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How to Deal with Common Concerns in the Job Search

What-if questions are legitimate puzzlers when writing job search letters. The best answers aren’t always obvious. Here are solutions to some of these common concerns:

  • What if I’m responding to a recruitment ad? To whom should my cover letter be addressed?

    Send your Stand Out letter with a resume to the individual named in the ad. Follow instructions.

  • What if the ad’s instructions say to send the letter and resume to the human resources department?

    Do it. The resume will likely be put into a digital database and stored for a long time; you may be considered for a number of open positions.

    In addition to following instructions, send a Stand Out letter to the name of the department hiring manager (your prospective boss). Say that your resume is on file with HR. Get the hiring manager’s name by anonymously calling, or use social networking connections.

  • What if I don’t know enough about the position to write a Stand Out letter?

    Look up job descriptions for similar positions and read recruitment ads. Try to make online contact with people in the target career field or industry. You can also go after a long shot: Try to get through on the telephone to a person who does similar work for a competitor.

  • What if I’m responding to a third-party recruiter? Do I send the same materials?

    Yes, but mention that although you’re very interested in this position, you would like to be considered for other jobs if this one doesn’t pan out.

  • What if I’m initiating a possible opening at a company that hasn’t advertised one?

    Research to determine who has the authority to hire you. Send your self-marketing materials to that person. Even more effective is to meet your target at a professional meeting or find a third party whose name you can use as an introduction.

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