A Step By Step Career Guide For CV And Cover Letter
So you know what job you’d like to do, so now it’s time to get your CV and cover letter looking so good that employers can’t ignore it.
How to find your job
You can also use social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter as well as any ‘work for us’ pages for companies you admire. Finally, consider contacting recruiters who will often hear about vacancies before anyone else.
Sort your CV
It’s the first thing prospective employers will see from you – so make it count. Your CV should be an engaging summary of your relevant, tangible achievements to date, and be on no more than two sides of A4.
Here are some top tips to get you started.
So what information should you write in your application? Your CV should include:
- Personal details such as name, address, phone number, email address and any relevant social media presence.
- Career history starting with your current job.
- Relevant achievements from previous jobs.
- Qualifications and training from previous jobs, starting with the most recent.
- A couple of personable sentences on your interests and hobbies. What you include reveals a lot about your personality, so give it some love.
- References – sometimes it’s fine to put a line saying ‘referees available on request’ to let potential employers know you can provide this once you’ve accepted an offer.
It’s always worth asking someone else to proofread your CV for spelling and grammar errors. One misplaced apostrophe could result in your CV being fast tracked to the bin and it’s easy to overlook such errors, especially if you’ve worked on it for a while.
Remember to tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. Different industries will expect different things from a CV, and the same goes for employers. Show you’ve understood the job description by cherry picking your most relevant experience for the role.
And why not considering showing employers you’re digitally savvy by creating a virtual CV online (use a free blog site such as WordPress or Blogger to host it) or hyperlink to examples of your work.
Nail your cover letter
There’s no point spending hours on your CV if you’re going to dig out the same cover letter you’ve been using since you were 13 (main achievement: Grade 4 Violin). It feels like a pain, but an enthusiastic and compelling cover letter is just as vital as a strong CV if you want to make the cut.
Here are some tips for writing a cover letter.
Your first paragraph should explain why you’re writing and introduce yourself.
Use the next few paragraphs to demonstrate why you’re the best person for the job in a couple of examples, the more specific the better. This is where you can show off your understanding of the role and how you fit it better than anyone else.
Show you’ve done your research about the company – perhaps it’s what inspires you to want to work there.
Keep it brief: five paragraphs max. Then sign off.
The tone of your cover letter should reflect the nature of the role you’re applying for. This might mean that if you’re applying for a position as a lawyer, your cover letter will be serious and formal. A job for a creative copywriter however, may be more playful.
Don’t forget to get someone else to proofread your work before you press send. There’s nothing worse than spotting a typo in your sent box!
By Eva Caiden
Eva Caiden is a freelance journalist living in London. You can follow Eva on twitter on at @EvaCaiden