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Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips

Below are the top things that are critical to successful cover letter writing. If you remember to apply these simply tips, they will definetly have a positive effect in your job search.

  1. Try to find the hiring managers name and use it along with a standard business letter format when constructing a cover letter.
  2. When you write an opening sentence for a cover letter, always give a clear purpose for the letter.
  3. Show potential employers that you know something about the company by including a reference to a company specific piece of information in your cover letter.
  4. Let employers know facts about your current life situation that will have an effect on the position.
  5. Let potential employers know the reasons the position is of interest and how your skills can make you successful in fulfilling the requirements of the position.
  6. Draw attention to your resume by referencing particular parts of it within your cover letter.
  7. When you write your cover letter, don’t repeat the same information that is contained within your resume.
  8. Proofread everything for grammar and spelling errors a few times, and when you are done, have a friend do the same thing.
  9. End the letter with standard formal business letter closing phrases.
  10. Electronic cover letters can be written similarly to standard cover letter format, accept they can generally be shorter and it is more critical to include detailed contact information.

Email Cover Letter and Resume Tips

When you send an email that contains your cover letter and resume, it is very important to keep in mind that you only have between 15 and 20 seconds to get the attention of your prospective employer. During this time, you have to get the person who receives the email to open your email, read your email and not delete your email. To make these things happen and to get your submissions considered, it is important to remember the following rules:

  1. Use a subject line that catches your reader’s attention. When you respond to a job listing, include the job title and/or job code in the subject. When you are not responding to a jobs listing, use a short sentence that specifies the purpose of your email. This helps your recipient quickly understand what your email is about without having to actually open the email message.
  2. The first part of your email message should include your cover letter. Don’t attach the cover letter in a second document. Including the cover letter in the first part of your message will allow your reader to quickly get into the important details of you fit the position.
  3. Never send your resume as an attachment to an email. The resume should be included direct below the cover letter. Including attachments in your email could cause your message to be rejected by email systems and no one wants to download an attachment that might take a long time to download and isn’t from someone they know.
  4. Unless your email is properly formatted for email, it may not appear correctly in all email clients and operating systems. Format your email message using a plain text editor, such as Note Pad, and then copy and paste into your email client. Try to check how your message looks on multiple operating systems and email clients.
  5. Always follow the directions specified by the job posting, even if some of the specification break some of the above rules. It is more important that you show the prospective employer that you can follow direction. If they tell you to send the message as a PDF or a Word document, then that is exactly what you should do.

File Names and Search Engines

File naming is easy to do

This is something easy to do and Google highly recommends you to do it. It is always important that what Google likes you should do if possible.

File names are the names of your website pages. For example: A page about dog food you probably will name it something like dogfood.html

Use Punctuation Marks in File Names

Google suggests you use punctuation marks in your file names. Instead of dogfood.html put it dog-food.html

You should use the – symbol to separate words, not the _ symbol.

This is great way for visitors to understand faster and easier what the page is about. Makes sense.

Little things make a difference

Google always tried to give their users (the people who search the search engine) the best results and experience. These little things make a difference, and for search engine optimization purposes you will get (even though small) credit. It is a good thing to do.

Do not however go and rename all your website pages. That will results in lots of 404 page not found error pages. Just for next time when you create pages, start using the punctuation symbol to separate words.

Let me give you few more examples. Wrong way to name a page is catfood.html or cheapcatfoods.html

File names that make sense and are good for seo

Good way to name a page instead is cat-food.html or cheap-cat-foods.html Easy and simple tip. File names also make more sense.

Something to think about now. Blogger blog platform is created and owned by Google. By default the blogs you created are search engine optimized. Notice the file names of the post pages. They are all created with the punctuation symbol. Google implemented this in the blogger blogs by default.

Here are some more tips on this subject.

1) Do not create a ton of different folders or directories on your website. For example create a folder named articles and put all articles inside it.

2) Avoid creating sub domains with identical or very similar content as your domain name.

3) Make meta tags unique for each webpage. If your site is big, you obviously cannot make each page with a unique meta tag. In that case at least make the most important pages with very descriptive meta tags that clearly describe what the page is about.

4) Avoid also creating pages like this: www.domainname.com/Support

(You do that by creating a new folder called Support, then putting an index.html page inside the folder) That can result in some errors too with redirection and so on.

So it is best to create html pages, like this: www.domainname.com/Support.html

These things that deal with how to structure your website and so on are all known as onpage optimization strategies/methods or techniques.

They are not so important as the offpage optimization strategies, which deal with getting links. But they still count and obviously simple things like these you should start implementing them.

Seth Godin Linchpin Review – Are You Indispensable?

Here’s a good review of Seth Godin’s new book. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

While reading Linchpin I looked around a few times to see if author Seth Godin was perhaps peering through my living room window to see my reaction. It really felt like he was talking to me, singling me out. How could he know how I rationalize things?

“There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you precisely what to do.”

Linchpin is a most unusual, well-organized, concise book about what it takes to become indispensable in the workplace – whether you work for someone else (at any level) or are self-employed. It’s about how business has rapidly changed and how treating employees like factory workers (or doing your job like one) doesn’t work any longer. We must make choices and take action to “chart our own paths” and add value that others do not. We cannot wait for a boss or a job description to tell us what to do, rather we must just take the initiative ourselves. Only then can we become indispensable “linchpins,” rather than replaceable “cogs.” There are so many fantastic quotes in the book too.

