Experts share their advice on writing a successful CV and cover letter:
A profile section is always necessary: For practically all types of jobseeker a profile section is a very good idea: it gives a brief introduction about you and your background, and gives you an excellent opportunity to sell your application. Include the most relevant and standout facts about you which match you to the job being advertised. Write one or two sentences that summarise your experience, skills, and perhaps a standout achievement. To be concise, merge your personal statement with your skill areas to make your profile even more striking.
Clare Whitmell, qualified business communication trainer
Have structure in your job search: Create a spreadsheet, start with industries you’re interested in, then take each industry individually, and identify employers within the sector. Use job sites to build a list of target companies, and start finding out who you need to talk to in each. Methodically send your CV, tailoring it and your cover letter to the role (or company if it’s a speculative application). It will take time and commitment, but it will help you structure your jobseeking campaign.
Lydia Fairman, HR and resourcing specialist, and owner of Fairman Consulting
Talk through your CV with a friend: A competency-based CV is pretty much what you need for all CVs now. It means that instead of just writing a list of your previous duties, you look at exactly what the employer says they are asking for and you show that you have what they need. My suggestion is go through each one of their selection criteria and think of where you have demonstrated it. It is helpful to talk it over with a friend or coach as sometimes it can be difficult to think of examples yourself.
Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management
Work experience is becoming vital for graduate applications: In a graduate CV you should be able to demonstrate your excellent academic credentials along with some work experience/internships/voluntary engagements you may have undertaken parallel to your degree. Work experience is becoming more and more important for employers when they screen potential candidates for graduate full-time positions.
Dasha Amrom, founder and managing director of Career Coaching Ventures
Write your cover letter in the body of the email: The email is the first impression that you will give a recruiter. Therefore you are going to need to give some information about yourself and why you’re right for the role. Too many times I see the comment: “I am applying for X role and attach my covering letter and CV”. I’d like to see something about you in the email. I’d also like to see a cover letter as well. Emails have a tendency to be seen as having little value compared with a letter. So why not include a cover letter as well that goes into more detail than the email.
Jonathan Burston, founder of Interview Expert Academy
Do your research when applying abroad: If you’d like to work abroad then by all means do start exploring opportunities. However, if you are looking abroad because you think you can’t find work here, then I’d suggest spending time investigating the line of work you want to do, which organisations you’d like to work for, and what ways you could break into the sector. Depending on what you’re looking to do, don’t discount small businesses or startups as a way of getting started, if it seems competition for places at the larger companies is fierce.
Sarah Byrne, online editor, Careershifters
Seek work experience in your chosen field: A good route for voluntary experience is to look at the website of your local volunteer centre. Usually you can select the kind of experience you want – research, policy work, administration, or frontline work. Or perhaps offer the research skills from your degree to a local charity who might jump at the chance to commission a short project and give you more of an insight into social research.
Lizzie Mortimer is a careers consultant for the University of Edinburgh
Oliver Meager, head of the permanent hiring division at Capita IT Resourcing
Key words are essential for competency-based CVs: Key words are essential today, if only to get past the software scans. Don’t spam your CV though by repeating tracts from the advert unnecessarily – you’ll be rejected before anyone’s even read your application. Examples are always good – try to show a good story about why you’re doing this line of work, why this job is the next step for you. Add information which supports your assessment of the key competencies required for that role.
Jon Gregory is a job search, application and interview coach
Source: Charlotte Seager from the guardian professional.