURTESY OF FASTCOMPANY.COM]

One personality expert says hiring managers need to stop downplaying candidates’ flaws.

Facebook’s Head of People told Fast Company last week that her team of recruiters works hard to uncover candidates’ strengths. Most companies try to do much the same. They assess the qualities and skills they believe job performance depends on, and they design interviews to test whether candidates are likely to display those qualities once on the job.

This isn’t exactly a mistake, but it’s only part of the puzzle. Everyone has weaknesses and drawbacks that they’ll invariably bring with them, too. What hiring managers usually do is just try to decide whether a candidate’s strengths will outweigh those detriments.

But what they don’t often do is systematically determine which types of “personality flaws” they’d rather have on their teams. After all, some are a lot worse than others, and some can even be assets under the right circumstances.

WHAT YOU WANT VS. WHAT YOU’LL GET

There are millions of different jobs, and each company has its own culture, so what employers actually want in job candidates varies widely. But personality research suggests that all strong candidates tend to look rather similar, in the sense that there’s a limited number of attributes that make them strong: They’re generally more rewarding to deal with, more capable, and more willing to work hard than others are. Employers may use many different names for what they want–grit, adaptability, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurialism–but what they always need is ability, likability, and drive. You can ride those qualities to the bank any day of the week.

But while these three competencies predict future job performance and career success with remarkable accuracy, they don’t tell the full story about a candidate’s potential. In fact, no matter how attractive a candidate’s “bright side” may be, they’ll always have a “dark side,” too–a set of undesirable or counterproductive traits that hinder their ability to work well, mostly because of their disruptive effects on others.

Hiring managers tend to focus on attributes that predict positive career outcomes–like teamwork, engagement, performance, and leadership skills–and neglect the ones that predict derailment and failure: coasting, underperformance, antisocial behaviors, and the like. But whenever you hire somebody, they’re bringing a combination of these qualities with them through the door every single time. And your standard “What’s your biggest weakness?” job-interview question isn’t enough to help you assess the total package.

More often than not, questions like that are simply meant to evaluate candidates’ social skills and preparation; they’re basically an invitation to fake modesty or disguise additional strengths as weaknesses. Asked about her worst habit or character trait, an astute candidate will confess to being “a perfectionist,” “too altruistic,” or “too humble.” Then she’ll deliver a handy anecdote pretending that those qualities aren’t actually valuable in most workplaces–which astute interviewers know they often are.

Just think what would happen if a candidate answered by candidly listing their real faults, like being lazy, grumpy, selfish, or dim. At best, they might earn points (or even sympathy) for bold-faced honesty, but their chances of landing the job would fall to zero on the spot. Most people would wisely decline an invitation to hang themselves, but employers would assume no responsibility for those brazen or foolish enough to accept it. In practice, asking about weaknesses is just an easy way to eliminate some candidates without having to think too hard.

Yet none of this changes the fact that certain weaknesses are preferable to others. So if you want to assess the whole person and make sure you hire people with the best overall personality profiles, you can’t pretend they’re flawless. Instead, you need to look–intentionally–for the least problematic weaknesses a candidate might have. Here are three of them:

1. CONFORMISM

We live in a world that celebrates “originals” and rule-breakers, but no organization (or society) could function if such individuals made up the majority. In fact, any collective system requires the bulk of its people to follow rules and norms, and employers know this.

While many companies say they need innovators and disruptors, what they truly require is people who will do what they’re told. As Susan Cain recently pointed out in the Times, this isn’t a bad thing; “followership” is a skill set we need just as badly as leadership. (“Perhaps the biggest disservice done by the outsize glorification of ‘leadership skills,’” she adds, “is to the practice of leadership itself . . . It attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve.”) And yet you’ll find no job listing out there that includes terms like “obedient” or “dutiful,” except perhaps in the military.

Still, a great deal of psychological research suggests that rule-bound and conscientious individuals tend to perform better–even when they are leaders (presumably because they can still please their own bosses). As I show in my latest book, a large number of bosses would rather promote obedient and easygoing employees than talented but difficult ones. And in fact, many actually do.

2. ATTENTION-SEEKING

We might be fascinated by narcissists, but the common view is that great employees and leaders let their achievements speak for themselves. If two people are equally talented or productive, most of us would say that we’d rather work with the one who avoids self-promotion and seems humble and modest.

Yet meta-analytic studies show that attention-seeking individuals emerge more often as leaders, and they’re often perceived as more effective once they do, according to 360-degree feedback data. The danger, of course, is that many attention-seeking job candidates may also be narcissistic, so the best-case scenario is someone who enjoys performing and being the center of attention but isn’t actually self-obsessed or entitled.

In other words, it isn’t always a bad thing to hire an altruistic exhibitionist–a selfless clown.

3. (A DOSE OF) DISHONESTY

Make no mistake: Pathological dishonesty is harmful, particularly when coupled with low integrity. You don’t want to give a job to a lowdown liar.

But dishonesty isn’t a categorical evil in practice. Not only is it minimally problematic in small doses, but most of us know how it can even be useful, as the phrase “white lie” indicates. People who are brutally honest straight-talkers may even struggle more in their careers than those who are able to fake it–within reason–particularly if they seem authentic in the process.

