Archives for the month of: October, 2012

A lot of emphasis is placed on having a well-written resume and the importance of cover letters is often overlooked.  While cover letters are not always required, they have the potential to make a candidate stand out to an employer.  

The growth of digital has caused a shift from the pre-digital days of fax or snail mail to the current use of online portfolios and interactive resumes.  Another change in cover letters is the recommended length and the formatting of the letter.  Cover letters can easily become a long, somewhat unnecessary recap of a resume–but we recommend short, to-the-point cover letters, especially for email. Simply recapping your resume could hurt you instead of helping.  

David Silverman, blogger for the Harvard Business Review and former executive, explains that the best cover letter he received was three sentences long and basically an introduction to the applicant’s resume.  If your cover letter is a summary of your resume, keep it short and to the point, there is no reason for your cover letter to be an overly wordy, overly long summary of your resume.  But the point of a cover letter is to further explain what you will bring to the job, therefore, only focus on experience and qualities pertinent to the job, including accomplishments that demonstrate traits you can’t communicate in a resume.  

Yes, some employers like David Silverman prefer a concise cover letter or even no cover letter at all, this is by no means a universal sentiment.  Some industries, particularly  law and architecture, depend on cover letters to distinguish candidates from one another.  These industries take into account more than just the basic qualifications when looking to hire.  Furthermore, for jobs that require a substantial amount of writing, cover letters provide the opportunity to showcase your writing ability.  

Finally, there are some basic guidelines that should be followed when writing a cover letter.  Avoid antiquated phrases such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam”. You should always address the person who is reading your resume directly. If you do not know, and cannot discover, the name of the person who will be reading your resume, consider omitting the salutation line altogether. Also, make sure to follow the employer’s guidelines for sending a resume.  Some employers will specify to attach the cover letter in an email instead of putting it in the body of the email, or vice versa–follow these instructions.  And thoroughly read through your cover letter for any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

For a guide to writing resumes read our previous posts here and here.

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Ed Keller and Brad Fay discuss the shortcomings of social media in their new book, The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace.  Brad Fay explains that the effectiveness of social media marketing lies in its ability to connect people.  In their research, Fay and Keller found that only 3% of product talk occurs online, with the remaining 97% occurring in person.  The key to advertising and marketing is to create a desire among people to talk about the product whether online or offline.

When creating a marketing strategy, keep in mind that popularity does not necessarily equal marketing success, and remember that you now must integrate social and traditional means to optimize success.  A marketing campaign may end up being popular, but without relevant content, it is necessarily going to be effective.  Content is still king.  Fay explains that the viral success of a commercial may not necessarily lead to person-to-person discussion about the actual product.  A marketing campaign should make people talk about the product or service, not about the campaign itself.

Brad Fay and Ed Keller certainly do not diminish social media marketing, but they emphasize social media to be used as a tool to enable discussions among people.  The focus of marketing, social or traditional, should be to transform customers into ambassadors of the brand.

Companies are proving that Twitter gives their brand a voice that stands out and encourages a dialogue between the companies and the community.  Twitter is a place to be yourself and speak your mind, and successfully branded Twitter pages have done just that.

Consumers are able to have a dialogue with a company through social media, instead of only viewing traditional advertising.  Many companies approach social media differently, and what works for one company, may not work for another.  Some businesses create an individual persona for their social media accounts (like using the voice of the CEO or specific employer), others create a  forum led by customer comments and conversations, but all successful social media campaigns create a unique voice for their brand that serves to enhance and support their overall mission.

  • Starbucks perfectly exemplifies the community-based dialogue that can be accomplished on social media. On Twitter, Starbucks responds to both compliments and complaints, even if it is simply someone tweeting about their morning cup of coffee.  Starbucks has established a brand voice that is engaging by tweeting daily to specific Starbucks customers.
  • Coca-Cola is another dialogue-driven social media campaign.  Most of their tweets are  written to specific Twitter users who have engaged  with the brand.  Like Southwest and Starbucks, Coca-Cola creates a personalized brand by creating conversations with customers.   

Ask any expert, mobile is the future of social media.  Online media is integral to the success of many businesses, and mobile social media sites are gaining traction with the  increasing number of smartphones users.  Instagram started out 2012 with approximately 15 million users and has grown to 80 million users in seven months.  Instagram surpassed Foursquare, a mobile site that had been available for a year longer and on more mobile phones.  Since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, Instagram has 100 million users as well as 11 million daily users (up from 860,000 daily users).  

With the prevalence of smart phones comes a greater demand for websites optimized for mobile use.  More importantly, as mobile use becomes more the norm, consumers will grow frustrated with companies that have not optimized accordingly, sometimes tarnishing the brand’s public image.  Businesses that do not have an innovative and user-friendly mobile site automatically put themselves behind businesses that have invested in mobile technology.  Even though about half of Facebook’s 900 million users access the site from their mobile phone, Facebook has had difficulty in optimizing its mobile site.  Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram will hopefully help Facebook become more mobile-friendly.  

Mark Zuckerberg has explained that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram does not mean that Facebook intends to integrate the two. He said earlier this month, “We want to help it grow to hundreds of millions of users. We have no agenda into making them going into our infrastructure. We’re going to do the things we would have done if they were an Open Graph partner, but we’ll be able to prioritize them.”

For part 1 of our instagram series, click here

For more on Instagram

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