You Are Your Cover Letter

Milk Saves Lives in Flint

Could This Be The End of Male Chick Culling?

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February is a month that is close to our heart. As a recruitment firm, we liken ourselves to matchmakers. We are cupids in a sense, as we work hard to make the right matches that result in beautiful client-candidate partnerships. Continental Search & Outplacement would like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. If you feel like you and your current job should break up for good, make sure you check out the job hotlist for the latest animal science career opportunities.

You Are Your Cover Letter
By Jim Hipskind, CPC

Cover letters have long been the avenue most people use to send their resume to a prospective employer. Crafting an effective letter for some is easy - but for most, it is a daunting task. There are some key elements that go into an effective letter, which we will discuss. However, before getting started, I believe putting things in perspective seems to help. I like to draw analogies between things we do on a daily basis that could potentially help us accomplish those tasks that come up on an irregular basis. These generally will give us a better understanding of what we are trying to do.

Cover letters - what are we trying to accomplish and what we do every day that's similar? The purpose of the cover letter is to get an employer to read your resume and "get in touch with you." We leave messages every day with people - the purpose is to get them to respond to your message. How do we do that? The key to leaving an effective message is to give that person a "reason" to contact you back.  The same holds true with the cover letter. So how do we give that employer a good reason?

There are two things to consider when it comes to making an effective cover letter: presentation and execution.

There is an old saying, "You can never get a second chance to make a first impression." You imprint yourself upon the hiring manager with your cover letter. Presentation draws the reader and keeps their attention. Presentation creates an emotion/instinct, whether it is to call the candidate and schedule an immediate interview or to throw it in the nearest dust bin.

The presentation is why your cover letter has to be of the highest standards you can muster. Here is how you get the presentation to scream "Hire me this instant!"
  • Use Appropriate Material
You want to present yourself in the best way possible. You should have a personalized letterhead and use a professional font to show that you mean business. It would also be wise to stay away from abbreviations. Lastly, make sure you have all your contact information on this page.
  • No Errors
I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that the text is error-free. No misspelled words or grammatical errors, please! Even one mistake could cost you your desired job. Use but do not rely on "spell and grammar" check. Once done, proof your letter. Then have someone else proof it.
The key to effective execution is knowledge. Where are you sending your letter/resume and who is going to receive it? What are you sending your resume in for - i.e. position title and qualifications? Will your cover letter prompt the person reading it to contact you for an interview? Will your letter ignite the reaction you desire? These tips will help you get that call-back:
  • Do Your Homework
It is not effective to send out many resumes in the hope that something will stick. Be judicious and exacting. Flooding the market in a "shot gun approach" can be disconcerting when you do not get any response.
  • Address An Actual Person
Steer clear from "To Whom It May Concern." A little detective work will help you discover the name and title of the company's decision maker. You can use social media, like LinkedIn, to find the decision maker in the company. This information may also be visible on the company's website. Also, steer clear of responding to blind ads. First you could be responding to your current employer, and second, you rarely get enough information to write an effective letter.
  • Make It "Pop"
Making it pop is critical and frequently overlooked. A bit of sleuthing will lead you to the company's website and social media pages. Customize your cover letter in a way that will let them know that you have done your research.
  • Tailor Yourself
Depending on your background, you may have a variety of marketable skills. After doing your research, you will know something about the company and the position you want. Highlight those skills you have as they relate to the skills (qualifications) the company desires. Include a couple of accomplishments that also related to the position for which you are applying. Moreover, remember - whatever you mention in your cover letter - make sure it also appears in your resume.
  • The Rules of Engagement
Be concise. Your cover letter should have three parts.
  1. Explain the reason for the contact. Example:  I am applying for, OR I am responding to...
  2. Cite the reasons you believe you are qualified - relevant experience and accomplishments. 
  3. End with a positive and upbeat statement such as: Looking forward to hearing from you OR I will follow up...

Your Letter's Impact

With proper presentation and execution, you can maximize the impact of your cover letter. By neglecting one of these two areas, there is a higher chance of inadvertently sabotaging all of your efforts. Highlight the appropriate skills and accomplishments as they relate to their qualifications. Make the person you are contacting want to know more about you.
If you have any questions or want more tips, please send me an email at If you are currently searching for a job or are looking to advance in your current industry, send me your resume. I would be happy to discuss your goals and help you achieve them. Please note that any information you provide will be kept confident and handled in a discreet manner.


JIM HIPSKIND, CPC, Senior Recruiter

Jim Hipskind, a Certified Personnel Consultant, brings his 31 years of recruiting experience in processing, manufacturing, food and agriculture to the Continental Search team. One of his many strengths includes developing long-lasting and trusting relationships with his clients, many of whom he has been consistently serving for more than 21 years, helping them maximize their staffing investment. Jim combines the art of working collaboratively with clients and his ability to creatively define their business needs and job requirements to identify top prospective candidates.
Jim has been published in the Fordyce Letter, the recruiting industry's top newsletter. He has also been a trainer/presenter at multiple Top Echelon regional and national conventions. Jim's membership in the National Association of Personnel Services keeps him abreast of industry best practices allowing him to utilize state-of-the-art techniques and the finest industry ethics when working with clients.
Jim leads the firm's engineering and production searches.

