When you begin applying for jobs once you’ve completed your university education, you’re going to get nowhere unless you have a great CV and an even better covering letter. There are hundreds of thousands of graduates coming out of universities every single year and with global travel being as simple as it is, graduates from different countries can apply for jobs in your home town.
This means that you have to convince your prospective employer about what benefit she or he will get from hiring you. Your CV and covering letter thus becomes a sales tool, but instead of selling a product or service, you’re selling yourself.
In this article, we’ll give you a couple of tips for creating the most attractive CV and cover letter.
Your cover letter goes into the body of the email that you’ll be sending either the potential employer or recruiter. This has got to show a couple of things:
- Who you are,
- What your qualifications are,
- What are your best attributes, and
- Why you would be a great fit for the company.
When advertising for a job, people get lots of CVs and because they’re trying to find candidates in a hurry, they don’t have time to look through every single CV. They’ll glance at what you’ve written in the body of the email and if they’re interested in something that is there, more than likely they’ll open your attachment.
So, don’t leave this blank or – even worse – make a spelling or grammatical mistake in the body as the quality of your cover letter could make or break your application.
In terms of your CV, err on the side of giving as little biographical information as possible. Only give that which is relevant to the job that you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a work-from-home programmer, don’t include the fact that you have a drivers licence as this is irrelevant information. However, if you’re applying for a job that specifically requires you to have such a licence, then put it in.
The goal of the CV is to make it as short as possible, but informative too, like when marketing companies use the words sign up to play or play now. A rule of thumb is to make it two pages.
A challenge that many university students face is that they don’t have much relevant work experience to put on their CVs. Don’t worry – if someone knows that they are hiring a university graduate they won’t be expecting you to have worked for years in a corporate environment. However, when they do want to see are instances in which you’ve displayed skills that they want in their company. Thus, if you were elected as the student union representative for three years running, put this into your CV as this will show whoever is reading it that you are comfortable in a leadership role.
Don’t make your CV and cover letter generic. In addition, don’t get someone else to write it. This is an expression of you, so make sure that it does you justice.