Blaine and Associates

Blaine and Associates

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cover Letters 101

Covering Letters – your questions answered

Should you or shouldn't you? And what the heck do you write anyway? Get to grips with all these questions and more.
Do I always need to send a letter with an application form or should it just go with a CV?

It’s polite to send a letter accompanying whatever sort of application you make. If you’ve completed a detailed application form that included a lengthy personal statement this need only be a short note. Don’t repeat information from your form but use this as an opportunity to highlight key attributes or areas of experience. You may want to include details not previously mentioned such as when you’d be available, what prompted you to apply for the job or where you saw it advertised.
When your letter is accompanying a CV it needs to be more detailed and take the place of the ‘What qualities will you bring to this job’ section of an application form.
How long should it be?

That depends on how much you’ve got to say! A few lines are enough when it accompanies an application form, you may need up to two pages if it’s the partner to a one-page CV. If possible keep it to one side, but don’t sell yourself short by worrying over whether two sides is too much. If what you have to say is interesting and relevant, employers will read it. If you’re obviously rambling, they won’t.
Should it be friendly or formal?

The best letters convey your enthusiasm for the job. If your tone is too formal this may be hard to do, but a chatty tone can be a mistake too. Your application or CV should have a formal feel to it, but your letter should allow your personality to show. Consider the nature of the job you’re applying for. If it’s in financial services, a straightforward formal style will be expected. If it’s for a travel rep with an 18-30s tour operator, they’ll be looking for something a bit more lively. Your layout should be as for a formal business letter. Unless you know the person well, do not use their first name. If you don’t know their name, ring up and ask. ‘Dear Ms Jones’ looks so much better than ‘Dear Sir/Madam.’
How should I start?

Get to the point quickly and avoid waffling. Your first paragraph should mention the job you’re applying for and explain why you are right for it. Then develop the points you have made in the opening sentences more fully in the following paragraphs.
What’s a good way to sign off

Your final sentence should be positive and confident, showing that you expect a response and giving details of how you can be contacted, or when you intend to contact them. If it’s a speculative application, a follow-up phone call is a good idea.

Office Manager for a rapidly expanding political/social branding/pr/marketing firm in downtown Los Angeles.
$60 - 75,000
We are looking for a jack-of-all-trades Office Manager to run the day-to-day operations of our company.  You will be responsible for the following areas:
  •  Screening and hiring new personnel, working with staffing agencies, running recruiting ads and assessing resumes, checking references and administering skills and personality test
  • Supervise the training of all new staff - contract, temporary, intern, and full-time staff
  • Conduct the new employee orientation 
  • Administration of employee benefits, including medical, dental, COBRA, worker's comp, 401(K) enrollments
  • Handle all vendors and suppliers, including landlord, parking garage, priniting, computers, furniture, janitorial, phones, office supplies, contractors, etc.
  • Maintain company client and administrative files, which inlcudes document storage, contracts, agreements, leases, warranties, etc.
We are looking for someone out of a similar environment (PR, Branding or Marketing), 5+ years office management expereince with hiring, training, and supervising support staff, a 4-year college degree, excellent references, and solid skills on MSW, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  We will test on these as well as grammar, spelling and proofreading.  A background check will be conducted.  
We have some of the most intersting clients in the business.  We are growing at a nice steady pace and see 2014 - 2015 as our biggest growth years ever.  We have an excellent reputation and take great pride in the staff we do select and hire.  This is a position that will grow and learn.  
If you meet the above requirements, please submit your resume and salary history today. We would like to have this position filled in the next two weeks.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Job Listing - District Sales Manager

District Manager/Beverage Co. - $80 - $90,000 - San Francisco, CA

Develop and effectively implement all aspects of the company goals. Constantly seeking new and innovative methods for increasing sales and enhancing the corporate image. Show a high degree of personal sales performance and the ability to manage a “profit center”.

Areas of Responsibility

  • People Development
  • District Manager is responsible for personnel development through recruiting selection and training based on the fundamentals of “MANAGEMENT BY EXCELLENCE”.
  • Keep at least three active candidates per market for all direct reports in hiring process at all times.
  • Physically meet with at least one recruited candidate a quarter.
  • Implement and manage field-training programs.
  • Conduct quarterly reviews of “direct reports”.
  • Planning / Administrative Responsibilities
  • Must be able to demonstrate proficiency in technology – Excel, SAP, Word for customer analysis.
  • District manager is responsible for administering all company policies and procedures within his district.
  • District manager works closely with the Regional manager in the Company’s annual budgeting and planning process.
  • Communicate itinerary and activity reports on schedule.
  • Follow up on all promotions and price changes.
  • Monitor all inspection reports for due dates.

Customer Relations

  • Represents the Company in a professional manner.
  • Regular visitation of key customers to build loyalty utilizing key account book.
  • Follow up on all problem calls as necessary.
  • Establishes a relationship with key customers so that the customer is satisfied with the company’s products and services.
  • Implement an aggressive customer protection plan.
  • Develop a personal relationship with decision makers in key accounts.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How They Hire

Influencers on How They Hire by Richard Branson, Virgin Airlines
There is nothing more important for a business than hiring the right team. If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success. However, the best person for the job doesn’t always walk right through your door.

The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.

Personality is the key. It is not something that always comes out in interview – people can be shy. But you have to trust your judgement. If you have got a slightly introverted person with a great personality, use your experience to pull it out of them. It is easier with an extrovert, but be wary of people becoming overexcited in the pressure of interviews.

You can learn most jobs extremely quickly once you are thrown in the deep end. Within three months you can usually know the ins and outs of a role. If you are satisfied with the personality, then look at experience and expertise. Find people with transferable skills – you need team players who can pitch in and try their hand at all sorts of different jobs. While specialists are sometimes necessary, versatility should not be underestimated.

Some managers get hung up on qualifications. I only look at them after everything else. If somebody has five degrees and more A grades than you can fit on one side of paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right person for the job. Great grades count for nothing if they aren’t partnered with broad-ranging experience and a winning personality.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take risks when building your team. Don’t be afraid of hiring mavericks. Somebody who thinks a little differently can help to see problems as opportunities and inspire creative energy within a group. Some of the best people we’ve ever hired didn’t seem to fit in at first, but proved to be indispensable over time.

If you hire the wrong person at the top of a company, they can destroy it in no time at all. Promoting from within is generally a good idea as the employee who is promoted will be inspired by the new role, already know the business inside out, and have the trust and respect of their team.

Equally, bringing in fresh blood can reinvigorate a company. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia recently brought in CEOs from outside - John Borghetti at Virgin Australia and Craig Kreeger at Virgin Atlantic. They have brought a lot of fresh ideas into the company, as well as experience of what the competition is doing well and what they are doing badly.

When companies go through growth spurts, they often hire in bulk and company culture can suffer. While it may seem a desperate rush to get somebody through the door to help carry the load, it is worth being patient to find the right person, rather than hurrying and unbalancing your team. I heard a great line by Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai at the IoD Conference in London (quoting Apple's Dan Jacobs) about making sure you hire (and fire) the right people: “It’s better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!”