How to Write a Great Cover Letter

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

For most people writing a cover letter is one of the most difficult parts of the job search. You have to sell yourself, but be modest. You have to be professional, but you also want your personality to come out. Learning to write a great cover letter can be hard. We’re here to make it a little easier.

Taking a Shot

Taking a Shot - The Job Window

You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky

Waiting for the Opportunity

Have you ever found yourself wondering if you should even bother applying for a job? Maybe they’re asking for more experience than you have. Or perhaps it sounds like certain aspects are outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you found a job that would be perfect for you, but in the back of your mind you’re already telling yourself that there are going to be so many applicants you shouldn’t even bother trying.

Do you have a suggestion that might improve something within the company, but you’re not sure if your boss will like the suggestion? Take a cue from Wayne Gretzky.

Taking a Shot

Wayne Gretzky is the National Hockey League’s top goal scorer of all time. He scored 894 goals over his career. He also took 5,089 shots. That’s a success rate of 5.7%. That’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either. The hockey great didn’t only shoot the puck when he knew it was going to go in. If he did, he would have ended up with far fewer goals at the end of his career. He fired the puck often because he knew the only way to score, is to shoot.

Hitting the Mark

The same is true for your job search. If you don’t apply, you won’t get the job. If you don’t make the suggestion to your boss, he or she will never know you’re looking to improve the company. What’s the worst thing that can happen when you apply for a job you might be a little under experienced for? They don’t call back? Weigh that against the opportunity of getting a job you want! Worried about your boss not liking your idea? The worst thing that’ll happen is, your boss will turn you down, but they’ll know you’re thinking about improving things and they’ll remember that.

So take a shot because if you don’t, you’re guaranteed to miss.

How Much Happiness Can You Buy?

How Much Happiness Can You Buy?


Obviously if you’re worried about keeping a roof over your head and food on your plate, those are your first priorities towards being happy.  Assuming the basics are covered, now we can ask the question – Is happiness something you can buy?

To buy or not to buy

Let’s see. Your phone is already three years old. It can’t do a quarter of the things your sister’s phone can do and it’s ten times slower than everyone else’s phone. You really, really, really want a new phone. You have the money. If you buy it, you know you’ll be ten times happier than you are now. Easy math:

10 X better phone = 10 X happier person.

So you buy that new phone. And you’re right you are happy! But you’re not quite ten times happier then you were before. And the happiness factor doesn’t stick around either, because before you know it, your new phone is just your phone and worse, everyday that you have it, it’s getting to be an old phone compared to all the new phones being pulled out of the pockets and purses of all your friends.

That’s the thing about things. You think the purchase of them will make you happy. You certainly feel happy in anticipation of the purchase and the second you get your hands on the thing, but that happiness is fleeting. Like the happiness you feel when eating your favorite dish. Once you’ve swallowed the final spoonful of that delicious chocolate sundae the happiness melts away. It’s a happiness of the moment. No staying power.

To do or not to do

However an experience can achieve much longer lasting happiness. Think of it as happiness created by what you do rather than what you buy. It’s the kind of happiness that can accumulate interest – interest being the happiness gained through memories of the event.  Then there’s compound interest – doing something for someone else where you get a double helping of feel-good, both in the moment of doing and during the time of revisiting.

Anticipation of a goal

Whether you’re anticipating buying something or doing something that pre-happiness time is some of the happiest time of all.  Future happiness keeps us engaged longer than the actual event.

Ultimately it seems happiness is an illusive emotion that comes and goes. Things you buy eventually lose their luster, even the best experience fades away into the past. Since anticipation seems to be a mood improver maybe that’s where we should focus our attention. Continually working towards new goals, new experiences, always having something to look forward to. That way you have the satisfaction of the goal once achieved (fleeting or long lived as that is) and always following up with another goal to keep things fresh.

Motivation Monday – Great Attitude

Motivation Monday - Great Attitude

“Great effort springs naturally from great attitude.” – Pat Riley

Today’s Motivational Monday quote comes from an NBA basketball great. Pat Riley is widely regarded as one of the best basketball coaches of all time. He won five championships as a head coach, and was named coach of the year three times.

