How to write a CV and cover letter
Writing a CV and cover letter can be very demanding. Here’s our guide to making it easier, ensuring you remember all the details and make your application stand out.
Five essentials to include in your CV
- The best way to write a CV is to divide the information into small paragraphs – e.g. for personal information, work experience, education, courses, languages, network and leisure interests.
- A good way to start your CV is with a professional profile paragraph that provides a short summary of who you are, your experience, and why you are the right candidate for the job.
- Most employers only skim the CV, so it’s a good idea to list the primary work and educational experience that is most relevant to the position. This way, employers can get a quick overview of why you are the right candidate.
- Make sure you include a recent picture of yourself in your CV.
- Remember to write your contact information clearly, including your full name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
What to include in your cover letter
- Headline: Give your application an eye-catching title. E.g. describe yourself in a few words: “A responsible, creative and innovative product manager”.
- First paragraph: Explain why you are the right candidate and why you have chosen to apply for this exact job. E.g. describe your interest in the company and/or where you heard about the position.
- Second paragraph: This is where you highlight the professional and practical experience you have included in your CV. E.g. describe one or two of your particular capabilities, and how they will enable you to do the job well.
- Third paragraph: In this final paragraph, you can describe your personal competences and give the reader an idea of who you are as a colleague and employee. E.g. highlight some of the words your former employer has said about you in a recommendation.
- The end: Sign off with your name and contact information.
Five general tips
- Remember to read the job description carefully before writing your application. Identify what the company highlights as important experience and skills for the position, and focus on these in your cover letter.
- Before you write your application, it can be a good idea to contact the company or recruitment company and clarify any questions you may have. Then write in your cover letter that you have been in contact with the company. Remember to use the insights you gained when writing the cover letter. (NB: You should only contact the company if you have relevant questions.)
- Make sure you write all personal contact information in both the CV and cover letter.
- Afterwards check your cover letter and CV for any misspellings or typos. Applicants misspell the company’s or their own name more often than you would think!
- Remember to be polite and humble at all times – both in writing and when speaking to people on the phone or at an interview.
Remember that these are only suggestions and guidelines. What you write in your CV and cover letter should reflect you as a person and the position you are applying for.