here’s a bunch of help finding a new job

Since lots of people are job-searching right now, here’s a round-up of some of the most key job-searching advice on this site.

Resumes and Cover Letters

The first thing to know is, if you’re not getting interviews, you probably need to fix your resume and cover letter.

If you’re thinking your materials are fine, know this: Very frequently, people who are struggling to get interviews tell me they’re confident that their resume and cover letter aren’t the problem since they’ve had good feedback about them. But when I ask to see them, nearly always they are the problem. The people who told them that they were good were wrong — they didn’t have the experience or the insight to know what would make a really great resume or letter. So these job-seekers have been continuing to apply with mediocre materials and are frustrated because they can’t figure out why they’re not getting interviews!

This is highly likely to be true for you as well if (1) your resume mainly lists your job duties rather than talking about the outcomes you achieved at each job, and/or (2) your cover letter basically summarizes the information in your resume (in which case it’s not adding anything at all to your application).

Read these:


Cover letters

Examples of good cover letters



That will get you started on the basics! If you want more detailed guidance, there’s much more in my e-book, How To Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager, where I give you step-by-step help through every stage of your job search, explaining at each step what a hiring manager is thinking and what they want to see from you. Learn more here.
how to get a job

{ 124 comments… read them below }

  1. ducklet*

    Does anyone know, to what extent does this kind of advice apply to applications for biz school? I know academia/grad school in general can be a different animal, but maybe biz school is closer to real-life job stuff?

    1. Daria*

      Not biz school, but I approached writing my ed school personal statement as if it was a cover letter and used AAM’s advice to make a case for why my experience and goals for during and after the program made me a strong fit. It was really tailored to the specific program and I think it strengthened my application a lot. And I was admitted to my highly selective first choice school!

    1. Anonymous for This*

      Ciscononymous: I feel you because I myself am not in the exact same boat, but I am in the exact same state, and I know that some coworkers may be gone soon due to funding sources. Show Me Workers Unite!

      1. Ciscononymous*

        Nice to meet a fellow Missourian state worker! I am also not using my usual handle on this site :) We’ve all been just twisting in the wind for a week at this point wondering who it’s going to be. It’s stressful.

    2. Massmatt*

      Cisco–practice practice practice! Try recording yourself on video, and try to get a friend (preferably with with experience interviewing and hiring) to do a mock interview with you and give candid feedback. The more practice you put in the more likely you are to improve when it comes to the real thing.

      When you do a real interview, take notes ASAP afterwards. What questions did you anticipate, where did you do well, what took you by surprise and where could you improve. Is there something you forgot to mention, or wish you had expanded upon? Good things to mention in a thank-you letter!

      Good luck!

      1. Ciscononymous*

        Thank you for the advice! I’ve had to do several videos for my graduate program and they’ve been enlightening, in a painful kind of way. I’m unfortunately short on friends who hire a lot but I do have friends who interview well, so maybe they can help.

  2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    Thank you! I’ve been referring my former co-workers (hospitality industry layoffs) to your blog, but this will make it a lot easier for them to get to the materials they really need right now!

  3. Amber Rose*

    But what if I’m absolutely not qualified to do the job I’m doing basically anywhere except the place I’m doing it. -_-

    I’m starting to debate going back to school. There’s a two year online certificate I could get that might actually help. But it’s like $8,000. That’s so much money, especially when husband wants to go to a grad school which is easily triple that.

    1. juliebulie*


      Let’s say you can pay $x for a cert and are able to get a job that pays $y.

      If hub pays $3x for a grad school, will he be able to get a job that pays $3y?

      I’m just wondering if the investment in your education might pay off better and sooner than the investment in grad school. And hub can prolly still go to grad school in a few years.

    2. Partly Cloudy*

      Are you sure? A couple of jobs ago, I thought I’d never make what I was making again and here I am (almost – but there’s a lot more to it than money).

      I don’t presume to know your situation, just trying to offer some hope since it can be hard to have perspective on this from the inside sometimes.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Most people working in safety are people who do the dangerous work so they have experience with it. I don’t. Someone needed to do it here so they gave it to me, who at the time was hired as an admin.

        Now, I have been doing a pretty killer job of teaching myself and running this thing for four years, if I do say so myself. But I still do not work with any dangerous equipment myself. I rely on the people who do to tell me what’s up. And it seems most jobs in safety require you to be able to step in and help with the work.

        1. Colette*

          Can you do some networking to figure out how other companies would view your experience? I don’t mean job hunting, just talking with people at similar companies about how you got into that line of work and what they look for when they hire.

          1. Amber Rose*

            But… I hate this industry and I don’t want to be in it anymore. Oil and gas is a losing prospect. :(

            I don’t know, what I’d love to do is somehow translate all this weird, miscellaneous experience and hop ship over to HR, which is probably more aligned with what I’m actually good at. But I have no idea if I can do that with my utter lack of experience and education.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              I wouldn’t spend money on safety certifications then. I would figure out the cheapest way to get the education that would eventually be required in HR and start down that path.

              My employer is one of the biggest construction companies in the US, and a lot of HR employees/execs start on the construction side doing project work. The only difference I see is they usually have an engineering or construction management degree, and it sounds like you may not have a degree (not sure if that’s what you mean, or just not an HR degree). (Also – seems like everyone in energy is pivoting to industrial now, and I don’t think your safety experience is incompatible with that.)

            2. Koala dreams*

              If you want to stay in the energy sector, you can look into renewable energy. Solar panels and wind energy are very popular where I live, but check your area since it depends a lot on the location. Experiences such as sales, invoicing, assembling things and so on would be transferable. If you don’t, I think some extra education, if you can afford it, can be good. Sometimes you can find distance courses to take, or part-time studies so that you can work and study at the same time. (Only if you think your health wouldn’t suffer, of course.)

              Also, don’t discount your experience just because it’s in the wrong field. You will have better understanding of the courses, as well as more experience when you start working in your new field, since you have experience, compared to high school students who go on to study without work experience.

        2. beanie gee*

          You might be surprised how much of your job includes transferrable skills! Lots of people get jobs that aren’t exactly what they were doing before because you can learn how to do a lot of jobs, but people really value transferrable skills like people skills (managing people, working well as a team), project planning, project management, managing a budget, executing on an idea. Start thinking about what you do in your role that isn’t specifically safety!

