Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts and Punctuation, Laine Jaremey
Video

How do I write a cover letter?

Once you’ve spent hours refining and proofreading your resume, writing a cover letter can seem like very challenging and time-consuming task.

But, it doesn’t need to be.  It’s important to remember that a cover letter is your first opportunity to build a relationship via a piece of paper (or email) with the person who’s doing the hiring, as described by Aimee Bateman, founder of Careercake.com. Therefore, a cover letter is just as important as your resume, as it allows you to shine some light on your professionalism and personality.

Check out some other tips for developing a stellar cover letter in Aimee’s video, below.

Do you agree with Aimee?  Do you have any other tips for writing a great cover letter?

Image credit: Pixabay.com.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Lights, camera… action words

lightIt’s critical to use action words – or verbs – to bring your resume to life for a potential employer, who wants to get an idea of what tasks you took on in a previous role. Rather than just listing job duties, use concise and descriptive action words to help shine a spotlight on what you did in a job, and how you contributed to the results you (or, you and a team) achieved. This is can help set your resume apart.

Below is an example of how using action words can let your experience shine. This example focuses on the typical tasks that are part of a media relations campaign, which is often an important part of many public relations programs.

Before: Listing job duties

  1. Media calls
  2. Media interviews with spokespeople
  3. Media monitoring

After: Results-focused statement, which includes action words

  • Fostered relationships with key media contacts; secured eight top-tier media interviews with company spokespeople; generated over 10 million media impressions, which surpassed the program goal by 2 million

Need a list of action words to get you started? Start with this helpful list of verbs from the University of Toronto’s Career Centre, which is organized by skill category. Pick the right verbs to illustrate your experience in the different areas of your role.

Can you think of any other verbs that aren’t included in this list? Share in the comments.

Image credits: Pixabay.com.

Should I use a digital version of my portfolio?

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A professional portfolio allows you to showcase your best work with a networking contact or potential employer by having carefully-selected work samples at the ready. Whether you’re a communications specialist, writer, graphic designer or photographer, a portfolio is an asset when you’re looking for a job.

When I was a budding public relations (PR) professional, I spent hours creating my portfolio early in my career. I selected different examples of my work on many different types of projects, such as news releases, social media campaigns and events to ensure the breadth and depth of my expertise and experience shined through. I scanned and formatted letters of reference and notes on my past performance to complement these samples. Then, I spent hours printing and compiling the everything on high-quality paper, and I put it all in a binder with customized tabs and plastic page covers. The finished product was in a large, heavy book. It required constant maintenance to keep it relevant.

However, this was before tablets were mainstream.

The tablet has made it possible to create a digital version of a portfolio rather than a paper version. Compiling your work samples on a tablet can save the trouble of constantly printing new materials for a binder. You can easily and quickly tailor your digital portfolio by selecting or removing different files or images. Plus, the finished product looks professional, sophisticated and innovative, and can demonstrate your familiarity with using digital technology.

That said, you should keep hardcopies of some types of work samples handy as they can be more impactful in the original form. This could include clippings of articles or ads in newspapers or magazines, flyers that you designed, or an annual report.

Would you use a digital version of a portfolio to showcase your work samples? Share in the comments.

Image credit: Laine Jaremey.