Covering letters are, according to a recent survey, seen by almost 50% of recruiters as being equally as important as the CV itself, although most people unfortunately spend the least amount of time on them. When someone has hundreds of CVs to plough through, covering letters set the tone of an application, and should inspire the reader to turn over enthusiastically and read the accompanying CV. Take advantage of your covering letter and maximise your chances of getting through to the interview stage.
Guidelines - Address letter to someone in authority, either the Manager or Human Resource or Personnel or person specified in the advertisement. Phone and get the name of the person you are writing to and make sure you personalise the letter.
· State why you are applying for the position
· Show that you have done some research about the company
Employers look for key words that demonstrate knowledge and enthusiasm
Your covering letter should be typed unless stated to the contrary
Be concise and to the point
· First Paragraph – This should state which job you are applying for, where and when you saw it advertised
· Second Paragraph – Outline briefly your experience, skills qualifications and strengths and say how these make you suited to the position.
· Third Paragraph – Say why you want the job. Your reasons must have appeal to the reader, e.g. the challenge, the people, the products / services etc.
· Fourth Paragraph – Closing part. State your availability for an interview and your willingness to provide further information.
Top 10 Skills / Attributes
Employers look for the following qualities and abilities:
· Strong Verbal and Interpersonal Communication Skills
· Self motivated self management
· Team Player
· Sound academic achievement
· Analytical & Conceptual Skills
· Strong written communication skills
· Flexible and Adaptable
· Problem solving skills
· Energy and Enthusiasm
· Professional Ethics
Describing Your Skills
Your skills need to be linked where possible to some previous employment.
E.g. Extensive experience grading apples while working. Experienced supervising a group of workers in a pack house. Here are some words that may help describe your skills:
ü Good at
ü Excellent at
ü Competent at? Able to do task with skill
ü Able to
ü Skilled at
ü Experience at
ü Several year experience
ü Have ability to?
ü Good knowledge of
ü Good understanding of?
Sample of a good covering letter:
Date: Thurs, 01 December 2008
From: Catherine Johnson [email@example.com]
Subject: Senior Human Resources consultant position advertised on Oxfordtoday.com
Attachments: Catherine Johnson CV
Dear Ms. Smith
Please find attached my Curriculum Vitae for the position of Senior Human Resources Consultant.
I’m particularly interested in this position, which relates strongly to my ten years of experience in Human Resources at senior management level.
I’m currently Human Resources Manager of Smallcorp Inc., and I believe I meet all the essential criteria of the position. My work at Smallcorp has been rewarding and productive. However, I wish to expand my career further, into the consultancy role. I see the Senior Human Resources Consultant role as an integral part of my intended future career path, building on my previous achievements.
The position also has a definite correlation with my practical knowledge and experience. You’ll see from my CV that I have been deeply involved in management and development of Smallcorp’s Human Resources career strategies, including in particular our highly successful Career Path Management and Career Counselling services for staff and management. These strategies, policies and services are very closely linked to the fundamental consultancy element of the position.
I feel that I am well qualified to make an effective and useful contribution to Hugecorporate’s consultancy operations. I have researched Hugecorporate’s excellent record in innovative HR management and policy advisory services, and I’m enthusiastic about the chance to participate in a meaningful role with an industry leader in the field.
Thank you for your consideration of my application. Please contact me should you require any further information,