The T-Cover Letter Strikes Again

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Last week we blogged about the T-Cover Letter—a cover letter style that is enormously popular with hiring managers. Our Strategic Networking volunteer Debbie Mastel has forwarded us another example of how one of our customers used the T-Cover Letter format to successfully find work:

"The T Cover letter is the most effective cover letter I have come across in my entire professional career. It was introduced to me by Debbie in one of the strategic networking sessions I attended at the library. From the time I heard about it, it really did strike me and I know it was the correct formula I needed to grab employer attention. By that time I was around just 5 weeks in Canada and everything was new to me. I was quick enough to change my formats to T letter and also customize my resume to go with that.

Within a week I got an interview at a Big Oil & a Gas Company, and another one at a IT company. I almost got the Oil & Gas job, and the Hiring manager was complimentary of my cover letter. After about 2 weeks I got an interview at DeVry University and now I am working there.

I am glad to say I attended that networking session and met Debbie, where I learned all about the best secret in finding employment—the T cover letter. Thanks to it, I am now working in less than 12 weeks from moving to Canada. I think it’s a great tool and many people should start using it, it also helps you focus and identify your suitability to the job and helps you easily focus on applying for a specific job target rather than being too general."

Have you had success with the T-Cover Letter? We want to hear about it.
Click HERE to post your experiences in the comment box below.


See the previous blog post for more examples about the T-Cover Letter format: The T-Cover Letter.

For more information about our Strategic Networking program that runs on the Third Floor of the Central Library every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. or other examples of cover letters or resumes contact us:

Central Library
Third Floor
403-260-2782
busn@calgarypubliclibrary.com

The T-Cover Letter

by Janice

Debbie MastelThe style and formatting of excellent resumes and cover letters can vary depending on geography and industry and change over time. The T-cover letter is a newer format that is tremendously popular with hiring manager and recruiters. Debbie Mastel, one of the library's Strategic Networking program volunteers, answered a few of our questions about the T-cover letter:

When should someone use a T cover letter?

DM: It doesn’t matter if you’re using transferable skills or an exact match to a posting, the T cover letter should always be used. If you don’t have a posting then you can do some research to figure out what you think the requirements for their organization would be. This can be done by getting old postings or postings from other companies. This style is also difficult when writing a cover letter in to an e-mail instead of an attachment so I recommend people have templates for the letter that can easily be used in either Word format or e-mails.

Do you prefer the format? Why?

DM: Yes, I do prefer the T cover letter format, as I believe it serves three main purposes:

  1. It assists the recruiter, especially if they’re junior and working on technical roles. It allows applicants to clarify acronyms, or similar systems they may have worked on.
  2. When a recruiter is using key words to score resumes. Because of volume, sometimes recruiters rely on systems to rate resumes. According to Right Management, 94% of the top 500 U.S. companies are now using computer programs to evaluate resumes. Canada is sure to follow suit.
  3. When you’re using transferable skills to obtain a position. Countless times I’ve received resumes from people clearly using transferable skills but I can’t make the connection. I remember a colleague of mine once getting the resume for a fellow who groomed ski hills and had mentioned she didn’t see him fitting anywhere. Luckily it was brought to her attention that he might be a fit for a Heavy Equipment Operator position. We ended up hiring him as that but other people aren’t so lucky.

Recruiters don’t have time to figure out where you fit, that’s your job. The t-letter cover letter makes you articulate why you are qualified for the role. This is what you’re asking for, this is what I have.

Would you suggest that any job hunter should use this format for their cover letters? Are there any instances in which you wouldn't prefer the T cover letter?

DM: The only time I can think of that this format may not work is for Academics or people that need to submit a CV instead of a resume. I’m not that familiar with this area but that’s the only example I can think of. I would welcome comments from others if they have reasons this cover letter wouldn’t work for them.

Can you give one or two anecdotal examples of people you've hired or Strategic Networking customers who have found that the T cover letter opened doors that may not have otherwise been opened?

DM: I asked some job searchers to share their feelings about the usefulness of the T-cover letter. Here is one response:

The reason I believe the two-column T cover letter worked well for me in the past was because it was significantly different than writing three or four paragraphs as in a standard cover letter.

