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More and more people are experiencing problems at work. Some of this is the employers’ fault, as more and more is demanded, overtly or covertly, from the employees. Requirements have grown from good time-keeping, politeness, dress code, lack of absenteeism, diligence, etc. to very high productivity requirements, no personal calls or e-mails at work (yet being expected to accept calls at home or in the evening about work), a lack of job security and short-term contracts, and so forth. There is also much greater awareness about discrimination, health and safety, confidentiality policies and the like that add to the day-today stress levels of the employee and manager.
I have mentioned specific problems in the workplace in other sections of this book (e.g., “Parents at work” “Stress at work” “Mental health issues at work”). I shall now look briefly at other issues that may arise and be important or significant in the workplace for you.
• Presentation is still important, even on “dress-down Friday” days. This does not only just refer to dress codes; your willingness, calmness, maturity, groundedness, presentation of work, time-keeping, etc., are all equally important. Do you present yourself as the “office clown” (perhaps because of insecurities), or the person who is more interested in other things (including going home) than work? What fundamental attitude do you present with? This is mentioned because, if things are not working out well at work, this is an area where you can quite easily make a difference. In changing how you present yourself, look around: who is generally more accepted, who is not? Does this give you any clues? Ask a friend. Maybe they can help.
Worrying about what’s coming next will make you miss the best times of your life.
Sometimes we get so lost in overthinking the future that we forget to live in the here and now and we risk missing the best times of our lives. Some of the best ideas, greatest people, most wonderful relationships, and best times can emerge during times of chaos.
Some years ago, my wife and I went to India to see her only brother get married. I had been to Indian weddings in the United States, but it wasn’t enough to prepare me for one of the most chaotic but memorable experiences I’ve ever had.
An Indian wedding is an event where people run in all different directions, where time has no meaning, and where horses, strange uncles, and even the bride show up out of nowhere. At the wedding, I was trying too hard to control, to force my own logical, orderly, and boxed way of thinking onto something that is completely unpredictable. I learned a lot about myself that day and have since realized that I never again want to miss the moment in front of me by allowing my mind to focus so much on what’s next.
This chapter and the six that follow it contain examples of excellent and successful cover letters written by career professionals for their clients. You can use these examples to help compose your own winning cover letters.
A tremendous amount of thought and effort went into selecting the letters included in this book. It was our objective to assemble a “user-friendly” collection of the very best cover letters written by top professionals in the careers and employment industry. To find such a source of qualified talent, we turned to our colleagues—professional resume writers, career coaches, career counselors, recruiters, outplacement consultants, military and government transition specialists, and others worldwide.
All cover letter submissions were carefully reviewed against stringent standards for quality, writing style, tone, visual presentation, impact, creativity, and diversity. Only those letters that met our requirements have been included. At the top of each cover letter page is the name of the professional who wrote it. We list contact information for each writer in appendix D, in case you’d like to get in touch with him or her for help with your cover letters and resume.