More than $1 million in federal disaster aid has been approved for eligible applicants in Vermont affected by the spring storms and flooding that occurred from April 23 to May 9.Since President Obama issued a major disaster declaration on June 15th for these storms in the counties of Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans, over 800 people have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).The grants include $1,050,536 in housing assistance, such as rental and home repair assistance, and $25,820 in other needs assistance, such as replacement of personal property.Caledonia and Washington counties recently received federal declarations on Friday, July 8, for storms and flooding that occurred May 26th to 27th.FEMA assistance to individuals and families may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and families recover. Those who have experienced damage or loss from the flooding in the designated counties can register for disaster assistance at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Multilingual registration assistance is also available. Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY can call 800-462-7585 directly, or 800-621-3362, if using 711 or Video Relay Service. Registration can also be done online anytime at www.DisasterAssistance.gov(link is external) or through web-enabled mobile phone devices at m.fema.gov.The following is a recap of activities and assistance provided by FEMA and its partners:Community Relations: To help identify and assist those who have flooding damage, FEMA Community Relations field specialists have visited more than 2,500 homes, businesses, local agencies and community-based organizations, and houses of worship, and reached out to local officials, the visually impaired, deaf and those with limited English proficiency.Disaster Recovery Centers: Currently, four DRCs are open throughout the state, where those with questions about assistance after the floods can visit with a federal recovery specialist face-to-face. Those looking for the nearest disaster recovery center can check online at https://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/drcLocator.jsp(link is external) or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Low-Interest Loans: The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans to homeowners and renters as well as businesses. Find more information at www.sba.gov(link is external). Job Loss Due To Disaster: You may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance if the storms and flooding affected your ability to work. For more information call 877-214-3330 or visit www.labor.vermont.gov(link is external).Legal Services: If you need legal assistance with home repair contracts, insurance claims and other disaster-related issues, you can call 800-889-2047 for free legal advice. The service is a partnership between Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project, the Vermont Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and FEMA.FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585. If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362 FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail). Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov(link is external) or completed on-line at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/(link is external).
A strong cover letter could be your ticket to moving a step further in getting a new job. This relatively concise piece of information has the ability to place you steps ahead of other candidates, highlight your achievements, and showcase your personality – but no one ever said creating one would be an easy task. Writing a knockout cover letter might even be one of the most challenging parts of the hiring process.It’s hard to nail down just one challenge that accompanies writing cover letters. Unfortunately, many poor cover letters have allowed outstanding candidates to be passed over by hiring managers. While writing your cover letter might be a scary task, doing it successfully is essential to getting hired.Don’t let your next cover letter be a flop; consider these 10 mistakes before you hit send:1. It’s Riddled with Errors. There are many things the errors on your cover letter will express to a hiring manager: lack of attention to detail, carelessness, and even disinterest in the position. Your cover letter deserves to be triple checked for poor grammar, punctuation, and overall structure. Pass it along to your mentor or friends to ensure you haven’t missed anything.2. It Lacks Focus. What are you attempting to convey to the hiring manager? Writing about your professional experiences can be challenging, and it often causes job seekers to create unfocused cover letters. To write a more direct cover letter, consider creating a layout encompassing your main points.3. It’s Too Long. Respect the busy schedule of a hiring manager by utilizing brevity in every cover letter you create. Write short and succinct paragraphs to allow for a more easily read document. Sift through unnecessary details and only present the most beneficial information for the job at hand.4. It Doesn’t Set You Apart. Your cover letter is your chance to leave your mark on a hiring manager. Rather than reiterating what they can read on your resume, use this as an opportunity to share why you’re better for the job than any other candidate. Use a strong, purposeful statement of what you can bring to the position, and how you can positively benefit the company as a whole.5. It Fails to Highlight Your Skills. While you certainly don’t need to highlight every single job you’ve had during your career, your cover letter should talk about your skills and experiences most beneficial to the company. Your cover letter isn’t for sharing your personal life or specific needs.6. It’s Missing Information. Job listings often require certain information from applicants. By failing to share the necessary information in your cover letter, you’re essentially removing yourself from the hiring process. Why would a hiring manager choose you over a candidate who went above and beyond to provide the correct details? Double check the qualifications needed for the position prior to sending it.7. Your Tone is Off. While a cover letter is a professional document, it also gives your potential employer insight into your personality. Don’t rub a hiring manager the wrong way with long-winded bragging. Be sure to leave out arrogance, unprofessional information, and keep the company’s culture in mind.8. It’s Generic. Customization is key in every part of the hiring process. Submitting a generic cover letter presents you as an average candidate. Your cover letter is an opportunity to stand out and truly speak to a hiring manager – don’t settle for generic.9. You’re Not Qualified. No matter how you twist and stretch your skills and experiences, you might not be the right candidate for the position. Applying to a position you’re under qualified for is an all-too-common part of the job search. Keep in mind this not only wastes the time of the hiring manager, it also uses up the time and energy you could be spending on applying to position you’re more accurately matched.10. You Don’t Have One. Just because a cover letter wasn’t mentioned in the job listing, doesn’t mean it’s OK to skip it – they’re never optional. Your cover letter is an important opportunity to convey points you can’t in your resume. Omitting this document leaves you at a fault.Creating a strong cover letter may be a challenging, but it’s worth the time and energy. Leave a positive first impression on hiring managers by going out of your way to create a concise, focused, and customized document.