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Are you feeling stuck in your current position, seeking a new one, or contemplating a career change? In this interview, author and career coach Valerie Sutton answers common questions about career development. For those thinking about a new career, she offers advice on assessing your passions and your personality, knowing when you need more education to get the job you want, and researching hiring trends in the industries that interest you. For those actively searching for jobs or getting back into the job market after an absence, she discusses how to write resumes and cover letters that speak to your talents, impress potential employers, and help you land an interview.
Jeff Layton: Here's another question from one of our members: Do you have any advice on cover letters? Valerie Sutton: Cover letters are important. I don't think they are of primary importance, because I want to know that you have the skills, knowledge, and qualifications first. So oftentimes as an HR person, I'm going to go directly to that resume to make sure you have that. But the cover letter supports your resume, and it tells the story of why you want this organization, going a little bit beyond what's in your resume.
You should definitely keep that to one page and make it concise, so you want to get to the point very quickly on that cover letter. Jeff: I remember in my cover letter to lynda.com I gave a little bit of my history with the company that, you know I had first been introduced in a college class on Adobe After Effects and I had a Hands-On Training book that helped me learn that. Is it good to tell your story of how you relate to the company? Valerie: Absolutely! Because that really says I want to work for this company. It goes beyond the sort of standard you know like, oh I just happened to find this online posting, but it's not that; it's I want to work for you. And that's what employers want, they want to know that you want to work Valerie: for them specifically. Jeff: It's that personal connection? Valerie: Absolutely! Yeah. Jeff Layton: Yeah?
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