How to write your first professional CV and Cover Letter
Think about how many cover letters and resumes you’ve written throughout the course of your job-seeking days. Whether that number is one or 100, your priority should be this: think hard about what the person reading your CV or cover letter actually wants to know about you.
You want your reader (the recruiter or hiring manager) to WANT you. Do away with the gimmicks and chattiness and focus on what matters.
Here are the basics of how to write your CV & Cover Letter:
· Clarity – Straight to the point, please
· Grammar – You don’t need to be perfect, but at least complete your sentence
· Spelling – Nothing looks worse than forgetting to spellcheck your document
So that’s basics, checked. What’s next?
Think about your role as an author and write your resume and cover letter from these perspectives.
Describe your your previous work or volunteer experience and how you approached that role. What was your working style? Were you more of a follower or a leader? If you encountered any scenarios that you think would impress your recruiter, tell him or her about it in your cover letter or resume. Were your methods of handling things better than others? More importantly, write about the legacy you left behind in your previous job. At this point, you want to let the recruiter know more about yourself and what you have achieved so far.
Here’s what they want to hear: what can you do for the company? How does hiring you add value? Or rather, why should they hire you over the other outstanding candidates who’ve sent their resumes in too? Writing your resume or cover letter from this perspective goes beyond what you want, what you have done and what you’re good at. It’s almost like marketing yourself from a different angle: what are your goals and what will you do to achieve them?
Remember to align the interests of the company with your own. Are you doing enough to convince the recruiter? You want to place yourself in a position that interests the recruiter and makes him or her more inclined to call you in for an interview.
This perspective is little more… vague, and flexible. What context are you writing in? Don’t regurgitate anything and everything. Look at the job description Keep in mind the industry and the position you are applying for when you’re writing your resume or cover letter.
What information should you leave out? A lengthy resume or cover letter is usually thrown into the trash but something too short isn’t going to showcase enough about you. Don’t include things that have little or no relevance to the position you want to take on. In addition, take into account the implications of the facts you’ve written about yourself. Are they suited for this particular role?
An extra tip: design your resume or cover letter to suit the role! They will be impressed. If you’re applying for a design role, your resume shouldn’t be a PDF decorated with boring ol’ words.
Basics checked? Perspectives checked? Bagus, you’re now a true communicator. Remember to keep these in mind when you’re writing your resume and cover letter for your next job application!
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