Writing a CV
Your CV is the first part of selling yourself in a way that will convince the employer to invite you to take part in their recruitment process. There is no set formula when it comes to writing a CV, but make sure you tailor it to the role you are applying for. Job advertisements should give you a good picture of what your potential employer is looking for. Highlight your skills and experience accordingly.
Be sure to make your CV clear and concise – one page is usually enough – with logical, easy to read sections. Do you have gaps in your CV? Maybe you went travelling for a year. Whatever the reason, make sure you explain why.
Make sure to sell yourself too – make yourself stand out from the crowd. Again, there is no set way of doing this, but consider highlighting skills you may have picked up outside of formal education or work.
Finally, when you think your CV is ready to send, run it through a spell check and, if possible, get a friend or family member to have a look to catch any potential mistakes.
Writing a Cover Letter
- Just like a CV, a cover letter shouldn’t be too long, usually no longer than one page.
- Start with an introduction – try to find out who your likely hiring manager or internal recruiter will be and address your cover letter to them, this will have greater impact than a generic greeting.
- You should tell them which job you are applying for, then talk about yourself and why you are applying – a couple of paragraphs will do, but make sure you highlight the relevant key skills and focus on telling them why you are well suited to the role. Be sure to also include any key personal skills you think are relevant. Following this, talk about why you want to work for that specific company. This will require some research on your part – to stand out from the crowd, you should know more than is written on the job advertisement. A snappy conclusion summing up the key points of your cover letter should follow, as should your name or signature.
What does the recruiter want to see? Likely not long, uninspiring passages of text. Read through your cover letter out loud. This will help you identify verbose sentences that can be rewritten and will help you check the sense of your writing. Express yourself clearly, avoid long statements of a generalist nature, keeping your sentences straightforward and concise.
And just like your CV, run your cover letter through a spell check and friend or family member.
Whether your interview is by phone or in person, make sure you do your research – find out as much as you can about your potential new employer; ensure you’ve read the job description properly; and make sure you are familiar with your own CV and cover letter. You will be asked questions such as why you are applying for that role, what you know about the company, and to talk about yourself, so practice some potential answers. Make sure you have questions for your interviewer too, it will show your interest. Above all look and act professional. If it is a phone interview, don’t sit in a noisy pub and wait for the call, find yourself a quiet space. If it is a face-to-face interview, make sure you dress appropriately and give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue so that you don’t turn up late.
Don’t be afraid to call your interviewer or recruiter after the interview to check on the process, this shows you’re keen. Ask them in the interview when you can expect to hear from them and plan your call or contact accordingly.