Writing a Great IT Cover Letter that Seals the Deal

April 5th, 2013

Drafting a resume for an information technology job can be one thing, however without a great IT cover letter your resume may not even get considered. To write a cover letter for an IT assignment, there are some basic principles that can help you stand out as a top candidate. Remember that the average recruiter will spend approximately 20 seconds looking at your cover letter; after that it’s over. Make your cover letter count with these tips.

Start with a friendly, yet professional greeting

Give the recruiter something positive to read right off the bat with a warm and respectful greeting. If at all possible include the person’s first name (call ahead of time to ask who this is). Thank this person for his or her time and consideration.

Indicate what position you are interested in

As soon as your greeting is created, immediately indicate what assignment you are submitting your resume for. Recruiters are often responsible for placing multiple candidates into a variety of IT assignments, so you can ensure getting into to “maybe” pile simply by adding this one little detail.

Highlight your strengths as they relate to the assignment

Now this is where your cover letter really counts. Write a sentence that indicates your excitement about the possibility of working with the company, followed by a bulleted list of at least 3 reasons why you have the right skills and experience to do the job. Keep this concise and avoid sounding overly boastful. Focus on the keywords used in the actual job description advertisement.

Give a reason for the recruiter to call you

Now, you must end your IT cover letter with a call to action statement. Instead of just saying “looking forward to hearing from you” try something like “I am available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 4 pm EST to discuss the needs of your business. Please give me a call at your convenience.” This gives the recruiter an actionable item to follow up with you right away.

Try not to sound desperate in your closing

Some job seekers make the mistake of ending their cover letter with something like “Gratefully Yours” or “Respectfully”; however these can sound too much like you are trying to appeal to the recruiter in a desperate act. Instead, stick with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” for a more positive ending to your cover letter.

Include your contact information

The most important aspect of a great IT cover letter is including your contact information. Do not assume that the recruiter will have your cover letter and resume together. Files can often get displaced or corrupted by an email. Include your full name, a good phone number and email address at the bottom of your cover letter.

Remember, your IT cover letter is your very first impression you will make to a recruiter. Keep it short, to the point, and professional. Write an original one for every job you apply for. You’ll soon be on the way to a great new career in IT at Stark Talent.

Engineering Degree? Tips to Help Your Resume Stand Out Throughout Your Job Hunt

January 23rd, 2012

As an engineer, you have the potential of finding more lucrative positions than many other fields. However, the fact is, the United States has not kept up with the overseas competition and that has driven many jobs out of the country. For those graduating with an engineering degree, there are jobs out there, but getting them means, you will have to shine brighter than the competition. That is often the most challenging aspect.

Tips for Resume Boosting for Engineers

The engineering resume needs to communicate skills and abilities properly. While many engineers are good at providing basic information about the jobs they have completed, that may not be enough. Rather, a resume must provide more details and help to display your talents instead. If you do not plan to have a professional write your résumé, there are some tips you can use to get it right.

  • Choose an organized format for the resume. Allow your skill set to shine rather than just your job history. A chronological order may not work for you in this case, but that is okay. Make sure your achievements rank first.
  • Rather than an objective, create a summary that outlines the type of job you are looking for and how your skills and experience play into that. A traditional objective may not provide enough information.
  • You can and should consider adding a project list to the resume. As an engineer, this will help to pinpoint specific examples of how you will benefit their company. Your accomplishments stand out.
  • Use the right buzzwords within the resume. Since most initial screening of applicants is computer based, you will need to ensure your resume contains the right buzzwords those computer programs are looking for through the scan. That way, it lands in human hands. Buzzwords can include the power words and verbs related to your skills and experience.
  • No errors allowed! Ensure you pay attention to the details. As an engineer, it is expected of you to do so.
  • To stand out, be sure you list your accomplishments clearly rather than just outlining your job duties. This draws in the reader and gets them thinking about you in a positive frame of mind.
  • Remember to sell the benefits of your skills, too. How can your skills benefit the company?

For those who have an engineering degree, having a resume that reflects skills and experience is critical. For those still in school or hoping to land that first position, still focus on achievements and your strongest skills. In this very competitive market, these traits make the most impact on the prospective employer. Display how you can be a benefit to the company – and be specific. There is no room for guesswork here. You want to entice them into working with you.

Your Age Shouldn’t Matter. How to Make Your Career and Your Resume Age-proof

November 29th, 2011

Under current Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) guidelines, it is illegal to discriminate against job applicants based on age, along with other identifying factors. It’s also illegal to stop giving older employees less opportunities for career growth. However, there are some companies that continually focus on “youthful” employees, finding ways to get around these laws. Oftentimes too, older job seekers believe they cannot find good career opportunities and are not offered jobs based on their age or appearance.