The T cover letter was simple to use. First, I underscored the keywords or phrases in the job description’s requirements and qualifications sections that fit my background, experiences, and skill sets. Then, I filled out the position’s key requirements in the table’s left column and aligned them with my matching skill sets or experiences in the right column.

The concisely-worded bullet points in two column format immediately captured the hiring manager’s attention without him having to read longer paragraphs. My T cover letter intrigued and interested him. I was able to zero in on the value I could provide that related to the hiring manager's and position's needs, and, consequently, the hiring manager continued with reviewing my resume. In summary, the T cover letter helped me to (1) focus my reply, (2) save time, and (3) avoid responses to inappropriate job postings.”

March 19: Debbie sent another response from someone who had great success with the T-Cover Letter:

"The T Cover letter is the most effective cover letter I did come across in my entire professional career. It was introduced to me by Debbie in one of the networking meeting I attended. From the time I heard about it, it really did strike me and I know it was the correct formula I was looking for to grab employer attention. By that time I was around just 5 weeks in Canada and everything was new to me. I was quick enough to change my formats to T letter and also customize my resume to go with that.

Within a week I got an interview at a Big Oil & a Gas Company, and another one at a IT company. I almost got the Oil & Gas job, and the Hiring manager was complimentary of my cover letter. After about 2 weeks I got an interview at DeVry University and now I am working there,.

I am glad to say I attended that networking meeting and met Debbie, where I learned all about the best secret in finding employment—the T cover letter. Thanks to it, I am now working in less than 12 weeks from moving to Canada. I think it’s a great tool and many people should start using it, it also helps you focus and identify your suitability to the job and helps you easily focus on target than be general in applying. Thanks Debbie.”

For more information about the T-cover letter:

A template of the T-cover letter: Workopolis Sample of the T-style cover letter.

Thoughts from another recruiter on the T-cover letter: The "T" Cover Letter—The Only Type Worth Sending.


Debbie Mastel volunteers with the enormously popular Strategic Networking program that runs on the Third Floor of the Central Library every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Debbie is a Critical Talent Specialist with Devon Energy Corporation in Calgary.

Hot Off the Press: February 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

ACT: Strategies, Practice, and Review 2012

This essential ACT guide provides focused strategies, practice, and review so candidates score higher on test day--guaranteed. This book covers all material tested and includes two full-length practice tests, an online diagnostic quiz, detailed answer explanations, and more.

New GMAT Premier, 2012-2013

The GMAT is changing in June 2012. The new GMAT will have a new Integrated Reasoning section that will have interactive questions that test a student's ability to analyze and interpret charts, spreadsheets, graphs, and data. This book will help students study for the June 2012 test change and ensure they are prepared.

Business School Essays That Made a Difference by Nedda Gilbert

Most top business schools require multiple essays, and this book is your best bet for acing them all. This book contains actual student essays that tipped the balance between admission and denial, as well as interviews with admissions pros and with students who've been through the process and made it to business school.

Job Interviews for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy

Does the thought of interviewing for a new job send shivers down your spine? It doesn′t have to! Whether you′re searching for your first job, changing careers, or looking for advancement in your current line of work, this book shows you how to use your skills and experiences to your advantage and land that job

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone

Poundstone guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging job interview questions, Zen-like riddles, and other interviewing techniques candidates need to know. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, and much more.

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko—the last career advice you'll ever need

by Janice

Poor Johnny Bunko. He got a proper education and landed a great job but despite excellent planning and years of hard work he's unfulfilled professionally, unsuccessful and—worst of all—completely miserable.

Sound familiar?

Either you've been there (can I see a show of hands?) or, and I hate to be the one to tell you, you will be there at some point in your professional life.

Daniel H. Pink has written a few books on life and career. His The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the last career guide you'll ever need is a fun-to-read graphic novel containing some of the best career advice I've read in a long while (and I've read countless books and articles on career topics).

When the hapless Johnny separates a set of chopsticks to eat his lunch one day, he is magically visited by a beautiful (if somewhat pushy and foul-mouthed) pixie named Diana. (Yeah, that's right, a pixie.) Diana gives Johnny six more sets of chopsticks and with each set of separated chopsticks she reappears to provide Johnny with another invaluable piece of career advice.

Now I don't know about you, but I'd be thrilled to have a brash pixie appear in a flash of light to guide me forward in my career and life. Since I imagine it's unlikely this will happen any time soon, I'm grateful that Daniel Pink created this book.