          1. Amber Rose*

            I train people, I address employee complaints, I sell, I process sales orders, I resolve invoicing problems and issue credits, I can assemble some items and have some very weak experience with shipping, I run the website, I draft all our policies and procedures and most recently, I’m authorized to use the plasma cutter, which is fun.

            I dunno, I do lots of weird stuff. Safety isn’t a full time job here. It’s maybe 30-40%, and then 50% is sales and the remainder is misc.

            1. beanie gee*

              Oh man, that’s a LOT! You are absolutely qualified to find other jobs!

              When you’re looking at job postings that sound interesting, it’s really tempting to think you aren’t doing exactly what it’s saying in your current job, when in reality, HOW you do your current job makes you qualified.

              You could go even farther than your list and think about what you have to know/do well in order to do all the things you listed. Do you have to be organized to process sales orders? Do you have to be a people person to sell things? Do you have to coordinate with multiple people and have an attention to detail to resolve invoicing problems? Writing skills to draft all those policies?

              1. College Career Counselor*

                Project management? QA possibilities? Having an understanding and getting information from the technical experts doesn’t mean you have to have done or do ALL the technical/production aspects of something.

                1. irene adler*

                  RE: QA

                  If the customer complaints or the drafting of policies and procedures involve any gov’t regulations (or other regulatory bodies), then you can make a whole QA career out of each of these.
                  Visit for ideas along the QA aspect of jobs/careers.

            2. ampersand*

              The skills you list are absolutely transferrable–and I also feel you on thinking you’re tied to the job you’re in because it’s the only place you can do it. I feel the same about my skillset because I’ve learned some suuuuuper proprietary software systems over the past 10 years with one employer, and the type of work I’ve done is specialized but not exactly done elsewhere.

              What I do have is transferrable skills (you and I actually have an overlap in skills), so I focus on writing really good cover letters, and networking. Honestly, I hate both, but they’re necessary. :)

          2. Massmatt*

            This! Many times people are beaten down to an “I can’t do anything, I’m lucky to just have a job” mindset when they actually do have skills that are transferrable or even quite sought after. Really think of all the stuff you do, even in a job or industry you hate. Have someone look it over and add descriptions and LO and behold, you might have skills for a better job!

            This applies to people working lots of entry-level jobs.

        3. hbc*

          Huh, I haven’t found that to be true in my experience. I guess the path up is typically Dangerous Equipment Operator -> Supervisor of Dangerous Equipment Operators -> Safety Specialist for Dangerous Equipment, for people who show they’re diligent and safety-conscious. But once you get there, it’s not uncommon to switch which dangerous equipment operations you check for safety.

          Might be industry dependent, of course.

    3. Madam Scrub*

      I feel you there. The work I have been doing for the last 5 years has been something I have learned on the job. I’m good at what I do and could do it in other locations, but outside my hospital, no one knows me or what I can do and only sees my associate’s degree but none of the other relevant experience. So, I went back to school and will graduate this fall. Once I have this, I feel that I will no longer be handcuffed to my hospital and can feel free to go explore other options…

  4. Altair*

    Thank you so much for this! I was just contemplating assembling a set of links to your advice to send to various friends, and here it is!

  5. MissGirl*

    I was asked to sort resumes and flag potential interviewees and it was an eye-opening experience. My analytics department was hiring in a very large company and they created a rubric for grading everyone’s resume.

    There were points given for using metrics (ie, increased sales by 10 percent). We had points for every skill set described in the job posting. Points for for certain degrees. We started phone screens with the highest scorers. Interviewees were asked the same questions and graded in the same way.

    I don’t know if it was our hiring practices or the nature of working in healthcare but it grew into the most diverse team I’d ever worked on.

    It was also a huge learning experience to sit in on interviews. There were many candidates who shot themselves in the foot.

    1. Parabeagle*

      Shot themselves in the foot how, if you don’t mind me asking? I’m always interested in learning what’s a hard no for interviewers!

      1. beanie gee*

        I’ll share mine! Although they are pretty extreme.
        -Speaking poorly/ranting about their past/current employer/boss.
        -Not being aware of rambling on for too long (if we say you have 45 min and 7 questions, don’t use all of your time answering question 1)
        -Telling the interviewer you aren’t afraid to yell at people to get what you want (SERIOUSLY, didn’t even ask the guy the last three questions)
        -Only speaking/making eye contact with the males on the interview panel even if the female is the one asking the question.

        1. Angrytreespirit*

          I have a few to add!
          -coming to the interview so nervous they were breaking out in hives/ sweating profusely and barely able to answer questions without looking on the brink of tears
          -not even trying to answer the interview questions… literally saying “dunno… I take a pass on this one”
          -trying to hide incompetence behind big words and long sentences

            1. C*

              Same. That has been me, and probably will be again if I ever get an interview outside of retail. Having confidence is ridiculously hard when you have no support and a lifetime of being told you’re not good enough.

              I don’t interview well at all. Every job I’ve ever had, people tell me that they thought the person who chose to hire me was nuts. Then in the next breath they say how glad they are that I’m there and a part of the team.

        2. Ali G*

          The one I’ve experienced more than one is someone assuming they were going to be offered the job. Three different men I interviewed (for 3 different positions).
          One answered the phone for the initial interview and when i started giving the overview, etc., was like, “how long will this take? I am on my break. I said 30 minutes. He said sorry, I can’t talk that long, I thought this was going to be a chance for me to better understand the position. This guy also wanted my staff to travel to him after hours on a Holiday weekend to do his interview. We declined and then he wrote a negative review on glassdoor.
          One answered every question with a smirk like “oh OK if I HAVE to explain this to you.” nope
          The last, not as bad, had worked for our organization in the past, but a long while ago. Every answer he gave us was based on that one position, even though he had other experience. And the 2 jobs weren’t even that similar. It was too bad, but it was a very bad interview.

        3. Anax*

          Surprisingly often:
          – Audibly googling the answers to basic questions during their phone screen. We could hear the typing as they hemmed and hawed.

          (Obviously, a problem because they had inflated their credentials massively – e.g., ANY teapot designer should be able to tell you what a teapot is. But also, it spoke to a lack of integrity.)

          Which leads to an ancillary thing… In my experience, DO NOT type notes during a phone screen. Write them by hand, or in an otherwise quiet way – or if you really need to type the notes, probably give a heads-up at the beginning of the screen. It really makes it sound like you’re being coached through the interview, or not really engaged.

