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http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/feb2010/ca2010025_4647...

Stay Positive

Play to your strengths. Don't focus on what you perceive to be your weaknesses and limitations. It's a huge waste of energy.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

About Cover Letters

Think haiku. Didn't you hear the whole world has ADD? Since attention spans max out at about three seconds, mention that your résumé is attached and say goodbye.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

How do you get a recruiter's attention?

It's a distinctly unglamorous method but oh-so-reliable. Do memorable work in your industry or profession and we will find you despite your employer's best efforts to conceal your brilliance from the rest of the world.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Second-Place Blues?

If you were runner-up for a position that was exactly in your sweet spot, you have nothing to lose by calling the hiring manager 90 days later and asking how that new hotshot is working out. You may be surprised to learn that she wishes she had gone with you after all. Stranger things have happened.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Tell Your Boss the Truth

Here's an opportunity for an up-and-comer who doesn't have the universe to lose: Earn your boss's trust by saying the hard thing, the thing nobody else has the insight or courage to say.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

While preparing a résumé or interviewing, resist the urge to tell me you're a "highly motivated, results-driven, visionary, world-class entrepreneur." May I decide that for myself, after I've had time to consider your many accomplishments?

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Pull Off a Feat

Getting on the A-list at work is ridiculously simple. Take on a miserable-but-important project that nobody wants or where others have failed … and succeed.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Give Yourself a Break

Come down off that ledge. Please remember that what's happening out there is a reflection of the overall economy. It's not a commentary on your specific qualifications.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Behave Like an Invested Party

At job interviews, show prospective employers you want to add value to their organizations. Act like you're already on the payroll.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Hold Your Own at the Interview

The more you want to be taken seriously as a candidate, the more you should forget that you are one. Imagine instead that you're a consultant and that you've just been paid a huge, nonrefundable fee to attend this meeting.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Make It a Bit Personal

Don't address letters to "Dear Recruiter." Acknowledge the recipient by name, and he or she might actually remember yours.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Empathize With the Résumé Reader

A Few Words About Cover Letters

Cover letters need to be way brief. Think haiku. Didn't you hear that the whole world now has ADD? Mention that your résumé is attached and say goodbye.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Empathize With the Résumé Reader

Think of whoever reads your résumé as an audience, then manage their eye movements. Did someone tell you those horrid little bullets would make it easier to scan? That's exactly why you don't want to use them. Shameless self-promotions, garish buzzwords, and "inventive" graphics are as image-positive as polyester leisure suits.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Be Realistic About Your Trajectory

If you're a dermatologist in Buffalo who wants to pitch for the Yankees, you'll need a wicked slider because even the best résumé won't help. And no, 10 years of accounting experience broken down into core competencies doesn't qualify you to become the next CFO at Google. Putting fantasy on paper won't make it come true. Ask yourself honestly, "Can I get there from here?"

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Advance by Achieving. It's That Simple

Don't rely on recruiters to package or promote you. Seriously. We are not the answer to your prayers. Most of us never even answer our phones. Do brilliant work in your industry or discipline and we will find you when we have the right opportunity.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Make Your Résumé Just the Facts, Ma'am

Write your résumé the way Jack Webb spoke on Dragnet: simple, direct statements in government-style, gray-flannel prose. No embellishing. The number of pages doesn't matter; substance does. Tell your story and get out of there.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe

Don't Jump at the First Offer

Take a lesson from Smokey Robinson and "Shop Around." Avoid jumping into a job where you think you'll be miserable. Chances are there's at least one more option around the corner.

—Mark Jaffe, Wyatt & Jaffe


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