What’s the best greeting to use in a cover letter? What about a cover email? They’re not the same, so different rules apply. Here’s our best advice:
A cover letter is considered to be a formal type of business correspondence. Therefore, your greeting should start with “Dear ____,” just as you learned in school. If you aren’t submitting your cover letter to a specific person, we recommend “Dear Hiring Manager.” But in an ideal world, you’ll have figured out the hiring manager’s name and can use “Dear [first name].” If last names are more your style, that’s fine, but if the hiring manager emails you back and signs her first name, consider yourself on a first name basis from then on. And when closing your cover letter, “Sincerely,” is always a safe bet.
Because email is a more casual form of correspondence, it’s even more important to figure out the hiring manager’s name in a cover email than it is for a cover letter. If you MUST apply to a generic email address, you can write “Dear Hiring Manager,” but if you’re able to figure out the person’s name, you should use “Hi [first name].” Why “Hi” and not “Dear?” This less formal greeting will make the reader feel more comfortable with you -- most people don’t start their regular business emails with “Dear _____,” so why would you do it in a cover email? You want to go for a personal feel to give your cover email maximum effect. If you want to end your cover email with a more formal sign off, you can always use “Sincerely,” or “Best,” but a simple “Thank you!” can also go a long way.
Have you had a bunch of assistant jobs and internships where you did basically the same thing? How can you make your resume look decent when all you’ve got under your belt is answering phones and writing script coverage? There are two solutions to this problem:
1. Vary up the wording in your bullet points. Dig through your thesaurus (and your brain!) to think of new ways to describe the same task. "Rolled calls" is another way of phrasing "managed heavy phones." Now your resume looks less redundant!
2. Don't list every duty in every section of your resume. Since your resume exists to give employers a summary of your skills, not a play-by-play of everything you’ve ever done, it's okay to leave some skills off one section if they’re less relevant to the job you’re applying for or if you’ve already mentioned them twice. If you limit the number of bullet points you have in each section, you’ll force yourself to diversify across the page.
In addition to spicing up your resume, by following these tips, you'll be making your resume more concise and easier to read, and that will always make a hiring manager happy.
You set your alarm and wake up every morning to go to the same dull job that you just aren't passionate about anymore. But you can't quit until you get a new job, so you're stuck in a trap waiting for an exciting new position to open up — which could be a long wait if your career goals are specific or you're further along in your career. But there’s a way to help alleviate the burnout, at least a little bit, and the trick is to make your current job work for YOU.
Typically, we think of our work as benefitting the overall company — after all, that’s why we’re getting paid. And, when we apply for new jobs, we’re always presenting ourselves in terms of “what I can do for you,” and not the other way around. But, a fulfilling career is also part of this equation, and we all expect to be learning something on the job. So, have you considered putting yourself first? This doesn’t mean taking advantage of or defrauding the company in some way, but rather prioritizing the projects that are most likely to benefit you in the long run. Is there something you’ve been interested in learning more about? Maybe you can create a project or set goals for yourself that facilitate this in some way. The project could involve learning a new skill, solving a complex problem, or forming partnerships with different types of companies that you’re less familiar with. Plus, you’ll probably make some great new connections in the process that could help you get out of your current situation sooner. It will also boost your resume — with some additional skills, you might be able to make a career transition that’s a departure from your current line of work.
Think about what’s not working for you now, and identify what you’d like to be doing. From there, you can start to create a strategic plan that may renew your interest in your current company or will at least keep you engaged until you’re able to find a new position. And don’t forget, you can always continue researching new companies and filling out those job applications on the side.
Many job seekers apply to every job posting they see, hoping that if they cast a wide net, they’ll surely find a fish. But the truth is, that approach only works if you have the time to tailor your application to every posting, which is usually unrealistic. Employers are looking for someone who’s a great fit for their company, and if your resume and cover letter are too generic, they won’t be able to communicate that key message. Sure, some job postings are generic themselves -- “Assistant needed for top production company,” or “Writers’ assistant needed for cable series” -- and in those instances, you can send the same resume to the same type of posting, but even then, you’ll sound more authentic if you start your cover letter from scratch.
Certainly, your resume for a production company job should read differently than your resume for a writers’ assistant position, even if that means simply reordering the bullets in each section. As you move up in your career, the nuances in job postings become even more apparent, and you’ll need to read through your resume very carefully before each submission to make sure you’ve hit on all the important bullet points. Firing off 100 resumes a week sounds like it should yield a lot of interviews, but you’re more likely to get responses from 10 well-crafted applications.