15 Topics to Consider for Job Interview Leave-Behind Letters

When you decide to use the power of leave-behind letters in your job search, your first decision is the choice of topic for the best ROT (return on time). Hint: Through research, discover what an employer really values and share what you’ve done in that area. The following topics are a place to start:

  • Accomplishment statement. A listing of your top accomplishments and how they benefited your employers. The CAR (challenge, action, result) true story, set off by bullets, is a favorite format for LBs.

  • Industry experience close-up. A summary of your experience in a specific industry. Employers prefer to hire people who have a track record in their industry, presuming that they know how things work there and won’t make newbie mistakes.

  • Occupation highlights. A brief compilation of high spots in your work history. This approach is the way to go when you’re changing industries and your occupation (such as accounting, sales, or teaching) can be applied to many types of workplaces.

  • Skills summary. A compilation of skills that are useful in the position you seek, including basic skills, thinking skills, people skills, and personal qualities, such as responsibility, self-esteem, and sociability.

  • Targeted profile. A presentation of who you are and what you’ve accomplished that will help you reach a specific target. This narrative summary markets your key qualifications and career achievements.

  • Leadership initiatives summary. A compendium expanding an executive or managerial resume that describes how you excel at being a person others will follow. The summary gives chapter and verse to the favorable results of your leadership.

  • Cultural fit statement. A subjective look at how well you’re likely to blend in with the home team. It may include clues to your personality, attitude, work habits, mannerisms, dress code references, values, and goals.

  • Salary history. A sheet itemizing your compensation record by job title, employer, dates, and annual pay. (Tip: Don’t volunteer this doc. And first read salary negotiation guides to protect your best interests, to avoid “giving away the store.”)

  • Education achievements. Start with a record of the physical educational institutions you’ve attended and what you’ve learned. Typically, this sheet includes brick-and-mortar colleges, universities, and vocational/technical schools.

    Additionally, include distance education coursework and degrees, whether free or paid, credit or noncredit, as well as substantial educational lectures.

    Do not include fake education degrees from a diploma mill, typically an Internet scam offering worthless credentials for a price. Employers are wise to this fraud.

  • Training snapshot. A document that itemizes job-specific training. Typical sources include on-the-job training, apprenticeship, internship, vocational/technical school, military training and distance study, including online work-related courses.

  • Project plan. A document showing how you planned, executed, and brought to fruition any substantial project, from construction and architecture to software development and company histories. You demonstrate ability, follow-through, and responsibility.

  • Mini portfolio. A multipage showcase of your best work, particularly for creative professionals in marketing, media, advertising, and design. Architects and artists use mini portfolios as LBs, as do interns and new graduates.

  • Certification achievements. A roster of career-boosting certifications that you’ve earned. Certs are available in most career fields, from technology and health care to financial management and human resources. Certs suggest you’re a pro.

  • Performance snapshot. Extracts from performance evaluations, praise from customers and managers, and any other factor showing you’re a top performer for the kind of job you want.

  • Strengths summary. A list of proven workplace abilities, such as good management skills, dedication to meeting deadlines, quick learning ability, skill in solving problems, willingness to do extra, and proficiency in building teams. Include only strengths related to the position you want.

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