“You don’t become indispensable merely because you are different. But the only way to become indispensable is to be different. That’s because if you’re the same, so are plenty of other people.”

The 14 chapters in this book are each broken down into short segments with great headlines that summarize them. Godin uses special vocabulary words to describe the many factors that go into becoming a linchpin. These words have unique meanings in the context in which they are used. You’ll learn interpretations for terms such as art, thrashing, gifts, resistance, pranja, ship, lizard brain, shenpa, emotional labor and others.

“Art is unique, new and challenging to the status quo. It’s not decoration. It’s something that causes change. Art cannot be merely commerce. It must also be a gift.”

You’ll never be bewildered or bored while reading Linchpin. It will awaken a part of your brain that you may have never used before. It will make you take a deep look inside your thoughts, patterns and habits and oblige you to realize there are things you can change right now to become more of a success, a true “artist.” In fact, you may find yourself sliding down in your chair a bit while reading, like I did. But that’s okay; it’s part of the learning process.

“If all you can do is the task and you’re not in a league of your own at doing the task, you’re not indispensable.”

This is particularly true in the chapter on page 101 entitled The Resistance. Just this chapter alone is worth the price of the book. You’ve got to read it twice to really capture all it offers. Here you’ll be faced with all the reasons why you’re currently not as indispensable as you could be – as you should be. Have you ever delayed a project and not delivered (Seth calls this shipping) on deadline just because you were trying to achieve perfection? That’s resistance. It is the “lizard brain” way-of-thinking that causes us to resist. Do you find yourself doing a lot of busy work (obsessive email checking, Tweeting, etc.) rather than taking action that really adds value? That’s resistance too.

“The lizard brain is the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance.”

Godin will educate you on what it truly means to be a valuable gift giver. He’ll tell you that there’s no map in existence to help you become an indispensable artist. He’ll tell you that you have a choice to either “Fit in or stand out. Not both.” He’ll even tell you that there are times when your art will not work, and for whatever reason, you may not be able to get paid for your particular talent.

“Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love (at least what you love right now) But I bet you can figure out what you can do to make money (if you choose wisely).”

“There is no map. No map to be a leader, no map to be an artist. I’ve read hundreds of books about art (in all its forms) and how to do it, and not one has a clue about the map, because there isn’t one.”

The only thing Seth Godin left out of his well-researched Linchpin book is that his principles can be applied not only to business but also to other aspects of a person’s life. Linchpins can be better spouses, friends and community members at large. They can be truly indispensable in many ways.

“Nothing about becoming indispensable is easy. If it’s easy, it’s already been done and it’s no longer valuable.”

Ever read a business or marketing book that is interesting while you’re reading it, but two days after you have finished it, you cannot really remember the gist of what you read? Linchpin is not one of those books. This one will stay with you. There is nothing else like it; it can change your future. That is, if you set your lizard brain aside and replace it with the true linchpin artist in you.

You can get Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? on Amazon.com of course.

Content Depth and It’s Importance to SEO

Content is king in SEO once again! At least on Google. In the newest Google search engine algorithm, the Hummingbird, depth of content is an especially important element in ranking pages in search results. The hummingbird algorithm is an algorithm that Google claims was written from scratch along with combining functionality from their more recent updates, including the Panda update.

 I have a pretty new ecommerce site that I manage, called EspressoOutlet.net. It’s months old and doesn’t have a lot of inlinks yet. Most of the espresso machine / grinder related products on there currently have decent product descriptions, but their depth is limited. With the old algorithm getting high quality natural inlinks would be an important part of getting these pages to rank well. Since the domain and site content are new, most of the pages aren’t ranking very high yet.

 I decided to do a depth of content test with a few products and see how quickly the pages made their way up the average SERP. One of the products I used in the test was a product called the Ascaso Dream UP espresso machine. My first task was to search Google for all topics relating to this espresso machine. I did this by using Google keyword tool recommendations along with going through all the letter combinations that showed up in Google instant search. The latter part I did by literally topping”ascaso dream” then each letter of the alphabet. Each topic that came up, I recorded in a spreadsheet, then ran a search query on it. I went through search results on each keyword combination, then collected content related to that topic in a word doc.

After I had 100 or so sub-topic areas, I got to the task of writing content relating to each of those areas. I also added more product photos and videos to make the content richer. I updated the content on my site by using the fetch as Google feature in web master tools. When I did searches for keyword combinations that included the product name and each topic area, my new content was getting at least some placement almost instantly! My placement for terms I had been taking for almost instantly went up. In fact, my average placement for terms relating to this product in google webmaster tools went from 40 to about 10. This is with a lot of new keyword combinations it’s placing for also. My search impressions for this product went up dramatically. I also did this for several other products with similar results.

Time will tell if these placements last long term, but I think my little test does have some merit to it… maybe content that has a lot of depth to it can bring you above competitors who have older sites and content with a lot more inlinks and pagerank. See my product description of the Ascaso Dream UP Espresso Machine to get an idea of how I included all the topic areas on the page and how I included content to make it as rich as possible.