How to Craft the Perfect Cover Letter and Resume for the Job

Through my experience with The Bryan School of Business and Economics of UNCG, I’ve learned that you have to stand out in your cover letter and resume pitches to each and every job.  I’ve help my friends before in the past to customize their cover letters and resumes.  Here are some tips to do just that:

  • Use action verbs in your resume.  When listing each job duties under a job title, start it off with an action verb such as developed, created, managed, conduced, moderated, increased, and formulated.
  • Research each company and the job responsibilities of that position.  Figure out which past experiences and internship matches up with that position to include in your resume and cover letter.  You can go into detail about other supporting  positions when you get that interview!
  • Unless you have over 10 years experience or the job asks for it, keep your resume under 1 page.  Having more than 2 pages automatically gets you looked over.  More times than not they don’t care about other experiences if it doesn’t directly relate to what they need.
  • Reference something about the company that you like in your cover letter.  Again, DO YOUR RESEARCH!  Look at the company’s mission and goals and see if they align with your own.  If they don’t, rethink applying.  Don’t work for a cigarette company if you don’t support it.  Then again, even if you don’t agree with it but still want to work there, find that connection that will get you the interview.
  • Don’t forget a thank you note if the company decides to grant you an interview.  I will admit that I also make this mistake.  It could be a deal breaker and it lets the employer know that you took the time to thank them.  I would recommend an actual snail mail letter but a great email will also work.

Remember if you scored the interview, go above and beyond to stand out.  Confidence is key!

How to Network at an Event

When you meet people from work, on-go-to conferences, and tradeshows, the people you meet may help you with your next project for work.  Here are a few tips:

Arrive early-make sure that you are prepared for the event that you are attending.  Chances are others will do the same and you can connect instantly without a room full of people in your way.

Don’t be afraid to speak first– sometimes breaking the ice requires nothing more than a smile and an introduction.  You can also casually walk beside someone and comment on how wonderful the previous speaker was.

Ask a question– if something was unclear at the conference, chances are other attendees may help you find the correct answer.  Thank them and introduce yourself.  This will also unintentionally break the ice and for a conversation between two strangers.

Have business cards ready– stand out when networking.  Having a plain business card will take the experience of networking on a downward slope.  Make the business card help the other person remember who you are.  Include a photo on your cards.  Make sure you get as many business cards as possible.

Follow up– after the event is over and it has been a few days after you have settle from your trip back home, follow up with the people you’ve connected with.  It can be simple as just touching base with them and keeping the conversation going with emails every now and then.  Maybe share an article they would find interesting.

Why Communication is Essential

Communication.  The process of how we exchange information through verbal and non-verbal (body language) acts.  Without communication, we can not truly express ourselves.  It would also be very difficult to accomplish anything in life.

On that note, I will try to be brief in this post.  When I read articles with attention-grabbing titles, I look for the bread and butter of the article such as a title called “The 4 skills you need to…” I go ahead and scan the article for those four skills.

1. When communicating with one or more people, you must be sure to get your idea clearly across to them.  It is an important factor in relationships, friendships, partnerships, business, projects, task, goals, plans, and transactions.

2. In business, not responding in a timely manner is a huge mistake! Respond in a timely manner.  If we are sending emails back and forth right away and it takes two days to respond to a simple yes or no question, then you are at fault and delaying the business process.  Bad or no communication costs time and money and we cannot afford to lose either one.

3. It is a big responsibility to venture out on your own and go into business for yourself.  I applaud and respect you, as long as you realize that everything falls on you and your decisions.  You MUST reply and respond to all calls, texts, and emails when it deals with business on behalf of your brand, no matter what the response may say.  Not responding at all speaks volumes on how you run your business and it looks bad to the public when you neglect communicating.

4. Ask questions when given an assignment, offered a job, or in a position to make a major decision in one area of your life.  Communicating, after all, involves two people conversing to understand one main idea.

Stepping on toes

So I’m watching re-runs of “The Hills” on MTV. I love this show. This particular episode shows Heidi talking to a co-worker, Elodie. Elodie tells Heidi that she is interested in the new job opening within Bolthouse Producttions company that they work for. She goes into detail about how she deserves the job and what the job entails. Heidi expresses to Elodie that she should apply.

Meanwhile after work, Heidi gets home and tells her boyfriend at the time, Spencer, that a job is open and that she is kind of interested. Her boyfriend encourages her to apply, even only after being there for a year. Elodie has been there longer. Heidi takes Spencer’s advice and talks to her boss.

