Quick and Easy Tips For Nailing Your Cover Letter and CV

If you're hunting for a job, you will need to perfect your CV and cover letter to help give employers an idea of who you are at a glance, and as a way to stand out against your competition. Here are a few ways you can go about it, and the kinds of pitfalls you'll need to avoid. 

CV Mistakes To Avoid

Unexplained gaps in employment
If you have taken off a year to do voluntary work or go travelling, it's wise to include it. If you have notable breaks in employment, the employer may jump to their own conclusions as to why you were out of work. In many cases, taking time off to travel or even care for sick relatives can go in your favour. You can highlight some of the skills you picked up during this time, and it shows that you weren't just sitting around and doing nothing. 

Including personal information that's not relevant
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to writing a CV is including too much irrelevant information. You don’t need to include the likes of your political preferences or religion, unless it's directly relevant to the job. Employers will want to know your hobbies and a little bit about you to give them an idea as to who you are as a person, but choose wisely what you put here, and the way it makes you come across. 

Poor spelling and grammar
It shows a distinct lack of professionalism when you deliver a CV that has spelling mistakes and poor grammar. Proofread your CV several times and get others to check over it as well. There are even CV writing and proofreading services online that you can utilise, it's something worth doing if the job you're applying for will have a lot of competition. 

Including references
You don't have much space on your CV, as a it should never be longer than two pages. Instead of including lengthy references, all you need to do is put ‘references available on request’, and the recruiter will ask if they need them.

Using an elaborate template
Last but not least, another mistake people make is downloading a fancy template for their CV. Swirls and fancy fonts aren’t going to impress the employer. In fact, they can be more of a distraction and a headache than a plus point. Keep it clean and professional, use standard fonts and keep it in black and white.

Not including all essential details
Make sure you have included everything relevant to the job, for example, the job reference number (if there is one), date, your email address, and your telephone number. If employers like you, you need them to be able to contact you!

What about your cover letter? 

Keep it fresh
No matter whether you are looking for admin jobs, accountancy jobs, or something different, your cover letter must be fresh. This doesn't mean that you need to write a new one for every vacancy. But, you should give it a personal touch, which means tailoring it for the specific job vacancy in question. To do this, head to the company website to find out what the culture is like there, for example, look at this working at Ogletree Deakins page. You'd then be able to tailor your cover letter to suit this based on their company information and what they're looking for. 

Ensure it’s only one page
A cover letter should never be longer than one page. Generally, two or three paragraphs are sufficient. Anything shorter will appear insufficient and rushed but anything longer, employers simply won't read. They will be going through lots of these documents when recruiting for a new role, you need to get your point across without rambling. 

Don’t repeat what’s in your CV
Don’t simply copy things that have been stated in your CV. The best thing you can do is expand on points that are relevant to the job in question, and really tailor these to the job you're applying for. Pick out areas of interest on your CV and say why the qualifications or experience are relevant to the job you want..

Proof it
As with your CV, you'll need to check your cover letter, and then check it again. Nothing looks more unprofessional than spelling and grammar errors. This will be the first thing employers will see of your application, and so simple mistakes could be enough to put them off and not look into you as a candidate any further. 

Adopt a formal tone
Your cover letter shouldn’t be chatty or include slang phrases. It needs to have a formal air, even if you know the person you are applying to. Sign off correctly and add both the company’s address and your own address. 

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