Generally speaking, while you cannot do much about your age, you can do something about the way you present yourself to potential employers so that you do not “date” your skills and abilities. It’s not so much about age, as it is about how you present yourself as a job seeker. Here are some ways to “age proof” your career and your status as an applicant.

Keep Your Skills Up-to-date – The number one factor to maintaining your career for a lifetime, and for presenting yourself in a positive light to recruiters, is keeping your work related skills current. This mean being a lifelong learner, taking in as much information as you can about the work you do, and being able to present your credentials. You don’t have to be in college to get these credentials, but merely being in touch with your industry by participating in continual learning opportunities will keep you knowledgeable and fresh.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – This goes for everyone, but it is especially true for those who are entering their mature years. Now is the time to start taking better care of your physical and mental well-being. Make friends with a fitness center. Learn to make healthier eating choices and drop the bad habits. Get involved in extra-curricular activities that provide encouragement to improve your mental state. By doing these things, you will not only improve your personal appearance, but you will have an energy that most recruiters will find irresistible and co-workers will marvel at.

Share Relevant Information – One of the biggest mistakes that many people make, when drafting a new resume or when filling out online applications, is sharing all of their career and educational history. Putting a graduation date that’s older than most people’s recollection is generally going to date you right off the bat. It is recommended that you leave off dates longer than 10-15 years, and only include work experiences that are relevant to the specific job. Include achievements and references to further bolster your strength as a candidate.

Get Representation. As a serious career-minded professional, your best ally can be the support of a progressive staffing agent or career coach. This person can look out for new opportunities for you, and advise you on the most favorable ways to present yourself from application to interviews. Ask for guidance with designing a brand new resume that will place you in the best possible light to companies you want to work for. After all, you have the skills they are looking for and there’s no reason to be shy about applying. You are smarter, wiser and a lot more capable of making a great first impression to secure a great career, with the support of a reputable staffing agent.

Find out how Stark Talent can help you get past the age-gap and into a great career today!

Choose the Right Resume Format for Your Desired Job in IT

August 13th, 2011

For the serious job seeker, being able to present a quality resume is critical to successfully attracting the right kinds of employers. For the Information Technology professional, this challenge is even greater. IT professionals, who range from entry level analysts and developers to highly trained engineers and scientists, have specialized skills which must be conveyed through a well-written resume. Knowing what to include on an IT resume is just as important as how your organize it for the benefit of hiring managers. Here’s how to choose the right resume format for your desired job in IT.

Steps to Building a Great IT Resume

As you develop your IT resume, the first step is to choose a reader-friendly format that will appeal to IT recruiters. This means organizing all of your information into snippets that include your skills, credentials, special certifications, work experience, and education. If you are a new graduate, you will want to highlight your education near the top of your resume. If not, leave this for the bottom section and instead highlight your credentials and work accomplishments.

The format of any great resume, including an IT resume, should be chronological in style. You can easily find free resume templates that follow this style on Microsoft Word, or get resume writing help from your IT staffing company. Start out with all of your contact information, including your full name, email address and at least two telephone numbers where a recruiter can call you directly. Never give out your current work number as this looks bad to hiring professionals. Leave off your home address and other personal details for privacy sake.

Add your special skills and certifications near the top of your IT resume. This is where most IT recruiters will glance to see if you meet basic requirements of each job. Not sure what to list for the jobs you are looking for? Check with the US Bureau of Labor for the most recent statistics and career guidance for IT careers. Or check with your IT staffing company for help in adding the right credentials and workforce training opportunities.

Organize your work experience with a list of jobs you have held, with the most current job you have to the first job you’ve held. Add the dates of employment, your work title and the accomplishments of each job. Don’t simply add your job decription or work duties. Dig deeper and add at least 3 to 5 accomplishments you’ve experienced on each job. Include these accomplishments in a short bulleted list underneath each company name.

Finally, run your new IT resume through a spelling and grammar check. This will eliminate spelling and grammar errors, which will give you a great impression with IT recruiters. Include IT keywords within your document to help get your resume scanned by resume software. Check to make sure all tabs line up correctly and that your resume is friendly to HTML systems. If you do all these things, your IT resume will be ready to impress IT companies worldwide – giving you the ultimate advantage as a job seeker.

Need more help with your IT resume? Contact the IT staffing professionals at Stark Talent today!