Heidi must have really worked hard and gave a good convincing speech because her boss promoted her instead of Elodie. When Elodie found out, she clearly felt betrayed. Heidi mentions she didn’t want to step on any toes and it’s just business but you can see that Heidi knows what she did was bad against her “office friend”. Elodie tells Heidi that it’s all good and that she should appreciate the job.

Seeing Heidi with her new office and new assistant just doesn’t sit well with Elodie.  She is clearly holding a grudge against Heidi and every time she walks by Heidi’s new office, she rolls her eyes and shakes her head.  Eloide ends up quitting her job.  Apparently she couldn’t take working with Heidi and a boss who felt like betrayed her.

This is a tough life lesson for those in the work field.  When it comes down to it, there are no friends in the work place.  This is a dog-eat-dog world and sometimes people will go behind your back to get ahead in their careers.  You have got to think about yourself first before anyone else.  If I think I can do a new job that has just been offered in my place of work, but I haven’t been there as long just like Heidi, I will to still apply and list what I have done and the reasons why I can benefit the company in that position.  I would feel bad about my co-worker if I got the position over them having them being at the company longer but I would just have to get over it and do my job.

What would you do?  How would you feel?

 

Help me!

On a hot, humid day earlier this season, I was relaxing by the pool reading my book. While reading I stopped periodically to watch this woman and her four beautiful little girls play in the pool. The oldest was almost as big as her mother but the other three were really small, no more than 7 years old.

One of the girls were swimming in the 5 foot end of the pool. She was struggling to stay afloat and none of her family was near by to help her. She yelled out “Help me! Help me!” and in an instance, her older sister jumped in to save her tired little arms.

My take on this situation is that it is ok to ask for help. You may not be an expert in an area that you are assigned a task to but that is why we have co-workers and professionals in the industry. Network and pick their brain. You may be sinking but if you ask for help, you will float to safety. I find this vital in the public relations industry.

And that’s exactly what I did.  I took initiative and found a PR agency in my area and met with the CEO.  She gave me great advice and I really need to start working on some things.

Research, Measure, & Ask questions!

I recently moved into a new apartment about a couple of months ago. I needed furniture for my living room. I finally found what I thought was the perfect thing. With the help of my daddy :), I was able to get it. There is only one problem: it didn’t fit in my living room when it was finally delivered!

I should have measured the space of my living room before. The love seat was so close to the television. When I looked at the receipt, it said all sales are final, no exchanges. I got really angry, at myself. I should have known better than to make a huge purchase without figuring out if it would fit.

I didn’t have anything to lose so I called the furniture place back and kindly asked them if I could exchange it for a sectional I saw that was the same price. Let me give you the background of my furniture visits, yes visits with an s. You see I had been to that furniture store four times already and spoke with the same man. On my last time he was happy to learn that I was going to pay the full amount. He kept saying I looked like his sister and also commented on my firm handshake. Luckily for me, I didn’t take the couch set out of the plastic so they agreed to exchange it despite their no exchange policy. I was praying and thanking God the entire time! That would have been a costly mistake on my behalf.

Sometimes it’s ok to challenge the rules. You may get an outcome in your favor. Think about the pros and cons of every decision you make and then decide a course of action if your plan doesn’t work out the way you desired.

My lovely new sectional that I had to go through so much trouble to get. It’s so comfortable and easy to fall asleep on.

Things Aren’t Always As They Seem

This past weekend I went on vacation on a cruise to The Bahamas. I went with some friends from high school and we planned months for this trip. We all needed some sun and fun. A couple of us flew out early Thursday to spend the day in Miami before we cruised out Friday evening.

When the two of us got there, we waited two hours for the hotel shuttle to come get us. Apparently all the chain hotels had shuttles coming every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes. The name of the hotel we booked with was The Best Miami Hotel. Do you see where I am going with this? -_-

The shuttle goes right pass us the first time and when he finally got to us, he was mad at us because we wasn’t where they told us to be. We stood where all the shuttles were to pick up people. It took 45 minutes to drive from the airport to the hotel when it should have only taken no more than 20. We get there, the place looked old and run down. They didn’t keep the pool clean and it was full of leaves. They closed down one part of the hotel because the balcony had ended and was under construction. Then guest services told us we had to pay a different price than what we agreed as a down payment. I thought the room was going to get better, it didn’t.

The room was a mess and it didn’t have a telephone book where we could call other hotels. We had to find our way with our mobile phones that were dying and the room didn’t have enough outlets. We even walked around to see any restaurants near that we felt comfortable walking back to the hotel in the dark. After everything went under for us we made up this lie to get back to the airport so we could get our deposit back. We ate at the airport after not eating since early that morning and found a room near the airport that thankfully had shuttle service to the Port of Miami and a continental breakfast.

