Your first and last name
City, State ZIP
Dear (Address target formally-Mr., Mrs., Professor, etc. – unless you were instructed to use first name):
Introduce yourself by explaining briefly why you are interested in this person, company, or position. Do not begin with, “Hi. My name is ____.” Make a closer connection by stating how you heard about the person, company, or position by referencing a referral, an article, or an industry event, for example. For the body paragraph, give your background briefly. Make sure it applies to why you are interested in this person or company. State what you want from the recipient. For example, I would like fifteen minutes of your time to discuss _______. Explain that you’d be very appreciative of their valuable time and advice.
The closing paragraph should offer a specific action for following up. For example, “I will call your assistant to see if I can schedule an appointment with you.” If you state a specific action, make sure you follow through with it.
Thank the recipient for his or her time and attention.
Your signature in blue or black ink
Your printed name
Every job seeker knows that you often submit resumes without hearing anything in return. You wind up sitting by the phone or computer desperate to know if the human resources people have received your resume, especially since you can’t just call up and say, “Hey, did you get it or not?” That ambiguous call is what hiring managers are trying to avoid when they instruct jobseekers that the company is taking “no calls” about the position.)
Resumes are often lost or overlooked so while you’re assuming that your resume has been received and reviewed and that they have declined you, they may not even know you exist. This is another reason why follow-up is so important. You may wind up needing to resubmit your resume.
Fortunately, there are effective, professional ways of finding out if the company you’re interested in has received your resume. Finding out presents an opportunity for you to restate your desire to pursue the position and remind them of your qualifications and why you are the ideal person for the job.
Whom should I call? Figuring out who you should call is just as important as making the follow-up connection.
You will have to identify the hiring manager responsible for screening and selecting prospective candidates for the position. If it’s a small company you can usually call the main number and ask anyone who answers to provide you with the name and contact information for the appropriate person. Among the options:
Don’t use funky pet names or inappropriate terms in the email address on your functional resume, such as [email protected] or [email protected]. Instead, opt for a more professional address, such as [email protected]. Gmail.com offers a free email service that’s great for professionals.
Avoid generic or vague phrases such as “looking for a position at a well-known company with room for growth.” Use the space to tout specific goals and accomplishments, and to tout your desire to work in a specific field.
Don’t rely on spell-check to proof your resume. While it is a great tool, it will not pick up mistakes such as “and” when you meant “an,” which is a very common resume error.
A new trend standing out in the job hunting crowd is personalized resumes everything from video recitals of your qualifications to business cards that will put your children’s fanciest art projects to shame. Before you invest time and money, consider that many of these gimmicks may help and hurt your chances.
A fancy production helped the character Elle Woods get into Harvard in the movie “Legally Blonde,” but the same luck isn’t likely for most of the rest of us. There are 4,000 video resumes on YouTube, and several new job search sites are host to thousands more. Some video resumes are very professional; others are rough around the edges, and some use humor to grab attention.
We’ve learned, however, that many of these video resume makers have not received job offers, despite their creative innovation of standard resume tactics. Beyond that, many employers forbid their managers from viewing them, since there’s a risk of basing a decision on appearance and theatrics, more so than qualifications.