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Cv & Covering Letter

Covering Letter

When responding to an advertised job vacancy, whether via letter, email or fax, you should always include a covering letter with your CV. Treat it as a vital part of your personal marketing literature, which merits attention and consideration. A cover letter introduces you and your CV and is your first and possibly only chance to make a good impression with your prospective employer. The objective is to entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other applicants.

Appearance and layout

Ensure your letter is neatly and clearly presented with no grammatical or spelling errors. Emails should be written in a common font with standard formatting and should emulate a handwritten letter in terms of style.Content

The content of your covering letter should be brief and structured, avoid lengthy repetition of information covered in your CV. Unlike a CV, it is acceptable to write a covering letter in the first person. In particular pay attention to the following points:

  • Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advert. Avoid Sir or Madam if possible.
  • If you are replying to an advert, say so. Mention job title, any reference number and where and when you saw it.
  • In some cases an advert will indicate a more substantial letter is required. Always follow a specific instruction and include any information if it is particularly requested, for example, current salary.
  • Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change. Include current or last job, qualifications and professional and academic training, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organisation or job applied for.
  • Tell the potential employer a little about themselves to demonstrate you have properly read the advert and that you have done some research into the organisation. Also, state why you are interested in them as an employer.
  • You need to succinctly emphasize why an employer may want to meet and employ you. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility; what you can contribute and what makes you different. Mention personality traits relevant to the role applied for, taking care not to appear too subjective.
  • Ensure the letter flows freely however and does not slavishly match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.
  • Negative information of any sort should be avoided in your covering letter as well as CV.
  • Close your letter with a polite expression of interest in further dialogue with the recruiter. Do mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss your suitability further at an interview and that you await a response in due course.

Curriculum Vitae

There is no single way to construct a CV; it is your document and can be structured and presented as you wish, however to ensure it resonates with prospective employers GEM have developed a range of guidelines which if followed will ensure your CV stands out from the crowd.

What information should a CV include?

  • Personal Details: Most CVs start with these but take care to avoid superfluous details, such as religious affiliation, children's names and so on.
  • Education & Qualifications: Take care to include the names of institutions and present by most recent first i.e. university before school results.
  • Work Experience: The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological CV. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with most recent. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis/information should be put on more recent jobs.
  • Skills: Include computer skills and (genuine) foreign language skills and any other recent training/development that is relevant to the role applied for.
  • Hobbies & Interests: Keep this section short.
  • Referees: These can simply be 'Available on request'.

The order in which you present these and the emphasis which you give to each one will depend on what you are applying for and what you have to offer. Why not contact one of our specialist consultants for one on one advice in preparing your cv.


General Tips

  • When compiling a CV it is worth remembering that this will create the first impression of you to the recruiter, so it has to convince the person reading it that your application has merit and should be progressed further.
  • Your CV should be laser-printed in black ink using a plain typeface, on good quality A4 white/cream paper. Decorative borders are not necessary, nor is photographs of yourself.
  • There is a common misconception that your CV should not be longer than two pages; however the length of your CV will reflect the amount of experience that you have. More emphasis should be placed on your most recent roles as these are likely to be more relevant to the post you are applying for. If your CV is too long, a consultant may miss an important piece of information or struggle to determine your suitability because of the amount of information to wade through.
  • Don't try to make the information fit onto two pages for the sake of it, however bear in mind that the longer you make your CV the higher the chance that the recruiter will miss an important piece of information as it is hidden amongst so much other information.
  • A CV should be tailored to each job application, to highlight your experience relevant to that particular role.
  • The completed CV needs to be checked carefully for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes and to ensure that it makes sense. Ask an 'independent' party to review the whole document before it is sent out.
  • Gaps in career history should be explained and falsehoods and inaccuracies avoided at all costs.
  • There is no reason to include your reasons for leaving each job on your CV, but be prepared to answer these questions in your interview.
  • Bullet points should be used to prevent use of lengthy sentences and paragraphs.