Hopefully, you’ve been reading this column religiously. If you’ve been implementing my suggestions, you’ll now have a stellar resume and LinkedIn profile. Congratulations, you’re almost ready to conduct a serious job search. Yes, I said “almost.”
With fingers-crossed, hoping the answer will be “No,” every job seeker asks: Is a cover letter necessary?
Do hiring managers read cover letters in 2021? Not all of them, but many, such as I, still do.
Whether the hiring manager reads your cover letter shouldn’t be your focus. Your focus should be, why take a chance? In previous columns, I’ve mentioned there’s no universal hiring methodology; thus, there’s no hard rule a cover letter is essential; however, why wouldn’t you want to give yourself every competitive advantage possible?
A cover letter will never be held against you by a hiring manager who doesn’t read them, but for those who do, not having a cover letter can mean your resume will not be read. As much as possible, throughout your job search, you want to stack the odds in your favour of getting a “yes” to move forward in the hiring process.
A cover letter is non-negotiable if:
- the job posting instructs applicants to include a cover letter with their resume (Many job seekers will still apply without a cover letter.),
- if you’re applying directly to a particular person whose name you know, or
- if someone has referred you for the position.
Cover letters have one job—to get the reader to read your resume. Suppose your resume’s recipient doesn’t know you (a likely case). Why should they read your resume over the hundreds of other resumes they receive, many accompanied with a cover letter?
I read cover letters to assess your writing skills, a skill I value highly, and how well you can sell yourself—it’s a critical component of my decision-making process. Call me old school, but I view not having a professionally written cover letter accompanying your resume as being lazy. I don’t hire lazy, and I don’t know any hiring manager who does.
The power of a cover letter is such that it’s worth noting there’ve been several times where I’ve granted an interview based on the candidate’s cover letter, even though their resume was far from impressive. Yes, a cover letter can make up for flaws in your resume.
Most importantly, use your cover letter to tell me something that isn’t on your resume that’ll help me decide you’re worth my time to interview—convince me!
How do you make your cover letter convince the reader to call you in for the interview? First, grab them at “Hello.” Next, draw them into your professional story, making sure you’re coming across as a solid “Yes” to each of these questions:
- Can this person do the job?
- Will this person be liked?
- Will this person fit in? (Are they “one of us”?)
Your cover letter is your first opportunity to explain your value proposition (What you’re able to bring to the employer.) and therefore stand out from the many other candidates just as qualified as you. It’s also your chance to explain the reason(s) for any gaps in your employment and what you’ve been doing during the gap(s).
There are 5 parts to a cover letter:
- Header (your contact information)
- Greeting the hiring manager
- First paragraph (introduction) – Grab the reader’s attention with 2 – 3 of your top achievements.
- Second paragraph (sales pitch) – Persuade why you’re the right candidate for the job.
- Third paragraph (closing, call to action)
TIP: When writing your cover letter, get into a headspace of writing to provide the reader with a sense of who you’re going to be should they meet you (presuming you’re invited in for an interview). Don’t be afraid to convey your personality; it’s your most straightforward high yielding approach to standing out from your competition.
Next week I’ll be covering the first two parts (header, greeting the hiring manager) of crafting a cover letter that’ll get the reader to read your resume. In subsequent columns, I’ll discuss how to write the first, second and third paragraphs. Yes, there’ll be plenty of examples.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at email@example.com.
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, July 22 – CBC.ca
- Ottawa reported nine more COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
- Ontario reported 185 new cases of COVID-19, the most on a single day in two weeks.
- Does your doctor or dentist have to tell you if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19? Technically, no.
- Escapade festival holds pop-up clinic to vaccinate concertgoers before show.
- Volunteers share how it feels to administer 200,000 doses.
- State of emergency has ended in Ottawa.
What’s the latest?
Ottawa Public Health reported nine more cases of COVID-19 Thursday, and no new deaths, but key indicators are on the rise.