Do What You Love

Do what you love. That’s what they say right? Do what you love and you’ll do great work. But it’s not always easy to love your job. You have to work up the ladder to a better position. You have to put in your time and gain experience. It can be stressful and hectic slowly working towards your goals; so how do you still do great work, even if you’re not at a stage where you love what you do.

Have a Great Attitude

According to Pat Riley, its all about your attitude. Go into each and every day with an amazing attitude and your effort will follow. When you love what you do, the job often seems easy. It’s the same when you have a great attitude. When you walk into work with a great attitude, great effort and great work will follow seamlessly.

Give a Great Effort

It can be easy to feel resigned when working at a task that lacks excitement. Don’t think of the task at hand, think of the work you are accomplishing, and the results that it will bring. Form a great attitude for each and every task and job you accomplish on your journey through work life and without thinking about it, you’ll be giving a great effort that will get you noticed. It might even lead to a job that you love.

If you’re looking for more Motivation, check out our other Motivation Mondays! 

An Ernest Hemingway Quote

Ernest Hemingway Quote - The Job Window

“When people talk, listen completely. People rarely listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

As this Ernest Hemingway quote displays, listening is almost like a superpower. We live in such a self obsessed society, that often in conversation the only thing you’re doing is waiting your turn to speak, and not fully internalizing what the other person is saying too.

People can see right through that. They know you’re not listening. And in turn they won’t listen to you either.

Stop that cycle. When you’re talking to someone – listen to them. Ask questions. Do your best to fully understand. And don’t ask questions so it SEEMS like you’re interested – just actually get interested! No matter what they’re talking about, I’m sure you can find an aspect of it that genuinely interests you. So delve into that. People appreciate it.

It’s also really helpful when it comes to your job – if you fully listen and really, wholly understand what is expected of you and what your goals are, you’ll be more able to achieve them successfully.

Not to mention that your boss will appreciate your genuine attentiveness and focus.

Listening will also make you a much better conversationalist – people love to talk, and when you show actual interest and understanding of what they’re telling you, they’ll appreciate and like you much more for it.

So if you want to be a better worker, conversationalist and friend – learn to listen.


Keeping that Great Attitude

Keeping that Great Attitude

You like your job, you’ve been doing it a while, it’s easy to become complacent and unmotivated. The key to staying fresh and motivated, to keep moving forward and expanding your horizons is maintaining your attitude.  Not only will a great attitude help you stay happy and fulfilled – as a byproduct you’ll want to push yourself faster and harder. You’ll be excited about achieving new things.

What if this was the last day of your life?

In a previous article about Steve Jobs we mentioned the question he asks himself everyday, “If this was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Ask yourself that question to help you put your days into perspective. You only have so many days to accomplish all the things you want. You have priorities, you have goals and dreams. Ensure as many of your days as possible are bringing you closer to those priorities, are helping brings those dreams out into the light of day.

Giving vs. receiving

All of us spend so much time thinking about what we can get. Things we can buy, what someone can give us professionally or personally. Things that we believe will enhance our sense of self worth. All those get things are good, but the satisfaction they bring is fleeting. Sure you feel good when you buy a new gadget, but soon the new gadget becomes just another gadget and you start longing for the next one. Sure that person helped you get to the next level, but now that you’re there, you’re already chasing after the next person. Sometimes after all that chasing you realize you’ve only been running on a treadmill, never actually getting anywhere. Sometimes the only way you will feel like you’re getting somewhere is to get off the treadmill altogether. To give yourself the chance to be the giver rather than the receiver. The benefits of helping someone else are twofold.

  1. You’ve helped someone else
  2. You feel really good about yourself.

And that good feeling you’ve created for yourself has the tendency to stick around a lot longer than the good feeling of a getting new thing because it’s mixed with pride and accomplishment and an all-around, good job me!

 Cultivate some patience

Heard a new song on the radio and you want it? No problem it’s a click away. Got a hankering for some pizza? Delivered, take-away or dine in – your choice.  Suddenly interested in a course on inhabitants of the Jurassic? An online course is as close as your tablet. With so much so easily available, it’s easy to think everything should be on demand. The perfect job. The exact experience you’re looking for. Then it’s not and with the world still at your fingertips, you start to feel depressed, like nothing is possible. Attitude adjustment! Have patience. Work towards your goals. Don’t expect them to materialize right away. Think of the three little pigs. Sure you can have a house of straw in about five minutes but it will blow down even faster. A house of sticks might take a little longer to build, but it will come down with the wolf’s laugh. The house of bricks will take some time to build, but it’s going to withstand whatever life throws at it and when you look at that house you built – boy does it feel good!