That may not sit well with you, but there’s research to suggest, additionally, that dishonest people tend to be more creative (perhaps because lying requires creativity and imagination). So if you’re hiring someone for a creative role, there’s a better chance you’ll be interviewing candidates who are adept at bending the truth. But most of them probably won’t be doing it maliciously. After all, the premise that we should “just be ourselves” is both naïve and foolish given what we know of human psychology.

Behaviorally, full authenticity describes acting without inhibitions or constraints, as we do when we’re partying with our friends–not a great formula for the workplace. The ideal employee is capable of exercising diplomacy and adhering to social etiquette, and this inevitably requires being at least somewhat dishonest: telling people that they’ve done well when they haven’t (especially if they’ve tried hard); telling your boss she had a great idea when in fact she didn’t; making a client feel like the most important person in the world when they’re actually really irritating.

So don’t stop looking for candidates’ strengths. If you are lucky enough to attract employees who are able, likable, and driven, just make sure that they have the best possible flaws. Sometimes a dose of dishonesty, attention-seeking, and conformism may be the most tolerable defects you can ask for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is an international authority in psychological profiling, people analytics, and talent management.

3 Benefits to Using a Staffing Firm in your Job Search

By Debra Auerbach
[Courtesy of Career Builder.com]

Three Benefits to Using a Staffing Firm in your Job Search

THREE KEY ADVANTAGES OF USING A STAFFING FIRM ARE EXPERIENCE, INSIGHTS AND CONFIDENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES.

Sometimes a job search can feel isolating. You’re spending hours upon hours searching for opportunities, working on your resume and applying to job openings, often without having any outside feedback about what you’re doing right or wrong. That isolation can add a lot of emotional stress to an already nerve-wracking experience.

What you may not realize is that you don’t have to go it alone. “Psychologists tell us that next to death of a spouse, death of a child and death of a parent, the fourth most emotional experience we have, coupled with divorce, is searching for a job. It is emotionally stressful,” says Tony Beshara, owner and president of Babich & Associates, the oldest placement and recruitment service in Texas. “A professional staffing firm can help eliminate that emotional stress. Staffing firms are in the trenches on a daily basis with candidates and employers.”

Beshara says the three key advantages of using a staffing firm are experience, insights and confidential opportunities. Read on to learn more about these benefits and how staffing firms can play a crucial role in helping you find your next career:

1. Experience

According to Beshara, the average U.S. professional changes jobs every two and a half to three years. So that means a worker may go a long stretch of time before needing to engage in a job search. Staffing firm recruiters, on the other hand, live and breathe the job-search process daily.

Beshara points out that within the period of time between job searches, the job market can change – sometimes drastically. “The staffing professional is current on exactly what is going on in the immediate market. They have a unique perspective that the job seeker will not have. The market for a particular skill or experience is never the same as it was three years ago. It isn’t likely any job candidate is going to be aware of that change. So, the ‘new’ candidate may think that finding a job is going to be like ‘last time,’ but it’s not.”

A knowledgeable staffing professional can help navigate a job seeker through the market changes, so the job seeker is less likely to encounter any surprises or challenges along the way. “The experienced staffing pro doesn’t give theoretical or abstract advice, but practical ‘this is the way it is … this is what you should expect … this is what we should do’ advice,” Beshara says.

2. Insights

One of the often frustrating parts about job searching is not getting any feedback from employers as to why you aren’t the right fit for a role. When working with a staffing firm, you get access to that kind of information, which can help improve your search now and down the line.

“Staffing professionals have insights that candidates can’t get anywhere else,” Beshara says. “Since the majority of us work the same clients and the same hiring mangers over many years, we know what they like and how they like it, what they will hire and what they won’t. Since we get to know them personally, we not only understand the job they are trying to fill but we know their personalities and personal likes and dislikes. We give those insights to our candidates to be sure both parties have the best chance of success not in just getting a job, but [in having] a long, solid employment relationship.”

3. Confidential opportunities

According to a 2014 study conducted by CareerBuilder and Inavero, the attribute job seekers value the most in staffing sales representatives or recruiters is that they can find opportunities job seekers wouldn’t be able to find themselves. Not only is that because staffing professionals are skilled at knowing which jobs might be the right fit, but it’s also because they are privy to opportunities that job seekers wouldn’t normally have access to.

“Because our clients trust us, they come to us with confidential job opportunities before they go to the general market,” Beshara says. “We have access to the ‘hidden’ job market. Hiring authorities will often ask us to fill positions that even people in their own organization don’t know about.”

Sometimes, there doesn’t even need to be a job opening for a staffing firm to get you a job. “Again, because of trust and insight, we know the kinds of employers that are interested in certain types of experience, whether or not they are ‘actively looking’ for a candidate,” Beshara notes. “One-third of the positions we fill don’t exist before we call a hiring authority representing a candidate we know they would be interested in speaking with. Employers will hire exceptional candidates when they come along even if they don’t have a formal opening. A good staffing professional knows his or her hiring authorities well enough to know the kind of candidate they’d be interested in even if they aren’t formally ‘looking.'”