Johnny Bunko has been billed as "America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga – and the last career guide you’ll ever need," and won a American Library Association Great Graphic Novel for Teens award in 2009. It is the perfect career book to give to any young person (don't let on that the book is a book on career advice, just let them think it's a purely fun graphic novel) and, surprisingly, a fantastic book with career advice that would be useful for anyone at any age, any stage in their career, and any level of English language comprehension.

About the advice? While I strongly advise you to read the book to get more details and a surprising amount of insight (plus the book is a fun way to spend ten minutes and may just include other valuable career advice), I'll post the six career lessons below (with my responses in italics):

The Six Lessons of Johnny Bunko

  1. There is no plan. Huh? So I've been banging myself over the head for years over not having a stong enough plan for nothing?
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. I like this one. I’d be happy to think less about my many weaknesses, thank you very much.
  3. It's not about you. Okay. I don't like this lesson ONE BIT. (But I know it's true.)
  4. Persistence trumps talent. I contribute to the Writer's Nook blog and as we constantly say (truly, ad nauseum): you have to actually write (and keep writing) to be a writer.
  5. Make excellent mistakes. Excellent advice about not being a perfectionist.
  6. Leave an imprint. Well. A particularly profound lesson. As they ask in the book: "Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter?" For me, the most important lesson in the book.

Sound pretty straightforward? These six lessons apply equally well to every aspect of life: Don't take things personally. Work hard at what you love to do. Don't worry about making mistakes. Follow your bliss. Make a difference.

On his website, Daniel Pink has some free discussion guides for teachers or career practictioners who wish to use to use Johnny Bunko with students or in business settings. This book would be useful for anyone to read as a book of career advice or even as an introduction to graphic novels.

As for me, I plan on taking Diana’s Daniel Pink’s lessons to heart. I may even discreetly put a copy of this book on the coffee table in hopes that my kids will accidentally read it. (And everytime I pull apart a set of chopsticks, a tiny part of me might just be hoping a pixie guru will appear.)

Help with the Academic CV

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

We aim to please! One of the Calgary Public Library's volunteer career coaches, Saudah Chan, suggested that we purchase her favourite book on academic CVs, and it just arrived. Here's her review of a book that handles the tricky field of academic disciplines:

For the academic job search novice, The Academic Job Search Handbook, 4th edition would prove useful as a general overview of preparation required two years before completion of one’s PhD, the hiring and application process, and interview considerations. Also useful are the newly added sections of dilemmas facing dual career couples and family planning. While the introduction indicates that its contents are geared towards American academic applicants, it would still prove useful as a generalist perspective.

The book also has delightful new additions including more CV samples, as well as sample teaching statements and non-academic resumes. For teaching dossiers, Surviving Your Academic Job Hunt by Kathryn Hume would provide more in-depth advice, and could also be considered by those in other disciplines such as physical and life sciences, including the summary of teaching evaluation samples provided.

Overall, this book is must-read for those who wish to demystify the academic job hunt, and wish to prepare early on for the next stage in their career.

Saudah enjoyed advising PhDs on the academic job search for five years at the University of Toronto Career Centre as coordinator of the Graduate Dossier Service and her presentations on How to Apply to Academic Jobs. Currently, she continues to assist PhDs with their job related inquiries.

Essential Skills in the Workplace

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Come join us on Friday, February 17 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library as Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton discusses Essential Skills in the Workplace.


Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D.How is workplace literacy being defined by HRSDC?

Today’s definition of literacy goes beyond traditional notions of being able to read and write. Literacy and Essential Skills is the umbrella term used by Human Resources and Skills Development Canda (HRSDC) to define the skills needed by all adults in Canada today, regardless of whether they are working, stay-at-home parents or retired. There are Nine Literacy and Essential Skills:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Document Use
  4. Numeracy
  5. Computer Use
  6. Thinking
  7. Oral Communication
  8. Working with others
  9. Continuous Learning


Employees need to have skills in all nine areas to be effective in today’s workplace.

What is the number one issue concerning employers regarding workplace literacy in Canada today?

