Re: How do you differentiate yourself (UserFriendly)

Subject: Re: How do you differentiate yourself (UserFriendly)
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 13:04:09 -0500

It's worked for me, and I teach my students to show their personality
somehow in their cover letter and job application. Employers are
concerned about hiring the right skills for the job, yes, but there
could be 100 people with similar skills as Eric said. More than
anything, employers want to find someone who will fit into their
organization, get along with their team, deliver quality work on time,
and not cause them any problems. The hiring process is subjective, like
it or not. I'm a believer in putting a few personal interests on a
resume, so the interviewers have something to talk to you about that
breaks the ice and shows you at your most natural. When we're talking
about something we enjoy, we're usually both truthful and confident.

My approach is that the cover letter gets you the interview, and the
interview gets you the job. The resume is only to demonstrate that
you've applied for the right job, in that you have the skills that were
requested, and a background that supports acquisition and development of
those skills. The first paragraph of your cover letter should ask for
the job and then say something about why you are a good candidate:
"Please consider me for the position of senior technical writer. I am an
enthusiastic professional with 10 years of experience successfully
meeting deadlines and delivering outstanding manuals that users actually
want to read." Hook them with those first 2 sentences, and the rest is
pretty straightforward.

I have been known to send my resume in the form of a sports trading card
when applying to an athletics industry job, and I always include my
picture on my resume. Even when it was a hand-drawn Picasso-like version
(long before digital photography!). I'm a character, and employers
should know that before they even pick up the phone. If they're turned
off by my non-traditional approach, they sure aren't going to provide a
place where I'll be comfortable working, so it's also been a great
filter for me. When the matches were made, they worked out extremely well.

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College, Toronto

Eric J. Ray wrote:
> How do you differentiate yourself (either
> on the job or when looking for a job) when you have EXACTLY
> the skills that many organizations need, and everyone else
> thinks they have those skills too?

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How do you differentiate yourself (UserFriendly): From: Eric J. Ray

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