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4 New Ways to Get a Job-Search Edge

Selena Dehne, JIST Publishing

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When a professional chef steps into a kitchen, he knows he'll need more than a knife or spoon to create elaborate, savory dishes. He'll need an entire collection of gadgets and utensils to assist him throughout the cooking process.

When searching for a job, you too should make use of a variety of tools to accelerate and enhance your results. Sure, you can still land interviews armed with just a résumé and cover letter, but think of how much more effective your job search would be with the help of additional tools specifically crafted to aid  you throughout every step of the job hunt.

Tools such as next-generation job-search letters can give you the edge you'll need to stand out from others in today's competitive job market. Different from standard cover letters, next-generation letters are tailored to communicate strong, specific messages and are intended for everyone from contacts in your network and referrals to recruiters and hiring managers at companies that may have interested you in the past.

"Because they are somewhat out of the ordinary, next-generation job-search letters can put you on a person's radar screen so that when an opportunity does arise, your name and qualifications immediately come to mind," say Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, co-authors of "Cover Letter Magic, Third Edition."

In their book, Enelow and Kursmark outline the following four types of next-generation letters and explain how each can accelerate your job search success:

High-impact networking letters

· Leverage your personal relationships with business colleagues, mentors, managers, peers and professional contacts.

· Quietly market the strength of your experience, qualifications and achievements.

· Encourage your contacts to get in touch with you, share information about potential leads and opportunities, and refer you to others in their network to further expand your own network.

Personal branding letters

· Communicate your own personal brand.

· Reinforce the value your brand brings to an organization.

Reconnecting letters

· Contact prospective employers, network contacts, recruiters, sponsors and others in your job-search community whom you've been out of touch with for six or more months.

· Alert individuals to your current employment situation and either ask for information about prospective opportunities or let them know about opportunities you may be offering.

Career-update letters

· Notify personal and professional contacts, recruiters and companies that you've accepted a new position and provide them with new contact information.

· Encourage recipients to do business with you at your new company.

· Remind recipients that you are available for future opportunities that might include permanent positions, consulting engagements or special project assignments.

Enelow and Kursmark advise, "Including these next-generation letters in your job-search tool kit will better equip you to compete in today's job-search market and help position you for new career opportunities."

Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST's Job Search and Career Blog (

Last Updated: 28/01/2009 - 2:14 PM

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