Cover Letters

There is no need to write more than one single page for a covering letter. Your resume will contain your work history, so focus instead on why you are applying, and perhaps why you feel you are suitable for the role.  If you are willing to move, this is your opportunity to let us know.

It is critical that you write a new cover letter every time you apply for a job, as each role will be slightly different that the one before; Do some research first.  Before you write your letter, Google the prospective employer, make yourself familiar with what product or service they supply.  Indicating that you understand their business in your cover letter will encourage the reader to look more closely at your CV.

Ensure sure that you have addressed the letter to the correct person and that their name is spelled correctly, (and while we are at it, all other words too).   Make sure that the date is correct and of course, that your contact information is right.  As with your resume – Proof read your letter.  Then re-read it.   Then get someone else to check it for you. Make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and ensure the information supplied is correct.

Resumes

Here are six simple resume tips to keep in mind.

  1. Brief is best – Place more importance on more details about your current or recent jobs, and less about the past
  2. Use clear, straightforward language – make sure everyone can understand it
  3. Formatting is important; Use one font and font size.  If you wish to emphasise a particular point, highlight it in bold.
  4. Put your personal details (name, address, contact number and email) at the start of your CV
  5. When talking about specific skills, make sure they are relevant to the job you’re applying for
  6. Make sure that you write clearly and concisely.  It is VITAL that you make sure that the grammar is correct and the spelling is accurate.

How you list and describe your previous job experience is important:

There are certain key points that need to be included for every position you have previously held. They are:

  • Company name
  • Position held
  • Start date and end date
  • Brief description of responsibilities
  • Any achievements, especially if they are relevant and can benefit your next employer

Relevance counts:

Everything you put on your resume should have relevance to the role you are applying for. Include details, and how those details will assist a future employer.

  • Don’t just write:
  • “I possess superior supervisory skills.”
  • Write something like:  “My superior supervisory skills are demonstrated by (Task) which ultimately proved to be invaluable to (employer) because …

Give examples:

If you are including results or outcomes that you have achieved in your previous role (s), you need to qualify these.  That is, show HOW you achieved them, and WHAT they were exactly.

For example:
Instead of the statement – “I increased productivity by 20%.”

Write something like:
“I noticed that there was some double handling in (department).  Through discussion with my supervisor we made some changes, which ultimately increased output, and therefore, productivity by 20%”

Different jobs, different versions:

The jobs that you go for might all be in the same field, and the employers might all be similar types of people. But there are always going to be some little differences each time.

Before you hit ‘save’, and again before you hit send:

Proof read your CV.  Then re-read it.   Then get someone else to check it for you. Make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and ensure the information supplied is correct.

The Interview

Make sure you are on time.  In fact, aim to be 5 – 10 minutes early. It is much better to be early and sitting in reception for a while, than to be running late

Try to think about some of the questions you might be asked. Common questions can be worded in any number of ways, but may include:

  • Asking for examples of using your initiative, or a time you worked under pressure
  • Why did you , or why are you are leaving  your previous employment
  • It is highly likely you will also be asked about your biggest strength and biggest weakness
  • You may also be asked about your interest in the role, and why you think you are a good fit for it.

It is also important that you are neatly dressed and groomed appropriately.   Now, we are not saying a suit is required for every type of job and for every interview situation, but tracksuit pants, shorts and thongs are NEVER a good look for an interview.   Also remember that when you meet the person who will be interviewing you to smile and shake hands firmly.

Try to be confident in your demeanor – however, if you’re nervous, it is sometimes best to just be honest and tell the interviewer.  We understand that attending an interview can be a quite stressful situation; after all, it’s not every day that you have to try to sell yourself.  Some interviewers will try to put you at ease by starting with some small talk.  By all means use this to ease your way into the interview, but only if the interviewer initiates it.  It is always best to follow the lead of the interviewer to set the pace of the interview.

Say thank you

Good manners go a long way – and sometimes this is what will make you stand out.  At the end of your interview, thank your interviewer for their time (and mean it)

 

Things to avoid

 

  • Being over-friendly/too familiar with your interviewer
  • Not listening to the questions properly – This is your opportunity to show how alert and willing you are to work, or how excited you are by the position you are talking about.  By fully listening, you are fully engaging with your interviewer
  • Being poorly prepared.  Make sure you know what role you are being interviewed for, and who to ask for when you arrive.  If you have been asked to supply qualifications /licenses etc, have them ready.  In fact offer them before having to be asked.
  • Slouching does nothing for your posture, and you will look and feel more confident with your shoulders back and spine straight.
    Impoliteness.  Being rude is never acceptable.  This includes interactions with any front office or other staff you may meet along the way.  Remember, your suitability is being assessed from the minute you arrive.  And, you never know who you might be addressing.
  • Lying – You will get caught out with lies.  Either at interview or reference stage.  Interviewers are also detectives.
  • Lack of energy or enthusiasm. Again, your interviewer needs to see that you want the job

 

One Last Tip

  • Prepare
  • Prepare
  • Prepare