Many people find job applications challenging. Having a framework helps. During my Communication Skills Courses run primarily for young engineers we work on the outline and tips described below:
When applying for a job or internship, your cover letter and CV usually provide your potential employer with a first impression of you as a candidate. Writing these can be challenging and the purpose of this article is to provide an outline of how to set about preparing these important documents.
However, please remember that if these are well written, give a positive impression and the reader would like to consider further, the next thing they are likely to do is to gain a further impression of you from social media. So, be authentic but be careful in how you present yourself publicly. Your genuine ‘personal brand’ should shine through and not just be a veneer on the surface!
In this article we are going to provide tips on two important documents:
1. The cover letter
2. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
1. Cover letter
The cover letter should be brief and well thought out.
In order to tailor it to the specific position for which you are applying, read the advertisement carefully and pick up key words that appear there paying particular attention to the job description.
Here is an outline of a typical cover letter:
Opening line: Dear Mr/Mrs or To Whom It May Concern
• Why are you suitable for that position? Motivate your answer providing brief evidence
• Tell them what you can offer
• Thank the company/person for considering your application and show that you are interested in further dialogue
2. Curriculum Vitae
Your CV should provide a potential employer with an overview or summary of the following:
- Your personal information (full name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, street address, webpage (if relevant) and any direct social media links (such as LinkedIn).
- Your qualifications listed in reverse chronological order. Include subjects, distinctions, awards received and leadership or social responsibility positions.
- Your work history. Relevant to the job that you are applying for, emphasise your main experience, achievements, contributions and key lessons learned.
- The experience and skills that you can use in the position: e.g. computer literacy, leadership of teams, language etc.
- Your fields of interest pertinent to that specific job.
- Whenever possible, plan documents to be concise so that they fit onto one page (using normal size font, spacing and layout). People are more likely to immediately read a one-pager than a longer document which they automatically put in the ‘to do’ pile…and often never some back to it!
- The image and professional appearance of your documents is important. Make sure that your formatting is good, your language is professional and there are no errors in grammar or spelling.
- It is usually not necessary to include personal information like dependents, health status etc. in the cover letter or CV.
The above is a general outline providing some tips on the cover letter and CV. Explore further, see what other sources recommend and if possible, ask questions of the person to whom the application is directed. You want to provide what they are looking for in order to create a good first impression!
Prepare carefully and you are more likely to be successful. Good luck!
For more information on Communication Skills courses and other training please contact Brenda personally at email@example.com or phone +27 82 4993311
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