The number one issue for employers is finding and keeping employees with the right skills to do their jobs safely and effectively. The Fall 2011 Labour Market Bulletin published by HRSDC reports that Calgary has failed to recover the same employment rates that it had before the 2008–2009 recession. While the province overall is recovering, the Calgary labour market lags behind other areas of the province. The Calgary job market requires high-skilled white collar workers with higher than average skills in reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills.

What are some of the costs to employers for not having employees trained in literacy and the essentials skills?

These can be difficult to quantify since people have lower levels of literacy and essential skills will often try to hide their lack of skills. This behaviour is not uncommon, as there can be feelings of shame and failure associated with low literacy skills. For that reason problems in the workplace can be difficult to trace back precisely to lower level skills.

Some studies have shown that employers who focus on building employee skills can see up to a 15% increase in overall workplace productivity and larger organizations may have even higher increases in productivity. One study revealed that over 80% of employers who engaged in workplace literacy programs felt that the benefits of the training outweighed the costs in terms of increased productivity leading to higher revenues for the buseinss, less wastage and less down time.

What are 3 resources for workplace literacy that employers and employees have access to?

Three of my favorite resources are:


Sarah Elaine Eaton is an educator, consultant and research specializing in adult learning, literacy and twenty-first century trends in training and education.

Job and Career Coaching

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer free 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as: career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620. The regular Career Coaching program offered at four library locations offers further opportunities to access career advice from our experienced volunteers.


Calgary coach and human resources professional Tanya Snow answers some of our questions about career coaching:

Tanya Snow

What exactly does a career coach do?
A career coach can help you to take your career to the next level, assist you in finding a career that aligns with your interests, skills and values, or to make a small career shift to ensure a good fit.

What is the difference between an Executive Coach and a Career Coach?
A Career Coach would typically have clients from all walks of life and would be focusing on career related issues and barriers. An Executive Coach would deal specifically with senior management clients and would look at issues and barriers preventing them from achieving professional and personal goals.

When I hire a coach how much of my time is coaching going to require?
Typically Career Coaching consists of an initial assessment, and then three to five 1-hour sessions, depending on the type of change required.

Where do I find a career coach in Calgary?
The Calgary Association of Professional Coaches (CAPC) site has a Coach Referral Service that can help you find a certified coach that fits your needs.

What is price range for a Career Coach?
Prices can vary depending on qualifications and experience but typically you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 a session, or a flat rate per month of approximately $500.

What do you find personally satisfying about career coaching?
I find it very satisfying and rewarding to work with clients to help them achieve satisfying career goals and to find a career that fits their individual values, interests and skills.

Tanya Snow is a certified Human Resource Professional and with over 10 years experience in the areas of career development, job search strategies and resume development. Tanya is also a Certified Executive Coach specializing in Career Transition Coaching, Leadership Development and Career Management Coaching.

Free (that's right—FREE) Coaching Sessions at the Library

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)


In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer complimentary 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.



Why coaching?
If you're not sure how a coach could help you, read more about the program below and take a look at our previous blog posts in which we interviewed local coaches on the topics of Leadership and Team Development Coaching, Personal Development Coaching and Job and Career Coaching.


Leadership and Team Development Coaching

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer complimentary 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.


Kerry Woodcock and Sherry Matheson, both experienced professional coaches, answer our questions about leadership and management coaching:

Sherry MathesonWhat is unique about your approach to Leadership Team Development?

Kerry: Sherry and I are professionally trained and accredited coaches and specialize in CRR Global's Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching. We use a Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI) approach to Leadership Team Development. RSI includes and transcends Emotional Social Intelligence (ESI) pioneered by Daniel Goleman and others. RSI starts with an understanding of oneself (Emotional Intelligence), moves on to include an understanding of others’ emotional experience (Social Intelligence) and culminates with the ability to identify with and collaborate with groups, teams, communities and other social systems (Relationship Systems Intelligence).

Instead of focusing purely on improving the individual performance of each member of the team, we focus on the performance of the collective as well. The latest research in the Collective Intelligence of teams tells us that the team is greater than the sum of its parts, and that merely bringing together the highest performing individuals into one group does not necessarily make a winning team.

What’s your definition of a ‘team’?

Kerry: As systems coaches we see a team as a social system...

Sherry: ...a set of interdependent people, with a common purpose or identity.

Kerry: Members of teams rely on one another to get results and have a sense of belonging that is discrete from those outside the team.

