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PayScale’s VIP Blog Roundup: Does Your Cover Letter Make You Sound Like a Robot?

Strange as it might seem to most of us, there are people out there who love various parts of the job search process. Some like meeting new people, or feel energized by the interview process; others see exciting new potential in every networking connection or job posting. But even those job-searching Pollyannas would be hard-pressed to find an upside to one part of the process: writing a cover letter that grabs readers' attention, expresses their qualifications, and doesn't mindlessly repeat the same material as their resume. In this week's roundup, we look at one expert's advice on writing a cover letter that reads as if it's written by a human, plus a few reasons why your job hunt is stalled, and tips to make your resume stand out ... even when the hiring manager only takes eight seconds to skim it.

Strange as it might seem to most of us, there are people out there who love various parts of the job search process. Some like meeting new people, or feel energized by the interview process; others see exciting new potential in every networking connection or job posting. But even those job-searching Pollyannas would be hard-pressed to find an upside to one part of the process: writing a cover letter that grabs readers’ attention, expresses their qualifications, and doesn’t mindlessly repeat the same material as their resume. In this week’s roundup, we look at one expert’s advice on writing a cover letter that reads as if it’s written by a human, plus a few reasons why your job hunt is stalled, and tips to make your resume stand out … even when the hiring manager only takes eight seconds to skim it.

robot writing

(Photo Credit: Plutor/Flickr)

Jenny Foss at The Muse: 5 Cover Letter Lines That Make You Sound Like a Robot

Do You Know What You're Worth?

First on Foss’s list? “Dear Sirs.”

“Greetings. Welcome to 2016. Many, many hiring managers are not, in fact, sirs,” she writes. “When your salutation reads like this, you not only look like you’re drawing from a template from some 1979 business book, you also risk alienating the decision maker in the first two words of your cover letter. (And do note: ‘To Whom it May Concern’ is nearly as awful.)”

See some alternatives, plus other robotic phrases to avoid, in her post.

Lisa Rangel at Chameleon Resumes: 7 Logical Reasons Why You Have Zero Results From Your Job Hunt

Sometimes your job search stalls out for seemingly no reason. But, of course, there’s always really a reason, and often a pretty simple one. For instance, Rangel suggests, you might be sending your resume to job board listings or company postings and expecting a result.

“Most executive job seekers say, ‘I feel like I am sending my resume into the black hole!’ But they keep doing it…Sending resumes to job postings rarely work, even with a professionally done resume,” she writes. “Why? Submitting to job postings is the job search equivalent to direct mail, and they say successful direct mail campaigns have a one to two percent success rate — so if you submitted to 100 job postings (which is not recommended), you are doing well if you get one to two responses.”

Instead, she suggests, you should concentrate on building relationships with people. Find out what else you’re doing that’s making your job search harder than it has to be, here.

Don Goodman at Careerealism: 4 Ways to Pass the 8-Second Resume Glance

Think hiring managers are reading your resume? Think again.

“Skimming – that’s what hiring managers are doing when they are going through resumes,” Goodman writes. “There’s no time to read word-for-word when there are hundreds of resumes coming in for that one position, so they skim for key information. In fact, studies show that they spend about eight seconds scanning your resume.”

To get past the skim, you need to make sure your important details are hard to miss. Here’s how to do it.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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