        4. Elizabeth West*

          -Telling the interviewer you aren’t afraid to yell at people to get what you want

          I just made the same face as that cat with the flower on its head.

      2. MeeMoo*

        I sat in on a few interviews for higher ed, what I noticed of maybe the toe shooting rather than foot shooting variety:

        -People who didn’t closely read the job description. I get that people may apply to whatever and see what sticks. But I’m talking about people who fundamentally didn’t understand what the job was about and bombed the interview because they kept speaking to job functions the job didn’t cover.

        -Saying “I don’t know what I’d do, honestly” and that was just the entire answer. It is 100% better to sideways answer a question, or only loosely answer it, than to just shut it down with “Hm, couldn’t say!”

        -Would-be social media gurus. A *bunch* of interviewees for all different roles kept suggesting that they’d do social media as part of their job. Which is ok, we could have worked together if they had some cool ideas (because it was my job normally, and never a part of their job description!), but they didn’t actually have any knowledge of social media other than, quite honestly, “I’m a millennial and I’ve used these platforms.” Oh and the amazing suggestion of “use different platforms to connect to different audiences.” They would intentionally bring it up… and then have zero things to say about it other than “use different platforms” lol. It unintentionally highlighted their inexperience because social media is not effortless and it takes a lot of work to get people to engage – but they kept treating it as the answer to ALL “how would you do this” questions

        I think this kind of speaks to a larger issue of people just not thinking to research the role? Because there’s a lot of info out there about ANY role, and you don’t need to come to the interview feeling like you need to guess at everything. But people would essentially just come in and guess.

      3. MissGirl*

        We asked one guy what he looked for in a manager, and he started badmouthing his current manager. Considering he was an internal hire, that made it all the more awkward. He could’ve been 100% right about his manager, but he didn’t need to badmouth her to answer the question.

        We ask a logic question that has no right or wrong answer (in fact it’s impossible to give us an accurate answer). We state this up front and explain we just want to see how the candidate reasons through without having complete information—a big part of the position. One candidate refused to answer and said, “my answer is there is no answer.” We think she thought we were asking a trick question and she outsmarted us.

        Another guy started the interview apologizing for messing up the online assessment. He actually hadn’t. He really lacked confidence in himself and his skills so by the end we didn’t have confidence in him either.

      4. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

        One “okay we’re done here” answer I got when interviewing a candidate was: I asked her what she thought would be challenging about the position, and she said “I don’t think it will be challenging at all.”

    2. College Career Counselor*

      You are absolutely correct about the eye-opening experience of reviewing resumes or conducting interviews. That’s one of the exercises we often have students in workshops do–take ten minutes to review a set of 4 anonymous student resumes for a particular summer job or internship description and then put them in Interview Yes, Interview Maybe, Interview No piles (or rank them 1-4).

      That’s when we tell them that:
      * this process happens in less than a minute for each resume in the real world
      *that reviewers are looking for reasons to exclude candidates rather than keep them in (so if you’re not ranked one or maybe two pile–depending how many applicants there are–chances are you’re out), and
      *the resumes that stand out are well-crafted (no mistakes), have specific accomplishments/experience (ideally with metrics, if at all possible–sometimes harder for students) and target the needs of the job/internship listed in the position description.

      TL;DR: if you have the opportunity to review resumes/sit in on interviews, take it. It will make your own materials and presentation better.

      1. MissGirl*

        What a great exercise for students. I know my thinking around resumes completely changed once I sat on the other side but that was five years into my career.

      2. Massmatt*

        Great exercise, especially for people that may need help transitioning from an outlook of “what I want” to “what an employer wants” mindset.

        It is so easy to apply to hundreds of positions now that it is easy to get lost in the multitude of resume spammers if you don’t take the time to create good materials. On the other hand, taking the time can put you ahead of that 90% pretty widely.

  6. Betty*

    I just want to thank you for your fantastic cover letter advice. When I applied for my current job a year ago, my boss started the phone screen by saying “I’m honestly not sure we need to do a phone screen because it was so clear from your cover letter that you’re more than qualified for this position.”

  7. Ali G*

    In 2018 I found myself looking for a job for the first time in 15 years. I also realized that I had never actually, besides a few interviews after grad school in ’03, really job searched. I got my first job out of grad school on a recommendation from my Master’s Project advisor (only I didn’t know it at the time. I still had to interview, but I might have been the only candidate), and my second I got through my network (again interview was a formality).
    Alison is absolutely right. I hadn’t looked at how resume formats had changed, or anything. I just updated it and started sending it out. I was applying to jobs I could totally do (and in some cases knew the person who had been in the position and/or knew the hiring managers), and still was not getting interviews. Based on this site, I revamped all my materials, I used her interview guide religiously and it paid off.
    In the end I was in the running for two great positions, one a exec at a non-profit and another non-profit ED position. I ended up getting and taking the first! I was still in the running for the ED position, but this one suited me better so I dropped out.
    Seriously, don’t settle for “fine” materials. Take a hard look at them and make sure it’s the best it can be. It will be worth it!

  8. BT*

    This round up is awesome, Alison! I landed my new job by basically studying your tule on the ins and outs of how to ace interview and perfect my resume. I had 50 tabs open at the same time, lol — anyhow, will write you my story for the Friday Good News column ;-)

  9. Lygeia*

    Any tips on references that won’t get back to you?

    I don’t have many options for references (I’ve been at my job for 5 years under the same manager…). My only other professional job was for 2.5 years, and I had 5 different managers in that time. I have one manager from there that would be able to speak to my work, and I have a former colleague from my current company that was sometimes an indirect supervisor to me, and I was promoted to her role when she left. However, neither of them have responded to my “hey, I’m job searching, can I list you as a reference if it gets to that point? I’ll of course let you know!” messages.

    I know I had good relationships with both (and even have kept in touch on occasion). So this silence seems very weird.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      References are my nightmare, too.

      I will been in my current position for 9 years at the end of the month. My current supervisor is my first real supervisor since my hiring manager switched departments about 9 months in–and both are still with the company. There have been people I report to, but me being remote and them not understanding my job, about all they could verify if I could track one down would be “there were rarely complaints about Sola, those complaints ended in Sola’s vindication, and Sola doesn’t request vacation often.”

      My previous job only stays on the résumé to avoid a two-year gap. It was a nightmare and a poor fit in almost every possible way–I spin it as having found a way to make a positive impact despite the issues–and reality is that we went our separate ways for a reason. And, frankly, I’m not so sure I want someone to vouch that I won’t quit if you intentionally make my life miserable.

