A popular adage goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." An even more popular adage goes, "Don't judge a candidate by their cover letter." Just kidding. That's not popular, that's not an adage, and it's not even correct. Your cover letter will be your first impression to your potential employer, and of course they will judge you for it. So make sure it's phenomenal. Here's how.

1. Nix, "To Whom it May Concern"

"To Whom it May Concern" might just be the 5 most uninspired words in the American-English lexicon. Your cover letter "may" not even concern anyone if it opens with this tired and lazy salutation. Instead, find out an actual living, breathing human being to which to address your cover letter. With a few seconds of research, you can likely come up with a name of someone in the department to which you're applying. Someone who may very well be concerned.

And according to Vicki Salemi at U.S. News, it's best to start at the top: "If you're pursuing a job in human resources and the company clearly lists the name of the chief HR executive in charge, go ahead and address the letter to that person. Will the executive be the first person to open the cover letter in the applicant tracking system? Not exactly. Will it look like you did your homework? You bet."

2. Show off that you know about the company.

Having a generic cover letter that you can send out to the masses is a good place to start, but you should never send out a generic cover letter before you spice it up with company-specific details. The HR department doesn't care that you are qualified for "a" job in your field, but that you are qualified for "the" job that they are seeking. Research about the company, and present to them why you want to work there. Also, make sure it's the right company. We can't tell you how many times we've seen cover letters that are addressed to people in a completely different company. That's embarrassing, and a surefire way to get it thrown in physical (or metaphorical) trash. Make sure that you cater your skills to appeal to those mentioned in the job description. Be relevant, and only include information that can benefit your eligibility for this job.

3. Don't rehash your résumé.

Get right to the point. No one cares to read what they can already find out from your résumé. Your cover letter is an opportunity to show your human voice, so show your diligent personality without going overboard. Focus on skills, communications, and relationships you've built in your professional life. Tell a story. Give your potential employers the relevant context that explains why you would be the ideal candidate at this point in time. Be brief, yet substantial.

4. Use power words.

Instead of using words such as "organized" and "hard-working," like any good employer would already expect you to be, according to career experts, words that stand out appeal to the emotions. Talk about your enthusiasm, passion, and listening skills. Talk about your admiration for such-and-such and how you inspired so-and-so. Use strong verbs such as "achieved" and "led," or "negotiated" and "generated." These are positive words that mean more than just you did stuff and were responsible.

Also, make sure you use the active voice ("I generated leads for the world famous Walrus Expo in Alaska") instead of passive voice ("Leads were generated by me and my team for the world famous Walrus Expo in Alaska."). It's a way to keep things concise.

5. Cut it out with the adverbs.

"I was enormously instrumental in my team's success." Eye roll. Cut out the extra words, and you'll be able to shine that much brighter. The words are getting in your way, and are often a cover-up for not knowing exactly what you want to say. Instead of more words, choose better words, and you won't find the need to make up for it.

6. Turn your experiences into skills.

When you're reading your cover letter back to yourself, see if all of your skills can translate into the domain in which you are applying. Think outside of the dodecahedron. Even your time spent vacationing in Bali can translate into skills. That vacation shows that you're able to appreciate different cultures and practices, for example. Every skill you have can be interpreted through a corporate lens.

7. Have impeccable grammar.

The only way for you to catch all of your mistakes is to print out your cover letter (yes, print it) and read it aloud to yourself or others. And while you're at it, send it around to a bunch of people to proofread it. Even a small typo is enough to get you on some employers' naughty lists. Take the extra precaution.

You're on your way to landing that job, if you keep these cover letter tips in mind. Go get 'em!

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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