Modern day job applications are a far-cry from even just a couple of decades ago, when applicants were expected to send a CV and attend a short interview where they were asked about their hobbies and interests!
In today’s job market, applicants often face the daunting prospect of psychometric and numerical tests, situational judgement questionnaires and assessment centres.
Whether you’re applying for the Civil Service Graduate Scheme, jobs in the media or occupational therapy (ot) jobs, chances are you will have to go through a long and challenging application process before you are offered the job.
Before you get to this stage however, the vast majority of employers will want to see your CV and a covering letter.
As the first point of contact between you and the employer, it is vital that your CV is up-to-date and contains all of the following necessary information;
- Personal Statement
- Previous related work experience
- Qualifications & Skills
- Contact Information
- Personal Experiences and Interests
- Computer Skills
It is also very important that your CV is targeted for the specific job or career area for which you are applying to make it more personal for recruiters who may have hundreds of CVs to look through. With this in mind, the layout is also important and text should be displayed in a digestible manner with no large paragraphs and bullet points where applicable, for example skills and experience. Your CV should be no longer than two A4 pages; you can adjust margins, font and layout to make this possible, for example using tables with several columns for academic qualifications.
Covering letters are required by the majority of employers in today’s environment and are seen as a way for applicants to demonstrate their writing style and show they have the required qualities and experience as outlined in the job specification. Your covering letter should include the following;
- A short introduction explaining how you came across the job advert and your current situation.
- Explain why you’re interested in the position/company.
- Outline how you meet the job specification, drawing on your experience and skills – why they should value you?
- Mention any dates you won’t be available for interview, thank the employer and say you look forward to hearing from them soon.
Covering letters should be no longer than one A4 page and must be addressed to the correct contact, as well as being easy to read with excellent spelling and grammar.
Now you have the perfect CV and covering letter, you’re ready to send off that initial application and move on to the next stage.
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