Tips for a High-Octane Job Search: Part 1

Detail from Grid before the 1908 New York to Paris Race

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In my previous post, I gave some suggestions for someone who just lost their job.  While developing the post, I mentioned some tips I used for finding a new job quickly, and thought I’d share them with you.  Part one will cover resumes and cover letters, and part two will discuss the job application process.

Develop Interchangeable Parts for Cover Letters

Do you remember you early American history, and the development of interchangeable parts?  They revolutionized production and assembly of goods, as well as reducing the expense of repairing and replacing parts of goods.  Your cover letter could be like that.  How?

Instead of creating a customized cover letter for each position, I found it very helpful to create paragraphs or sentences that would describe my traits related to the qualities that were requested in a job posting.  For example, if a job post says that someone with a strong sense of detail is desirable, I would develop a paragraph or sentence that describes my sense of detail.  I would then save that sentence or paragraph for later use.  Most job postings for similar jobs have similar requirements, so the next time a job posting inquired after my interest in detail work, I would have a spell-checked, well written sentence ready to go.  I would just insert it where it’s appropriate.

I could make the sentences or paragraphs interchangeable by using a well structured cover letter that was designed to receive the sentences or paragraphs.  By using interchangeable parts for cover letters instead of writing a customized cover letter for each position, I could reduce the time spent on developing a cover letter from 30 to 40 minutes to 5-15 minutes.

Do Not Over-customize Your Resume

I disagree with career advisors who say you should make a custom version of your resume for every position.  The reason I disagree is that maintaining multiple versions of your resume are tremendously difficult to manage, and time-consuming to construct.  I would agree that you may wish to do this for a particular job that you really want to have, but not for jobs you feel no special drive to get.

If you wish to customize your resume, I would suggest maintaining either interchangeable parts like you cover letter, or a large master resume from which you delete irrelevant information.  Otherwise, you should be able to home in on one or two types of positions, and have a general resume geared to that type of position.

To be continued: Tips for a High-Octane Job Search: Part 2.

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