      I can go back farther, but the only person left in my department at that job who would remember me is my best friend. I got him in touch with the right person when he wanted to change careers into programming (he got himself the job!), and of course he’s a reference. He’s a supervisor now, but his promotion happened years after I left. Even that one makes me nervous; we last worked together in 2009; how relevant will that be to 2021?

      If I ever decide to leave, I don’t know if I have any choice but to make my intentions known and try to convince current coworkers to be references (people are escorted out in lieu of working their two week notice almost categorically)–or simply decline to provide references.

      *Yes, I read the January 2020 article @

  10. Charles*

    Thank you for posting this Alison! I’ve been reading AAM for years now, and find myself job searching for the first time in a while. Your advice is the perfect blend of thoughtful and direct with professionalism always as the main focus.

    I started in retail and customer service, and thought I could never participate and contribute to the functions of an office place or more traditional business setting. Reading your advice has given me much more confidence in those environments and helped me see a much healthier perspective of my own abilities and skills, in relation to my lack of history in professional settings. I’m excited that I may actually have a career ahead of me instead of just a job history behind me. Thank you for using your experience to set others up for success, my life is richer for it.

  11. Budgie Buddy*

    One question I have about cover letters, is “How do you find out more about the company you’re applying to?” I noticed that the examples usually say something like “Judging from the trajectory of your business over the past seven months, you’re probably looking for this in the role…” or “I’ve been a huge fan of your website for the last five years.”

    How do you replicate this if you’re applying to an organization that you don’t know much about or like ok but aren’t a mega fan of? :/ Honestly, it’s very rare to see a posting for a company I have been using as a consumer, so I’m not sure how to sound enthusiastic about the company without coming off as insincere. I check their website to see what they do and their mission is about, but I feel like I should be doing more.

    1. MeeMoo*

      I think faking enthusiasm isn’t necessary, it’s enough to do your research and comment on it.

      It depends on the job I would say – when I was applying to a college marketing position, I went through all their social media channels and came up with a list of questions/suggestions based on what other schools were doing/things I liked. I think it helped, honestly, that I could ask them questions they didn’t have answers to, that showed I knew what I was talking about. I also went through Google news mentions of the school to get a sense of what was happening there.

      But basically, I’d say go beyond the website so that you know not only how they talk about themselves, but how the industry talks about them.

      But just make sure your critique is never TOO biting because you never know if the interviewer had some hand in it :p

    2. Ali G*

      You don’t need to have intimate knowledge of the company, just enough to be able to convey why you are interested in the position and also be good at it. You can’t be general, you need to be able to at least a little specific in that there is something that draws you to the company and that you would be of value to you.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You don’t have to cite that kind of thing in your letter; it’s just one option. You just need to present “evidence” about why you’d excel at the job as they’ve laid it out, preferably in a conversational/personable tone.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        What do you do for the jobs where you can’t figure out what the job is? They’re usually tech jobs, and read like someone sent an HR intern to the IT director’s bookshelf to copy the titles of every reference material.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If you can’t figure out what the job is, I would not apply since you can’t do the fundamental things a job application requires.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I see. That would explain why it’s so hard to recruit for my current role.

          2. Mill Miker*

            Oof, that takes out like, 99% of the jobs in my field. Some “standard” job tech job titles even have multiple definitions with near-zero overlap (none of which match the grab-bag of skills that are as Sola Lingua describes).

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              Normal for my region is that it’s impolite to ask advice and then argue with that advice, but that’s pretty much the reaction I had. If I’m limited to coherent job descriptions composed by hiring managers that understand how I do what I do, and not just the results of what I do*, then I have to hope and pray I am in and settle for being in my forever job.

              *And every good manager I’ve had just understand the results of what I do and judge me by those results.

        2. Massmatt*

          Maybe this is a time to network to find out more about what the jobs actually are and what they are looking for?

          It’s funny because postings for a lot of technical jobs do look like gibberish to me, but I’m not the audience, I assume someone looking for this kind of work knows the SQL and B2B and C+++ etc.

          If the job posting doesn’t even make sense to someone in the very field they are looking to recruit then it sounds as though the company’s hiring process is terrible.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            “If the job posting doesn’t even make sense to someone in the very field they are looking to recruit then it sounds as though the industry’s hiring process is terrible.”

            A lot of tech jobs don’t exist per se; they’re designed to fail to yield a candidate as justification for an H-1B visa at a lower rate.
            A lot of times, the left hand doesn’t know the right hand exists. Teapot Designer Michael gives notice to Teapot Manager Jim. Teapot Manager Jim sends an email to Teapot VP Fred keeping him in the loop. Teapot VP Fred decides “we can’t lose headcount!” and calls HR Manager Pierre to request an ad listing for a Teapot Designer II. HR Manager Pierre delegates down to HR Intern Michael. Exactly no one talks to Teapot Designer Antonio–why would they? He’s not in management.
            Sometimes the job posting is overinflated a la the H-1B scenario, but it’s for an internal candidate. Sure, she doesn’t have the 75 years of UNIX experience requested, but that’s negotiable *for the right candidate*.
            Sometimes jobs legitimately evolve over the years to the point where only Clark Kent is truly qualified, and are mission-critical enough that no reasonable candidate could grow into them.
            Other times, jobs do get listed in good faith.
            But a lot of tech jobs just get filled by people who aren’t qualified via the Good Old Boys network or by the random schlep who just happens to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time when desperation took hold and gets up to speed fast enough to dodge the Turk.

            There’s a lot of toxic in tech, even with the focus on eliminating the use of lead.

    4. AndersonDarling*

      If you aren’t applying for an executive role, then you just need to know what the company does. No one is going to expect an analyst to know the last 15 years of organizational history and have a strategic plan for the next 5 years. And an outsider generally doesn’t have the context to guess what the company needs…I’ve seen these guesses go off into all sorts of crazy directions.
      When applying for a role, the thought is that you will discuss your skills and the interviewer will tell you about the company. You’ll want to know the basics, like the size of the company and what they do, but it isn’t a requirement to have a personal connection to a business. Your connection is to your career (finance, analytics, IT, communications,…) and I’d rather hear a candidate talk about how much they love Excel over a contrived “When I was shopping at your store last week…” story. Just be yourself.

