RA Clark Consulting

Volume 3, Issue 2       February, 2009


Cover Letters

For those of you who may be in a job search or know someone who is remind them of the importance of their first impression, often their cover letter or the email to which they attach a resume.  A cover letter is your first impression to a company - make sure that it is professional and well written. The following is one we actually received from a very experienced HR Professional recently.

I am in the early stages of a job search after leaving Company about two years ago and pursuing my life long dream of thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.

It was the "perfect storm" - I learned my daughters were moving with my former wife, was ready for a professional change, had stock equity and deferred compensation to fund some time away and most of all I had dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail for 33 years - since I hiked parts of it as a teenager.  

So I did!! I spent 6 months backpacking from Georgia to Maine  during the spring/summer of 2007 . 2,174 miles - on foot, carrying a tent, food, etc & camping 90% of the nights - while having the experience of a lifetime.

When I returned I learned of my .........................................

My resume is attached for your review.  I am confident you will find that I meet all of the requirements for the position. Relocation can be quick, convenient and inexpensive as I recently closed on the sale of my permanent residence and am spending my time at our cabin on the family farm.

I appreciate your interest and consideration. 

Best Regards,

For some GOOD examples and ideas go to:

From Virginia Tech Career Services http://www.career.vt.edu/JOBSEARC/coversamples.htm

From Job Star http://jobstar.org/tools/resume/cletters.php


What Happened to the War for Talent?

The economic problems that we are all currently facing will not last forever.  According the Bureau of Labor Statistics "Nonfarm payroll employment fell sharply in January (598,000) and the unemployment rate rose from 7.2 to 7.6 percent. Payroll employment has declined by 3.6 million since December 2007; about one-half of this decline occurred in the past 3 months. In January, job losses were large and widespread."   There are currently some excellent people in the job market; the challenge is to have the time and manpower to evaluate a large number of candidates effectively.  Along with this influx of candidates, one of the largest issues to many organizations is how to attract passive candidates in such an unstable market.

The BLS also predicts a very low labor growth rate.  Once unemployment begins to drop we will once again be faced with shortages of qualified and motivated employees.  We have seen many organizations who have begun to take advantage of the current down turn in hiring to begin implementing some strategic initiatives in their staffing and talent related HR functions to prepare for this 'War for Talent.' 

  • Reassessment of the Talent Acquisition function
  • What is the right mix, how many regular employees vs. scalable contract


  • Conducting a Human Capital Inventory
  • Development of better research tools
  • Creation of partnerships with vendors
  • Identification of selection tools
  • Identification of resources to permit rapid ramp up
  • Continuing to train and mentor
  • Developing and implementing a rehire/boomerang plan. 
    Stay close to the good ones.

The war is not at a standstill, proactive organizations are creating strategies to be able to come out of the gate quickly when the time is right.  We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how we might be able to help you to prepare.

Follow These Steps to become an ideal leader

As a leader in your organization, how much impact do you have on its performance?

Probably more than you know. You may have been a leader for many years now, or recently promoted. Your organization may be a for-profit business or a church organization. It may be a not-for-profit community service organization or a local sporting organization. It matters not. What matters is that your leadership of your organization will directly impact the results you get.

It has been said that people get the results that they deserve. If leaders are not getting the results they desire, the first place they should look is in the mirror. What leadership traits are being exhibited? As a leader of your organization, consider the following test: Take a moment to paint a mental picture of someone you hold in esteem as a leader. Focus on appearance, actions, habits and lifestyle.

When your picture appears sharp and clear, ask yourself these questions:

• What specific skills and characteristics does this person possess?

• How does this person relate to others personally, professionally, and socially?

• What does this individual do that elicits respect and admiration?

When you've thoroughly examined the qualities that you feel make that person an effective leader, ask yourself one more question:

• Was this leader born with such well-developed leadership traits?

Hardly. Characteristics like being a good communicator, motivator, mentor, or coach are all developed. Creating an energizing vision, mobilizing teams, and generating commitment are all learned skills.

Now that you have developed a list of qualities of an "ideal leader," qualities that you believe are necessary for your success as a leader, what can you do to attain them or perfect them? Since all of these traits are developable qualities, each person in a leadership position must strive to perfect them. I am sure that the "ideal leader" you pictured works constantly at improving those things that makes him or her successful. That's the type of person they are, because they wouldn't be where they are now if they didn't.

Realize that the degree to which you lead your organization, team, or committee to success lies in your hands.

Your ability to lead both yourself and others will enhance the quality of your work as well as your life. The quality of your leadership not only determines your future, it determines the future of your organization and the lives of all those who follow you.

Leadership is first being, then doing. You must become the person that your position requires. In other words, you must assume the traits of the leader. That is done first by determining what these traits are and then practicing them in every aspect of your life. All of a person's actions come from years of habit formation. Replacing old habits with new ones takes commitment, perseverance, and time, but the rewards will be plentiful. It is difficult to do alone, and that's OK.

It is not a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength when you start to realize you are a synergistic being, interdependent on others for your success. Some people use a coach, some prefer to be part of a team, others have a mentor, and still others use a friend or significant other that can help them through the process. No matter your preference, the key is to imagine the point in time when someone views you as his or her picture of the "ideal leader," and then set your course to become.

Submitted by Jerry Fons, the founder and owner of the Leadership Development Group in Waukesha. He can be reached at 262-513-5944 or fons5@aol.com.

3101 Tower Creek Parkway Suite 420 Atlanta, GA 30339 Phone:(770) 857-0002