Jim can be reached directly at (800) 799-4520 or

Milk Saves Lives in Flint
I decided to share this because it is very inspirational. I found an article published in Progressive Dairyman that talks about how milk saved lives in Michigan.

The Flint water crisis has made life hard for the residents of Michigan. In April of 2014, there was talk of water contamination when Flint changed drinking water sources. In the past, they got their water from the Detroit system. However, they decided to change their water source to the Flint River instead.

The water was corrosive and thus, the lead from the city's old pipes entered the drinking water. It was only in a press conference on September 24, 2015, where this was disclosed as research showed elevated lead levels in the drinking water samples. By January 5, 2016, Flint was in a state of emergency.

The Flint water crisis began to make the daily headlines and caused political rifts. Luckily, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), headed by their president, Ken Nobis, stepped in to offer a quick solution to combat the problem.

On January 18, 2016, Nobis and Sheila Burkhardt, the MMPA Director of Member Services and Government Relations, were in a meeting with Dr. Jeff Dwyer, the Michigan State University Extension interim director at the time. Dwyer talked about how calcium, iron, and vitamin C play key roles in blocking lead absorption.

Both Nobis and Burkhardt came up with the idea to donate milk to the people of Flint. Within 96 hours, they had 12,000 gallons of 2 percent milk ready in cold storage at the Eastern Michigan Food Bank. This donation would not have been possible without The Kroger Co. of Michigan donating the processing and packaging costs of the milk and Quickway Carriers for taking care of the transportation costs.

Aside from the initial 12,000 gallons, the MMPA has donated an extra 24,000-plus gallons to the city affected by the Flint water crisis. Today, the city's residents are still unable to trust their water supply and have been advised to use bottled water until the state can replace the water pipes.

Follow #ContinentalSearch on Facebook and LinkedIn for fresh dairy job openings. You can also visit our company website for the latest animal science news.

Rick Pascual, CPC, Recruiter

Rick Pascual recruits in dairy nutrition for feed companies and their suppliers across the USA.  Rick joined Continental Search in January 2015 and has successfully filled a number of searches for nutritionists, sales, and sales management for leading companies.

After completing coursework and a grueling exam Rick became a Certified Personnel Consultant in November 2015, as well as a Certified Professional Recruiter by AIRS in April 2016. Visit his LinkedIn profile for more info and to stay updated with news about recent dairy trends.

You can also send Rick your resume at him at (302) 544-9288.

Could This Be The End of Male Chick Culling?
Ovabrite, Vital Farms' new subsidiary, has partnered with an Israeli tech company called Novatrans to create the TeraEgg. An article in Poultry Times talks about this innovation that can possibly end the deaths of 7 billion chicks a year.

Male chicks of the egg-laying breeds do not produce enough meat to justify allowing them to grow into adulthood. This is why culling is practiced. It may involve suffocation, maceration, and other methods. Aside from the animal welfare aspect, infertile and male eggs can also set companies back financially. In total, egg producers waste $440 million on these wasted eggs.

Ovabrite's TeraEgg was created to detect gender and fertility during the chicken embryo development process. This allows hatcheries to remove both male and infertile eggs before incubation. The aim is for these eggs to be repurposed for human consumption, which is far better than being destroyed post-incubation. This move will allow companies to make a profit out of these eggs, as well.
"The welfare and ethical treatment of animals has always been at the forefront for Vital Farms, not just for egg-laying hens, but all farm animals," said Matt O'Hayer, the  founder and CEO of Vital Farms. "While chick culling has long been an accepted practice in the egg industry, Vital Farms has been working for years alongside industry experts and animal welfare groups to evaluate and identify potential solutions to this practice. TeraEgg has the potential to be one of the greatest advancements in the recent history of animal welfare."

This is a promising development that will address animal welfare concerns in the poultry industry. TeraEgg will be the first viable solution. It works by analyzing organic compounds obtained by means of a proprietary technique developed by Vital Farms' Ovabrite with Novatrans.

If you are in the poultry industry and enjoy reading the latest industry news, follow #ContinentalSearch on LinkedIn and Facebook. You can visit our company website, as well, to view our latest poultry job openings. If you have any questions or would like my help to advance your career in this industry, please send me an email.

Trish Valenzuela specializes in recruiting for poultry feed additive companies. She has filled positions in technical support, sales, and sales management across the USA.

Trish joined Continental Search in July 2015 and through hard study, she passed two certification programs. She is now a Certified Personnel Consultant and a Professional Recruiting Consultant. 

Connect with Trish to stay updated with current poultry trends. Trish can be reached at (302) 248-8242, through LinkedIn, or at                             

Free E-Book Alert

Just in case you missed our last issue, don't forget to download our free e-book, Recruiting in a Multi-Generational Talent Pool. It will teach you how to find, hire, and retain top talent from the 3 generations that are currently in the workforce. You can download this informative book here.


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