Keep yourself engaged

One of the easiest ways to get into a rut is having nothing to look forward to. No carrot just outside your reach. Have you achieved the goals you set out for yourself? If not are you still working towards them? Does the thought of your goals add a spring to your step in the mornings?

If you have reached all your goals do you have new ones? They don’t have to be monumental goals (although they can), but they do need to be objectives to keep things interesting.

Pay attention to your inner voice

Like it or not that little voice inside your head sways a lot of influence over you. If it’s always telling you that you can’t do something then you’re going to believe it. If it’s always telling you to keep going because you CAN then you’ll believe that too. You don’t have to agree with what that voice says. You are the narrator of that story. Change it if you want to.

Motivational Monday!

Motivational Monday - The Job Window

Steering the Ship

Sometimes at the beginning of the week, we can get caught up in plans and routine. We have a path in mind for how our week is supposed to go, and when it doesn’t, we start to stress out. It can be an easy to fall into the habit of trying to steer the ship the way you originally planned. All of a sudden you find yourself stuck fighting against the wind at every turn just trying to get back to where you were. You can end up feeling drained and lacking motivation.

Adjusting the Sails

Having a plan at the beginning of the week isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s a great one. The thing to remember is to be flexible when obstacles invariably arise. You’ll find that if you’re prepared for a couple detours here and there, you’re stress level will decrease and you’re ability to accomplish the task isn’t too hindered. You may even feel more motivated each time you conquer a small snag on your journey.

Finding the Opportunity

Adjusting your sails with the changes in the wind will also lead to new and unpredictable places and opportunities. Opportunities you may never have come across if you were too busy trying to stay on course with your original plans. These opportunities can also help you attain your original goal. Don’t be afraid of changes in the wind, embrace them!

Happy Motivational Monday Everyone!

Want to feel even more motivated? Check out more Motivational Mondays here!

Resume Writing 101 – Some Basics

Resume Writing 101 - The Job Window

Keep it updated.

The perfect job has come up! You’re so excited. It matches your qualifications and experiences perfectly. Finally after all your searching here it is! You’re going to send your resume off immediately!! Except – your resume is not up-to-date. Ahhhrrrrgggh.

Note to self and anyone else out there who is looking for a job or planning on a career change: Keep your resume updated. Even if you don’t go in and consistently add to your resume, at least keep a tally of everything you’re doing professionally so you can update it easily when the time comes.   And that doesn’t just mean updating with work experience. It includes volunteering, classes, lectures, relevant personal experiences. If you don’t write things down you might forget. If you’re rushing to update your resume because that perfect job is waving at you from across the street, you might forget. The best way to avoid forgetting or losing track is to make a point of checking in with your resume regularly.

Make sure your resume is easy to understand and straightforward.

 Sometimes when you’re trying to impress the hiring manager you may fatten things up or over-blow your accomplishments or duties. Remember the person reading your resume is also reading a lot of other resumes. Essentially they want to see at a glance where you worked and what you did. You’ll have the chance to go into detail at the interview. HR people:

  1. Don’t want to waste time trying to sift through all the fluff to find the nuggets in the center.   
  2. Are pretty good at spotting exaggeration and may not end up with a very positive impression of elaboration weaving resume writer.

Get someone else to read your resume for you.

 You may think your resume is straightforward, easy to understand and completely free of spelling and/or grammatical errors, but most probably you are wrong. You are reading what you’re expecting to read. Mistakes are hidden right there in front of your eyes. What seems very self-explanatory to you, could mean different things to other people.  A resume always benefits from the view of a set of fresh eyes.

Resumes are not one size fits all.

Use specific resumes for specific roles. Tailor your resume for each you job you apply for.  Highlight specific details that will catch the attention of the HR manager. Bring significant experiences to the forefront. Make sure the person reading your resume sees specifically what you want them to see.