The next morning after everyone else arrived late that night, we went in the lobby to wait for the shuttle. It was 45 minutes late. When it finally came, the driver was really stressed out because the shuttle that originally planned to pick us up got into an accident and he just kept sighing and putting his head in his hand. We had thought he was crazy because he kept doing this weird hand signal (and one of my friends does a great impression of it LOL).

Finally we get to the cruise ship and get through security. We are on the deck of the ship at noon and it doesn’t leave until 6pm. From that time we waited on our luggage to get to our rooms and went on the deck to eat at one of their free buffets. They also had a cookout at 5pm. There was a live band and I finally felt like I was on vacation. Some of us got up and dance while the band was playing and we was have a good time. We got in the jacuzzi and stayed until we left the port.

The next day, unfortunately for us, it rained. By the time we had woke up, we had arrived at The Great Stir Up Island that the cruise line  owned. The ship had to stay out in the ocean so it didn’t get stuck in shallow waters so there was smaller boats to take us from the ship to the island. It had not stop raining by that time. On the way there, the boat rocked so much from the winds and rain that I thought it was going to flip over. I was literally scared out of my mind because I don’t know how to swim. By the time we had got to the island the rain was much heavier and we just decided to take a few pictures and head on back to the ship without getting off the boat. Again we had to endure the ride back to the cruise ship and again, we got scared because not only did the boat rock, we had to stop the boat completely to wait for the other boat to leave, twice!

Riding to the Great Stir Up island

After getting back on the ship we got in the jacuzzi and got some ice cream and fresh fruit (which was one of the best things about the cruise). That night we had planned on going to the karaoke event and the white party event as well as a 2 for 1 martini event. After having martini’s we went to karaoke. That was a funny moment because one of my friends actually did it by herself. She usually would not do it but hey, we were on vacation and we weren’t going to see these people again.

After leaving karaoke, we went to the White Party, in our normal clothes. We knew they weren’t going to kick us out because we knew everybody didn’t bring an all white outfit. Low and behold a quarter of the people there had on all different types of colors. We had a ball at that party. Not only did we not have on white, we did not have on a night outfit. It was so much fun. We went to bed hoping for a brighter day on Nassau, Bahamas.

It was not a brighter day  in Nassau. It rained the entire trip but we were going on the island this time. You can’t let a little rain ruin your vacation. It is all about how you make your experience. We even made fashionable rain outfits out of trash bags! Some of us had on dresses, cardigans, and coats made out of a plastic bag. It was hilarious and we dressed it up with accessories like belts. When we got off the ship we ran to the island, which we didn’t need to do because there were shuttles taking us from the ship to the entrance of the island. We got wet for nothing but we kept pressing on.

I shopped for most of my family there and it was all tax-free. I was even able to bargain with the shop workers to give me lower prices. Something told me that they would accept a little bit less better than nothing at all. I was victorious LOL!

Me and the NCL Ship.

After leaving the island, the ship ran into some rocky waves that made everyone on board sway. It was sickening to experience sea sickness and can’t do anything about it but ride it out. The very last day, we all dressed up in our best and went to a nice dinner in one of the cruise ship’s restaurants. The food was good but the desserts were amazing. By that time, we were all ready to be in use of our cell phones. I personally liked being cut off from the rest of my world. No boss calling me on my vacation, no Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, emails or phone calls disturbing my peace.

On the second day, my favorite part of the whole trip was falling asleep in the jacuzzi. You see it was raining hard and everybody wanted to leave and get dry except me and one of my best friends. We had the jacuzzi all to ourselves and we actually end up falling asleep. I felt comfort in the cool raining hitting my face and chest while the rest of my body laid in warm bubbling water. I prayed real quick right then and thanked God for giving me this experience.

Even though we didn’t see the sun only one time during that vacation, it taught me that you can’t let little things rain on your parade. Even though the first hotel misled themselves on the internet and all the waiting we did, we had every intention to have a fun and memorable trip and we did. So much fun was had in just sitting in the room and chatting about the good times and bad periods in high school. We laughed so much.

Have you had a moment where it didn’t turn out like you thought? Comment and tell me about it!

This is important for public relations because while something may appear different on the outside, it is important to expose the goodness behind it all and bring it to light. It will not be sunny every day in the Caribbean just like it is a good chance that your client will not always experience good p.r.

Check out other pictures from our trip:

Even in the rain, paradise is beautiful