    5. beanie gee*

      I really appreciate candidates who have looked through our website and bonus points for people who have found articles/reports/presentations that are posted on the web but not on our website (we are a consulting company). It tells me they understand what we do at least a little bit.

      We get a LOT of applicants who put in their cover letter that they are applying because they really want to be involved in the [teapot] industry when in fact, if they’d looked at our website, they’d see that we’re actually in the [teacup] industry which isn’t as sexy but is equally important if people want to [drink tea]. (Terrible examples but my point being – do some preliminary research to make sure you don’t look clueless).

  12. Mockingjay*

    Thank you for this great compilation of links! Just sent this thread to my daughter. Her hours were just drastically reduced and she needs something else.

  13. Angrytreespirit*

    I’ll never forget an experience I had with an acquaintance. He was a local celebrity and he could not find a job after he left his “role”. He published a rant on Facebook about how there were no jobs, no one would hire him, etc. I told him I could help and asked to see his resume. It was word salad, poorly organized, explaining gaps in employment with blame shifting passive aggressive talk… just a DISASTER. I offered to rework his resume for him and he said, I quote, “I don’t want a new resume. I want a job.”

    He ended up a dog walker.

    1. Massmatt*

      I know people like this also, and we’ve seen many letters with a similar theme. You can’t help someone that refuses to be helped, and unfortunately sometimes people will snap at an offer of help as some sort of insult.

    2. Washi*

      I feel bad for people whose resumes don’t represent how great they are…but in this case his resume sounds like it conveyed his attitude pretty accurately!

  14. Hazel*

    In case anyone doesn’t know yet how valuable Alison’s advice is, I used her materials and instructions to get a new job 2 years ago – after 17 years at my previous job. After being at the same company for so long, I was really nervous about finding another job. The new job had a substantial jump in salary, and I loved the work, the culture, and the mission.

    Unfortunately I was laid off from this fabulous job in April, but I went back to Alison’s advice, and I’m now in my second week at my new job. I am getting the same salary (which is what I asked for), and even though it’s harder to start a new job remotely, the people im working with are doing their best to make it easier for me, and I’m really enjoying the work.

    1. Dream Jobbed*

      Same. Bought the book 1.5 – 2 years ago and ended up with what will hopefully be my forever job, as I am finally in my forever location. Great advice!

  15. AppleStan*

    Alison, I just want to thank you for putting all of this together in one post.

    I’m going to apply to replace my boss, who left a couple of months ago, and we still haven’t filled the role, but need to do so very quickly. So having this all in one place is EXTREMELY helpful!

    Thank you, again!

  16. MsChanandlerBong*

    Alison, I have to thank you for your great advice. My husband got laid off in May and used your resume and cover letter tips when he applied for new jobs. Out of 7 applications, he got 4 interviews (three first interviews and one second interview), and he was hired for a job that pays 30% more than his previous job, has cheaper/better health insurance, and has way more in terms of retirement and fringe benefits. He found out about the impending layoff on May 6, had his last day on May 20, and started his new job on June 13. And he’s not in some high-demand field where they are desperate to hire, either. Thank you again!

  17. quirkypants*

    I’m currently in the midst of hiring and I want to send this link to SO MANY people who are applying. (I won’t, of course).

    My “favourite” cover letter so far was a 2 page letter that was all about how fantastic the candidate was and barely touched on a single skill relevant to the job. He talked about how he’s travelled extensively, an award he got in school five years ago that was not at all related to our field or the job, how much this job would help HIM (instead of help us), etc. It was painful.

    1. irene adler*

      I’ve received a few ‘pain’ letters from candidates that had me cringing.

      In them, the candidate delved into how they would help me with my work. And solve problems for me. Problems I didn’t even know I had.

      A lot of bad assumptions all around.

  18. gawaine42*

    The one I wish everyone would avoid, especially at the beginning of their career, is the self-rating. Putting “Java 5/5, C++ 3/5” is a way of turning what should have been objective skills into subjective skills, at which point your injunction against those apply.

    The odds are that most people at the beginning of their career are between a 1 and 3 out of 20 in any particular technical skill. No one’s going to put that on a resume, though, and what they do put down usually gives you an early look at D-K syndrome. When someone puts down “Project management – 5/5” at 8 months into their career, I’m afraid they’ve done themselves more harm than good.

    1. quirkypants*

      I see this from time to time and mostly just ignore it. I can definitely see why this would be a pet peeve, though.

      I don’t count it as a strike against, but it doesn’t really factor much into my decisions either.

  19. PrgrmMngr*

    If there is one more thing I’d add to this list, it’s “why you need to write a cover letter”. Despite explicitly requesting a cover letter in my job listings, I rarely receive one.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I’m one of those people who would submit a résumé to you without a cover letter. If you reached out to me after submission in an email saying “Sola, I’m looking for a Teapot Designer II and your résumé suggests you might be a fit; would you provide a cover letter to go along with your résumé?”, I’d make time to compose one for you. I realize that’s not the way the world works.

      But I’m not going to volunteer one. If I’m unemployed and need any job, that would limit me to maybe 10 per day if the cover letter and its research take an hour (and I think that’s underselling it, frankly). If I’m underemployed, that might restrict me to one per day. A form letter would insult us both. You’re not going to compensate me for it–sure, you’ll hire me if I’m that one candidate, but what are the odds of that? And how different are those odds based on no letter/a form letter/the perfect letter? And how, as a stranger, do I tell if you’re the hiring manager that cares or not?

      Based on my experience, I’m likely to get dismissed out of hand because my decade of design experience is in left-handed teapots instead of right-handed teapots*, so the cover letter is just more time wasted.

      Your Mileage May Vary.

      *Or a detail as equally pointless that I’ll never know because it happened behind closed doors. It’s almost as if job hunters are believed to be incapable of learning and must be able to predict the nits that will be picked.

      1. Washi*

        Wait, so even if the instructions specifically asked for a cover letter, you wouldn’t submit one?

        Also, I submit cover letters whenever applying and it doesn’t take an hour for each one. If I’m applying to generally the same type of jobs, then after maybe 3-4, I start tweaking old ones. So I don’t have just one form letter, but several, and I pull together the best phrasing from each one to match the job, plus adding a few sentences very specifically for that job. It takes probably 20-30 mins depending on how much tweaking I have to do.

        However, I would never be able to apply for more than 10 jobs a day for multiple days, there just aren’t that many in my field and at my level at any one time.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          No, if the listing requested a cover letter, I would simply decline to apply.