Kerry WoodcockWhat sort of teams do you work with?

Sherry: We work with teams who want to be even better than they currently are; teams who want to be more positive, productive and innovative; teams that are newly forming or going through transitions and want to consciously and intentionally create their relationships faster.

Kerry: We work with a variety of teams, from small business partnerships to corporate teams. What they have in common is that they understand that developing leadership potential and the collective power of the team leads to an increased ability to create a greater impact in the world. They are willing to have challenging conversations, to push creative boundaries and pursue excellence.

How often and how long do you normally work with a leadership team?

Sherry: We prefer to work with teams for 9 months or more and meet with the team once or twice a month.

Kerry: Change happens over time. Working with a team over an extended period allows the team to intentionally integrate their learning; work through the inevitable ups and downs inherent in making any behavioural change stick; and reinforce the changes.

What are the typical outcomes that leadership teams can expect having worked with you?

Kerry: Typical outcomes may include a team that has consciously and intentionally:

  • Created a clearly defined, aligned, and grounded team vision;
  • Managed effective change;
  • Developed a culture of trust;
  • Reduced their use of team toxins so that constructive communication becomes the norm;
  • Developed their ability to have constructive conflict and bridge silos, leading to more rapid resolution, innovation and productive outcomes;
  • Clarified roles and responsibilities, avoiding role confusion, role nausea and poorly occupied roles;
  • Created a culture of appreciation, positivity and meaning, leading to greater team engagement and accountability; and
  • Designed team agreements that allow the team to hold itself as resourceful and correct quickly.

Sherry: In short, a team of people who are aware, intentional and skilled in their relationship with self, others and their collective team.

What’s the best team you’ve ever been on?

Kerry: The best team I've ever belonged to is my family of origin. Whether to celebrate a success or explore a challenge, my father would sit us down together to seek out, understand and act on the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of each and every member of our family, regardless of age. To this day, and despite the death of my father, I feel a deep sense of security knowing that I have the strength and love of a 'winning' family team behind me. Work wise, I've been part of a number of dynamic partnerships—one of which is with Sherry—where I've appreciated greatly how we've worked to each others’ strengths and belonged to the mutual appreciation club!

Sherry: Teams where my strengths are valued and appreciated and there is open and honest communication.

What’s special about your partnership as co-coaches working with teams?

Sherry: We believe in the co-coaching of teams. Co-coaching offers more value for our clients. It provides a choice for our clients in terms of who they may relate to better, since we both have different learning, coaching and communication styles to offer to our clients. As co-coaches working with a team, we also model being in a relationship to our clients.

Kerry: Authentic, fun, energetic, open and dynamic are just some of the words our clients have used to describe us.

Hot Off the Press: January 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

Poised for Success by Jacqueline Whitmore

In these unsettled times, we're all trying to get back to basics and your competitive advantage depends on your ability to use your emotional intelligence and social graces to take your career to the next level.

Reboot Your Career by Peter Fogel

Peter Fogel will show you how to reinvent yourself and unleash your "inner Entrepreneur" so you can quickly attract more meaningful challenges, be in demand, and yes ù make more money at your job!

Your MBA Game Plan by Omari Bouknight

This edition includes even more sample essays and resumes from successful applicants, fresh insight on 35 leading business schools from around the world, and advice specifically tailored to international applicants.

NCLEX-RN : Strategies, Practice, and Review, 2011-2012 edition by Barbara J. Irwin

In order to become a registered nurse (RN) in the United States graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN test. Kaplan NCLEX-RN 2011-2012 Edition with CD-ROM is the only book to combine test prep strategies with a comprehensive content review designed to meet the challenges of this rigorous exam.

ACT Strategies for Super Busy Students

The ideal ACT study tool from Kaplan, the test prep experts, created specifically for the busy student who wants to get the highest score possible but is low on time.

USMLE Step 3 Qbook

Containing Kaplan-exclusive strategies, new practice questions, and thorough review, this book contains more than 850 exam-like questions, detailed answer explanations, access to a sample online Question Bank, updated test-taking and strategies, and more.

Mcgraw-Hill's Nursing School Entrance Exams by Thomas A. Evangelist

Up-to-the minute preparation for the nursing school entrance exams--from the most trusted name in medical/nursing publishing!

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