Thursday’s provincial case count is up somewhat from one week ago when the province logged 143 further infections.
Some health-care workers may choose not to tell their patients their vaccine status because they value their privacy or have a medical condition that’s preventing them from getting vaccinated, and they don’t want to face stigma, a bioethicist told CBC.
Escapade Music Festival is holding a pop-up vaccine clinic this weekend with Ottawa Public Health, to make sure its concertgoers will be fully protected before attending its September event.
A team of volunteers shared their experiences administering 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Horticulture building at Lansdowne as the clinic closed this week.
After nearly sixteen months, the municipal state of emergency in the City of Ottawa has lifted as of 12:01 a.m. today.
WATCH | ‘It’s been wonderful’: Retired nurse reflects on going back to work at vaccination clinic:
How many cases are there?
As of Thursday, 27,761 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 34 known active cases, 27,134 cases considered resolved, and 593 cases where people have died.
Public health officials have reported more than 50,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 49,200 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 197 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215.
Akwesasne has had nearly 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
Ontario is in Step 3 of its reopening plan.
The latest step allows for indoor dining, with capacity limits based on everyone being able to keep an acceptable distance.
Gyms, movie theatres and museums are able to reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.
Larger general gathering limits have risen to 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events, leading to the resumption of summer festivals and professional sports.
A detailed plan for the next school year is in the works, according to the education minister.
Ten people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports. Organized games are permitted outdoors again and gyms are open.
People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants and bars.
Personal care services and non-essential businesses can open. As many as 3,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and at outdoor festivals.
What can I do?
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don’t live with, even with a mask on.
Vaccines curb the spread of all types of the coronavirus.
WATCH | What the end of the pandemic could look like:
There’s federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.
The federal government has announced fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living there would be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine starting Aug. 9, while tourists from all other countries would be allowed as of Sept. 7.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada’s task force says people can wait up to 16 weeks between doses. There are factors pushing provinces to drastically speed up that timeline, including supply and the more infectious delta variant.
That same task force says it’s safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
There is evidence giving a second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine offers better protection for people who got a first AstraZeneca-Oxford shot. Both Ontario and Quebec are giving people who got a first AstraZeneca dose the option to get a second of the same kind.
More than 2.8 million doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 1.36 million in Ottawa and more than 450,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is vaccinating anyone age 12 or older.
People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.
Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. They offer standby lists for doses on short notice and recently, more walk-in options.
Check out this weeks <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> walk-in clinic schedule. These walk-in clinics are available to RCD residents 12 years of age and older! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/IGotTheShot?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#IGotTheShot</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaccinesWork?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VaccinesWork</a><br><br>You can find this schedule by visiting our <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19Vaccine</a> Rollout Webpage here: <a href=”https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM”>https://t.co/OhXjNC74WM</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9G4mUIHqbT”>pic.twitter.com/9G4mUIHqbT</a>
Vaccine bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units, which generally aren’t reporting the supply problems of previous months.
People may have to show proof of being fully vaccinated to access certain services if there is an autumn surge of cases.
Symptoms and testing
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Recently, a runny nose and headache have become more common.
Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
Staff, caregivers and visitors who have been fully-immunized and show no symptoms of the coronavirus no longer need to be tested before entering a long-term care facility.
Travellers who need a test have a few more local options to pay for one.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341. Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
The last day for Ottawa’s Indigenous vaccination clinic is July 29.
For more information
Wildfires are causing the price of lumber to spike again – CBC.ca
The price of lumber rose at its fastest pace in more than a year on Thursday, after timber companies warned that wildfires in Western Canada are hurting their business.
The price of a lumber futures contract jumped by more than 10 per cent, triggering circuit breakers designed to halt trading. Late in the day on Thursday, a contract for 1,000 board-feet of lumber was going for $647 US, up by more than $60 from the previous day’s close.
Prices are spiking because lumber companies in B.C. and elsewhere are scaling back operations because of wildfires.