          It’s one thing to preserve the value of my time. It’s another entirely to intentionally waste someone else’s–that’d be pretty hypocritical.

      2. Anonym*

        But how many hiring managers will even consider a candidate when they’ve declined to follow the directions in the job post? I’d be curious to know. I don’t think my team would consider an incomplete application at all, given that thoroughness and following instruction are key, as well as genuine interest in the role.

        Agree on the time suck of cover letters, of course. I send fewer applications because of it, but I do send a cover letter each time. If you’re really looking, it might make sense to at least send them for the roles you’re most interested in and leave the mehs and maybes to chance.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I missed the word “explicitly” in the first reading; culpa mea. Instructions are given to be followed.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        If that works for you and you’re getting the interviews you want, then it works for you. You said in another comment that you’re in tech, and it’s true that cover letters often matter far less in tech than in other fields.

        But if you’re not getting the interviews you want, I’d take another look at this.

        1. PrgrmMngr*

          I’d be really interested in how norms for this vary across industries. My husband and I are in very different fields (non-profit management, complicated academic and industry scientific research) and neither of us would submit a resume without a cover letter. I think we have a high success rate getting interviews and offers.

        2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I’m happy with the volume of interviews, but not the quality. Most of that is due to requirement bloat and my niche going through an infatuation with what I’d call “general experts”. Instead of looking for someone with expertise in one or two specialities and the basics of the balance of the job, trying to find an individual with a career’s worth of experience in every technology the employer uses. Mainstream programming is arguably worse about it. It’s not something I think I could fix with a cover letter–if it were, that would certainly change the calculus on the value of the hours that go into that cover letter.

          I get on an interview, we spend 5 minutes discussing my wheelhouse, then 20 minutes discussing other technologies with which I have never claimed to have expertise, then I get ghosted. And these are recruiters and positions that found me, not ones I have sought out.

          That said, I like my boss, I’m relatively happy with the company, and they’ve put me into and left me in a position to succeed. There’s no room for growth or advancement, and I’m forced to manipulate the department I would rather be in to get my job done, but on the whole it’s manageable. Most of the career growth I have achieved has been, for lack of a better way of putting it, self-directed and self-benefitting (e.g. designing and implementing tools to minimize the chink in my armor, proofreading). If I had to ride this position out to retirement, it wouldn’t be the worst outcome, but I am disappointed that interviewing doesn’t go any better–because the easier it would be to find another job should something happen to this one, the easier it is to ride out a rough stretch.

          I like your blog because I’d like to understand the management mind better, and I think it does that well.

      4. Massmatt*

        Wow. Not following the instructions posted for a job is a sure-fire way to get your application tossed, and you are short-changing yourself if you are not understanding why a cover letter can make a difference.

        Trying to be kind here, but your very negative take on this and other things in the thread are making me think you should really re-think your attitude towards the job search. I have to think this is very off-putting to employers and you are probably sabotaging yourself in all sorts of ways.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          As stated above, I missed that she made the request explicitly as part of the job listing. I would not ignore the request; I would ignore the listing and move on.

          Wasting her time by not submitting a cover letter she intends to read is just as bad as wasting my time by expecting a cover letter that won’t change the outcome.

      5. beanie gee*

        If you’re writing a form letter as a cover letter, you’re missing the point of the cover letter.

        From the hiring perspective, your odds of me not passing on your application all together greatly increase if you include a cover letter.

        Also, with your example, your cover letter would explain why you’re qualified to do right handed teapots despite only having left-handed experience.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          You’ve made the assumption that I know it’s the handedness of my experience that’s going to be the deciding factor, when it could be any number of other details instead.

      6. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

        If I’m unemployed and need any job, that would limit me to maybe 10 per day if the cover letter and its research take an hour (and I think that’s underselling it, frankly). If I’m underemployed, that might restrict me to one per day. A form letter would insult us both.If I’m unemployed and need any job, that would limit me to maybe 10 per day if the cover letter and its research take an hour (and I think that’s underselling it, frankly). If I’m underemployed, that might restrict me to one per day. A form letter would insult us both.

        That’s why you have a semi-form letter. All of my cover letters work like this:

        Paragraph One: Dear hiring manager, please hire me for [specific job]. I’d like working [specific job] because of [specific things related to that job’s description]. This is maybe three or four sentences that I rewrite every time I have a cover letter.

        Paragraph Two: Here is some experience that is relevant to this job. I have changed nothing in this paragraph (occasionally very minor tweaks). This is a form paragraph, but it looks like it isn’t because you’ve never seen this letter before, and also I put all the stuff about my relevant work experience here, and I wouldn’t apply if my past work wasn’t relevant.

        Paragraph Three: Here is other experience that’s nice but not directly related. I have also not changed anything about this paragraph, but you don’t know that!

        Paragraph Four: Please hire me, this is how to contact me. This is so perfunctory that no one will care if it’s a form.

        You don’t need to rewrite a cover letter from scratch. You just need to write small, specific bits for each letter.

        1. PrgrmMngr*

          This! I’m currently job searching and it’s probably ten minutes to update a form letter for similar roles and employers, definitely less than a half hour for something that varies more than what I’ve done to date and what I’ve been applying for. I think I’m getting a pretty good response from some employers that would be a significant pivot for me, too

        2. Medieval_Minstrel*

          Right, so this is how I do it as well.

          However, looking at my folder, I realise that I end up having a “master semi-form letter” that runs almost two full pages : I have small paragraphs that highlight [this] and [that], and as I tweak for each job listing, I end up having a bunch of well-written stuff to include.

          My issue now : I never quite know how to trim down a letter for a job. Arguably, most of my small paragraphs are either 100% in line for the job, or 70-80%, which is still quite good. (That would be your “paragraph three” from your example).

          Bottom line : maybe my cover letters are just too full with verbiage! They always fit on one page, size 12 Times New Roman font (I actually use a nicer one but you get the idea).
          Since I never get any feedback on my letters, whether I get the job / temporary mission or not, it’s hard to self-correct. And career councillors tend to be clueless in this case, since they never do the hiring and everything is very field-specific.

    2. beanie gee*

      We are stymied by this as well. We rule out applicants that don’t follow our explicit instructions that they have to include a cover letter to be considered.

