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Create a Complete and Effective Reference List

September 30th, 2015

Hiring managers get paid to be suspicious. Every candidate they vet claims to have extensive experience and impressive credentials. It is the hiring manager’s job to figure out how many of those claims are true. That’s why assembling a list of references is such an asset to job seekers. These references can provide independent, objective conformation of a candidate’s credentials – the kind of information that hiring managers consider closely. Use the following tips to help you put together a complete and effective reference list.

  • Be Brief and Relevant – Rather than listing contacts for every place you’ve worked, limit your list of reference to three or four entries and pick the ones that are most applicable to the job you’re applying for. The best policy is to condense everything to one page.
  • Stick to Bosses – You may have had a close and cordial relationship with former co-workers, but their opinions won’t carry much weight with hiring managers. As you are assembling references, limit it to supervisors and bosses.
  • Don’t Eliminate Friends and Family – Typically, you will not want to put friends and family on your reference list. But if you have a professional connection to them, listing them as a reference is perfectly valid. If, for example, you worked at a family business or had a close friend as a boss, these would be valid references.
  • Stay Recent – It will raise red flags with hiring mangers if your reference list doesn’t include any contacts from jobs you’ve held in the recent past. As much as possible, try to populate your list with the most recent entries possible.
  • Notify Your Choices – You should always notify a reference that you have included them and alert them that they may be contacted. You should then explain the position you are seeking and request that the reference highlight certain aspects of your hard and soft skills. You don’t have to dictate their answers – and they should never be dishonest – but don’t hesitate to give them some guidance to follow.
  • Rotate and Refresh – If you are applying for a lot of jobs, you won’t want to include the same references over and over. They could find themselves fielding daily calls and quickly grow resentful. Try and rotate your entries to avoid this fatigue, and be sure to constantly update your list when new references become applicable. This is a document that should be constantly evolving throughout your career.

Assembling a list of references is an essential part of the application process. But your resume, cover letter, and portfolio need to be just as polished. Learn how to put your best face forward by working with the team at The Concorde Group who can help you find Stamford jobs and more!

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How to Write a Solid Cover Letter

March 26th, 2015

If you are struggling to write a great cover letter, you are like most job seekers. These documents are notoriously hard to craft, and if you don’t consider written communications to be your strong suit, they can seem like a big obstacle to getting the job you want. The good news is that all writers and all job seekers can craft a cover letter that sounds great and commands attention if they focus on some basic strategies:

Don’t Summarize Your Resume

This is a common mistake. Instead of just rehashing your education and experience, use the cover letter to show off some of your personality, to mention your passions, and to state explicitly why you are a valuable candidate.

Write With the Company in Mind

You should never send out a generic cover letter. Instead, start fresh with each one, and tailor it to the position you are applying for and the company you are applying with. Sprinkling in company-specific details helps demonstrates your enthusiasm and highlights your level of preparation.

Always Be Concise

The general rule of thumb is that your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than three paragraphs and half a page. Exceptions can be made in certain instances, but you should make it as brief as possible, strip out all redundancies and repetitions, and focus on making every sentence valuable.

Nix the Greeting

Lots of times you don’t have an individual’s name or even a title to address your cover letter to. Instead of falling back on a generic greeting like “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madame,” leave the greeting off entirely and just jump straight into your introduction.

Use PDF Format

You will probably be submitting your cover letter electronically. Don’t risk sending it in a format that the recipient’s computer can’t access. The most reliable cross-platform format to use is PDF.

Start Strong

A recruiter might not read your whole letter, but they will probably read at least the first few lines. Don’t waste this space on a bland, casual, or unfocused introduction. Make a statement right off the bat that will grab their attention and make them want to keep reading.

Close Strong

If the recruiter has made it all the way to the end of your letter, you’ve done something right. Make sure that the last idea you leave in their head is a strong one. Be bold, and, as always, say it as quickly and clearly as you can.

Now that you know how to write great cover letters you need to find eager employers to send them out to. Kickstart your search for Westchester County jobs by partnering with The Concorde Group.

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How to Stay Productive as a Telecommuter

March 12th, 2015

Many people who start telecommuting are attracted to the freedom this type of work allows. But they quickly discover that when you are working out of the office and away from the boss, the lure of procrastination is a lot stronger. Day in and day out, it’s tough to stay productive, to make efficient use of time, and to avoid distractions. If you’re struggling to get more work done as a telecommuter, try these time-honored strategies:

 

  • Make Space – Set up a home office. Whenever you are in that space, you will feel like you are in “work mode.” And, if possible, close the door between your office and the rest of your home. This subtle separation helps keep you at your desk longer.
  • Follow a Schedule – Committing to regular work hours can give your time form and purpose.
  • Prepare for Work – Each morning go through your ritual of bathing, getting dressed, and eating breakfast. After that, work starts.
  • Tidy Up – A tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind. That’s just as true when you work from home.
  • Disable Distractions – When you really need to focus, unplug the TV, log out of your email, Facebook, and IM, and put your phone in another room. Surround yourself with work and work only.
  • Don’t Quit – When you are feeling brain dead, it’s easy to set telecommuting work aside and call it a day. Even if you feel uninspired, try to be working ahead every single day.
  • Create Lists of Threes – Every day, make a list of things that must be done, things that could be done, and things that you would like to be done. That way you always have something to be working on.
  • Take Breaks – You need to take breaks even when surrounded by the comforts of home. Spend at least 15-30 minutes away from your desk every few hours.
  • Commit to Quitting Time – If you define a time when you will absolutely stop working, you will be more motivated to stay productive in the time leading up to it.
  • Focus on Finances – When your attention begins to wander, remember that all the time you spend not working is time when you are not making money.
  • Equip Yourself – Upgrading to a nicer office chair or wearing noise-canceling headphones when you are concentrating can both help you get more done.

Staying productive when telecommuting is a constant challenge. But lots people prefer it to commuting to a cubicle every day. If you’re interested in pursuing telecommuting opportunities or other types of non-traditional employment, contact The Concorde Group for Fairfield County jobs as well as jobs in Westchester NY.

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