Cover Letter

Writing your Cover letter

  • State which position you’re applying for and where you saw the position advertised
  • Outline your objectives
  • Detail how your skills and experience are suited to the position you are applying for
  • Describe the qualities that you bring to the employer
  • Finish off by reiterating why you want to work for the organisation and how your skills and expertise are suited to the position
  • Ensure that you advise your prospective employer of the best way to contact you and provide those contact details

CV

Choose a layout that is simple, clear and easy to read

  • Ensure the content is relevant to the role you are applying for
  • Pay attention to the submission requirements, i.e. what format are they asking for the document to be saved in
  • Don’t waste time with a cover sheet – list your name and contact details at the top of the first page, make sure you have included a contact telephone number (preferably one with an appropriate voicemail message) and if you include an email address ensure that it is a private one and that you do check it regularly.
  • You do not need to include details such as age, marital status, religion, or the names of your children and pets
  • Use headings to separate out the different parts of your experience
  • Keep your content concise and informative
  • Use bullet points rather than sentences
  • Record your work history in a chronological order – most recent job first and include dates when you worked for each company (month and year)
  • Keep it short – depending on your experience two pages is ideal
  • The level of education detail provided depends on how recent that qualification is. For school leavers providing GCSE results may be appropriate but if you have been working for 10 years this may not be necessary
  • It is not necessary to include written references – you can state that referees are available on request. Once you have secured an interview you can provide these details. It is important to make sure you contact your referees and let them know what positions you have applied for so they are prepared when someone contacts them

Dos & Don’ts

What to wear

  • Dress to the position you are applying for
  • Look smart and professional. First impressions count!
  • Its better to be overdressed than underdressed

What to avoid

  • Avoid fiddling with jewellery, looking at documents, scratching or playing with your hair
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer always wait for the appropriate time to ask questions
  • Don’t be too casual
  • Keep it professional at all times

The Interview

What to do before the interview

Prepare for Success! It is vital you do your homework on the company you are being interviewed by.

  • Visit the organisations website and view their mission statement, values, what they do, where they are located and research who their competitors are. The more you know about the company the better
  • Make sure your CV is in order and you have at least two copies as well as copies of your references
  • Try to anticipate interviewer’s questions, work out the correct responses
  • Plan to be at the interview at least 10-15 minutes early. Allow for unexpected traffic and/or parking difficulties

The more preparation you do before the interview the more successful your interview will be.

  • Have your resume ready with any references
  • Keep a photocopy handy in case the interviewer does not have a copy
  • Smile, and make eye contact when shaking hands with the interviewer
  • Greet your interviewer with a firm hand shake
  • Be professional and speak clearly and confidently
  • Keep your answers relevant
  • Don’t just answer yes or no, go into some detail and explain your answer
  • Listen attentively and show real interest in what the interviewer is saying
  • When the time is right ask any questions that you may have about the position
  • Always thank the interviewer for their time