      I have a lot of reasons why a cover letter is important, but one is that it’s REALLY easy to apply to a lot of applications at once just by submitting the resume, when it reality, you aren’t actually qualified or even interested in the job. The cover letter 1. demonstrates that you’re not just blindly applying to the position, 2. can explain why you’re interested in the positions, and 3. that you can connect your work experience to the specific role (and maybe even explain why you’re qualified, despite a tangential resume)

      1. PrgrmMngr*

        For the last role I was hiring for, I started writing back to promising applicants asking those questions. I’ve recently seen at least one postings that has a statement in bold, at the top, highlighted in ways you cannot miss stating that applications that don’t include a cover letter will not be considered.

    3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I’ve reread the four articles linked above and I still don’t get it.

      From “You need to write a better cover letter”:
      If you’re still stumped, pretend you’re writing an email to a friend about why you’d be great at the job.
      In the majority of interviews I’ve had in my career, I’m helping the interviewer figure out what the job I’m being interviewed for is at the day-to-day, ground level. At best, the interviewer knows, but that information is proprietary enough to be held close to the vest at least until an in-person interview.

      E.g. A job listing requires 3 years of Java and Teapot Design Automation. I’m familiar enough with Teapot Design Automation to know it’s a program written in Java that runs in a Java Virtual Machine, so I have to be proficient enough with Java to install a Java Development Kit, but it could easily be the case that the employer could have a custom, in house, stand-alone Teapot Design Automation Helper application that the position reports. No listing is going to mention it because it doesn’t exist outside of the company. How do I make a case I’d be a great fit for maintaining a program that may or may not exist? Or if I’m really just good at Teapot Design Automation and have no specific expertise in Java above and beyond just installing it?

      Mind you, those are all details that you can’t reverse-engineer from looking at a teapot, its packaging or the published marketing materials.

      Stay away from form letters.
      If you’re giving a programmer a high-stakes, formulaic, time consuming task to complete, the solution I’ve been trained and taught to given–the solution you’re hiring me to give–is automating it and testing the automation. That pretty much is a form letter. I totally get why it insults us both–me to have my name on a form letter, you to read a form letter–but it’s absurd and ironic enough to trigger my sense of humor.

      Don’t antagonize over the details.
      My value-add is in the details. It’s in understanding and being able to articulate swashing if you (or your clientele) want to use Roman numerals in your application (program) and why it would be important. It’s in being able to track down and implement the Luhn algorithm if you (or your clientele) want banking lockbox with scanlines. Et cetera… without details, one programmer looks pretty much like another.

      From “These are bad ways to start a cover letter”:
      Yea, I pretty much agree with all the thou-shalt-not’s.

      From “Where’s the line between necessary self-promotion and overconfidence in cover letters?”:
      A lot of the same from the first question; how do I sell myself as the solution to a problem that is not disclosed and may or may not exist?

      From “How do I write a compelling cover letter when I don’t have much work experience?”:
      The question you want to answer for yourself before you start writing is this: Why should the hiring manager be excited to hire you?
      I don’t know the Hiring Manager yet, but if they’re like previous supervisors, they’ll be glad they hired me because I make problems go away.* But how do I convince the Hiring Manager that I can make their problems go away? I can assert “I eliminated design errors resulting from teapots being designed with lids that don’t fit by integrating the lid design into the teapot design,” but if hadn’t saddled yourself with that specific mistake, it might be hard to believe that was even necessary. And if you have, I’m going to have a hard time proving that without pulling proprietary data to back it up.

      Again, discovering what problems and needs are leading the Hiring Manager to hire someone for that role is one of my big agenda points as I go into the interview.

      This all ends up coming across as a game** I can’t win***. Is it just a way to gauge aptitude for BS, screen for extroverts, reduce the number of applications arbitrarily,**** or screen for my aptitude for guessing and drawing wild conclusions? Is it just a relic of the hiring processes of the past, like the necktie is to fashion?

      Please explain to me why the letter is objectively important and how it is used.

      *Yea, that sounds like I have to drive a convertible because my head won’t fit in a normal vehicle, but that is my track record. When I become responsible for a process, once I get it down enough to understand where the mistakes are made, I start reworking it to either make those mistakes impossible or at least difficult to recur.
      **Probably the most deliberately chosen word in this post.
      ***Don’t read so far into the word “win.” If I get hired, the Hiring Manager wins at least as much as I do.
      ****That’s essentially what @beanie gee noted below.

      1. Medieval_Minstrel*

        You know, I agree with a lot of the points you make.
        Let’s not forget that these are very general advices that apply to many different fields. You’re the best judge of what will really fit your profil in your own field.

        It doesn’t make it less frustrating, I know. I also realise that in some sectors, people hiring don’t really know what competences they want. Furthermore, they DO seem to have hidden clauses that you, just reading the job description, can’t even begin to understand.

        My advice in this case is either :
        – Get a job, any job, in the required field, and be prepared to spend a lot of time trying to understand the underside of things.
        – Cold-contact big people in your field (Linkedin in one option) and request to meet them for coffee or whatever. Anything to put your feet in the door. Then, ask all of them about the hidden requirements. A lot of people will tell you “oh, we always put everything in the job offer” yet, when pressed a little further, will say “well of course, without a degree from X and Y competence, there’s no way anyone could even make it in the field”. They don’t even realise the contradiction, but there you go.

        All of these require a ton of work and effort. Yeah. That’s our lot in summer 2020. So now there’s two ways to look at it : either you grumble and complain and don’t put the effort in while everyone else is doing it (and probably get nowhere). Or you wipe every rejection from your mind, and you pretend that you only ever receive positive answers (even if these are 1 out of a 100). These are the only ones that matter : you only need ONE perfect job.

        Don’t forget to implement feedback. I agree with the above commenters that you sound quite negative (but that’s normal because this is a anonymous comment section on a website, and not a cover letter), be mindful in avoiding it during job search.

        Good luck, and I mean it sincerely!

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          At this point, I’m just going to chalk the negativity up to one of the hazards of being a programmer. You get trained to think that way, as you have to be able to foresee the way users and other applications are going to noncomply with your programming and prepare for it, otherwise your code will crash and you’ll look bad (or worse).

          Frankly, I’d be terrified to work with another programmer that wasn’t at least mildly pessimistic about the reliability of the information coming down their pike.

  20. nep*

    Thank you so much for this, Alison. I’ve been going to various posts on your site lately as I apply for jobs…How great of you to compile it all into one post for us today.