Vancouver-based Canfor said it will produce about 115 million fewer board-feet of product this quarter because wildfires have damaged the rail network on which it depends. CN lost the use of at least one rail bridge on its line into Vancouver, and CP is facing similar bottlenecks.
“Canadian rails will … face pressure from wildfires in British Columbia as volumes may take several more weeks to fully recover,” Bloomberg Intelligence railway analyst Adam Roszkowski said in a note to clients on Thursday.
That means it’s harder to move just about anything to market, so Canfor is going to take its foot off the gas.
Canfor’s anticipated production drop of 115 million board-feet of wood is less than 1 per cent of what the industry normally cranks out every quarter. But Bank of Montreal analyst Mark Wilde said he expects more companies will also have to reduce production in the next little while.
“We expect more announcements of reduced shifts/hours over the next two to three weeks,” he said in a note to clients Thursday.
Like many industries, the lumber business slowed down at the start of the pandemic as workers were sent home and facilities idled. But demand for lumber unexpectedly exploded, mainly due to booming demand for home renovations.
At one point in May, the price of lumber hit an all-time high of more than $1,600 US per 1,000 board-feet or about five times what it was at the start of the pandemic. Builders reported that higher lumber prices were adding as much as $30,000 to the cost of constructing a standard home and lumber yards across the country were selling out.
WATCH | Why high lumber prices are going to make everything more expensive:
But things changed in a hurry. Those astronomical prices caused demand to crater once again, leading to inventory piling up at lumber yards as people shelved their do-it-yourself construction plans. Big box retailers in the U.S. such as Home Depot have reported that demand for lumber is down by almost half since May.
“After a year of chasing inventory, the market is now struggling with bulging inventories at many mills in the U.S. and Canada,” Wilde said.
The see-saw went so far in the other direction that Wilde said a number of B.C. sawmills were likely recently selling lumber for less than the cost of production.
“At those levels, some B.C. mills may need a snorkel,” he said of when the price dipped as low as $435 US. “It would be crazy to simply return all that cash to the market by overproducing during a weak market.”
TD analyst Sean Steuart also thinks that more shutdowns in Western Canada’s lumber industry are coming.
“We believe that production curtailments in this region are inevitable, but they have been slow to arrive so far,” he said in a note to clients.
Global outage affecting websites of airlines, banks, tech firms now fixed – Globalnews.ca
Several airlines, banks and technology websites were coming back online on Thursday afternoon after a brief outage, the third such widespread incident noted in just a span of two months, raising alarms across social media.
Websites of Delta Air Lines, Costco Wholesale Corp , American Express and Home Depot were down, displaying domain name system (DNS) service errors.
Some Canadian companies also said that their websites and services were fully operational again after they experienced technical difficulties or outages this afternoon.
Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and PC Financial all told customers on Twitter that their websites are back up after earlier informing people that they were aware of technical issues and working to resolve them.
Monitoring website Down Detector showed a sharp increase in reported technical difficulties on the three companies’ websites after 12 p.m. Eastern time, along with Bank of Nova Scotia and Air Canada.
Cloud services provider Akamai Technologies had given an alert on its “Edge DNS” service incident, noting a “partial outage” on its website.
“We have implemented a fix for this issue, and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operations,” it said later in a tweet.
Oracle Corp said it was monitoring the global issue related to a cloud-based DNS solution provider impacting access to many internet resources, including its own cloud services.
Rogers, Fido service outage impacting many Canadian customers
DNS is a service that translates readable domain names to machine readable IP addresses, connecting it to a server and delivering the requested page on the user’s phone or laptop.
In June, multiple outages hit social media, government and news websites across the globe, with some reports pointing to a glitch at U.S.-based cloud computing service providers.
About 3,500 users reported issues with Airbnb’s website, while nearly 1,500 Home Depot users reported problems, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.
— With files from The Canadian Press
© 2021 Reuters
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