  21. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

    I’ve been sending links to some of these things to my boyfriend (yay for graduating from grad school during a pandemic)! His problem is that he wants to do data analysis and statistics, but the majority of his work experience is in food service because that job gave him the flexibility and money to be able to do grad school in the evening. (We’re also learning that his grad program was all data analysis and experimental design, but not database programming or coding, which is something that everyone expects mathematicians to have, apparently.) I’ve been helping him with his cover letter and resumé, since Allison’s advice worked so well for me, but it’s slow going.

  22. Massmatt*

    Thanks Alison for posting all this together, very valuable stuff! You have helped far more people than you can ever know with all this material.

  23. hayling*

    Alison, this is such a great roundup! Can you link it somewhere in the header or footer or side nav so it’s easy for people to find if they don’t bookmark it?

  24. Anax*

    Any tips for… frankly, unimpressive resumes, other than putting together a stellar cover letter? (Definitely already trying to do that one.)

    My partner has stagnated in a single, entry-level retail job since high school, and he’s now in his early thirties. He also doesn’t really have any higher education, volunteer experience, or credentials/certifications.

    Obviously… “something that’s not retail” is the goal, but the job market is glutted, and I’m afraid his resume is being dismissed out of hand because he’s pigeonholed himself. A lot of the time, he’s clearly not getting past the automated screening.

    (Untreated depression is a BEAST. He finally got medicated and into therapy this year, and he’s doing much better, but he’s having trouble getting a better job. Irregular work hours mean he’s going to need to quit and find good market health insurance if he wants to go back to school, and since he depends on good mental health care to function… Yeah.)

    1. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      Is it possible for him to, in his cover letter and to a lesser extent his resumé, point to specific skills he’s good at rather than jobs he’s had? Like, suppose that what he’s really good at in his retail job is handling people who are upset at him for no reason other than that he’s present for their haranguing. The achievements he puts under his job experience can focus on that skill rather than duties he had doing retail, and he can write in his cover letter that he is cool under pressure and experienced at handling customers in tense situations (or however you’d want to diplomatically phrase it). Then apply to jobs where that might be useful (say, clerking in a government office and dealing with the public) even if he has no specific experience in that job. If there are multiple transferrable skills, so much the better.

      Obviously the other option would be to take classes or volunteer in something he wants to learn for more experience, but that’s probably not feasible right now.

  25. nep*

    No excuses…Now I just have to stop backing down from applying because I don’t meet this one qualification or I haven’t done that or I’m just plain not good enough…

    1. Medieval_Minstrel*

      Impostor syndrome is a terrible beast. You can do it!

      I was told to submit my candidacy if I saw 50% – 70% of things I could do in the job offer.
      Obviously, if the last 30% is “speak and read Chinese perfectly”, then it’s supposed to be a deal-breaker. In that case, I make up some kind of rule : if it takes less than 10mn for me to teak my resume & cover letter for this job, I’ll still apply.

      For one, you never know. And furthermore, I also believe in the number’s game. As long as I haven’t sent out at least 100 resumes far and wide, then I haven’t really tried.

  26. Lena Carabina*

    Alison, is this book available in the UK? I’ve looked for it a couple of times and can’t find it.

  27. zeezeebee*

    Does anyone have advice on how to stand out when some job application portal won’t allow you to attach a cover letter? I don’t know if I should make a mega pdf and combine a resume with a cover letter or would that come across as inappropriate if the application doesn’t ask for a cover letter.

  28. Medieval_Minstrel*

    Thank you so much for compiling every here! I realise I have already gone through all of the advice here as COVID started but having everything on one page is a helpful reminder.

    I’m not sure if anyone will be reading this message since I’m a bit late to the party, but here goes :
    Whereas all of the resume advice make perfect sense, I can’t seem to apply the cover letter advice to mine, at all.

    I think the first problem stems from a difference in language and culture. US culture has always seemed less formal than British culture (which I know a little), itself far, far less formal than my own culture. Reading all of these cover letters examples, they all seem quite personalised for sure : but in my eyes, with a very different cultural background, they also appear very casual, showy to the point that they appear like bragging, and falsely enthusiastic.
    This is not to disparage the letters in themselves : however, in reading examples of letters from my own place, this style doesn’t seem to be at all appropriate.

    The sector I’m targeting is also more stuffy than most job categories. How does one appear enthusiastic when I know for a fact that my letter is one of hundreds, if not thousands? I am very confident in many of my work qualities : but a lot of what makes me stand out in work is also not something that is easily quantifiable.

    Thus, I am serious and very hard-working : but who isn’t, or at least pretends to be in a cover letter and job interview?
    I speak perfect [languages] : I was told that “everyone speaks English” (something that is actually not true here), and that “languages don’t make a difference”. However, in every single job I’ve held, everyone from managers to colleagues to people in other departments would come to me, specifically, to ask for help in [languages]. In the day to day work, when it mattered, I was the go-to person. And yet, on a resume, I could be bragging like everyone else. It’s not enough to write “I’m really good at this”, people have to have seen me at it to really believe it.
    I have [experience in this and that] : but I’m competing against people that also have similar experiences. We might not quite have the same things to show, but I think everyone knows how to best put a shine on it to make it seem more impressive than it really is. (Guilty of this myself).

    Part of the issue is imposter syndrome ; another part is that the sector is so competitive and hierarchical. I struggle to make myself feel valuable and this crisis isn’t really helping.

    Does anyone else have the same issue? Any feedback of any kind would be very highly appreciated.

  29. a reader*

    It’s so thoughtful of you to pull these free resources together for those in a tough spot.

  30. El*

    Hi Everyone, I graduated from a Software Engineering Bootcamp at the end of October and am still stuck in job hunting hell, a situation not helped by covid, of course. I had career coaching from my bootcamp until recently so I’m confident I’m doing all the right things, but it just isn’t working out. I’ve even had a couple almost-offers that fell through. It’s incredibly demoralizing. Can anyone offer any words of wisdom or comfort?

  31. kgtko*

    The only thing I would add here is that for certain STEM jobs (which I actively hire for in my area), having job duties spelled out is incredibly helpful. It’s good to list project outcomes as well, but if I’m looking to hire a junior role and want to know their technical skill set (eg making llama clothes from scratch, handling llamas), that is SUPER helpful to see in a resume/CV section when it’s clearly laid out. Some technical skills are hard or take a long time to train, and if someone knows how to do those exact things, they will end up much higher on my to-contact list. It takes a while to go through detailed project descriptions and really suss out what the actual skills are, I’ve found.

Comments are closed.