Your curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter are usually the first things you send into any job application. These documents may seem simple, but there are some tricks you can use to really make yours stand out and land you that job. Here are a few.
CV vs. Cover letter
Before we get into how to write the perfect CV and cover letter, let’s look at the difference between the two. A CV is a document that gives an overview of your skills, education and work experience. It shouldn’t be too long, but it should provide enough information to inspire confidence in your abilities to fill the position you’re applying for. A cover letter, on the other hand, is a short letter that accompanies your CV and “motivates” your application. With a cover letter, you can get more persuasive and really drive home the key reasons why a company should hire you.
Customise your letter
Your cover letter isn’t a “one-size fits all”. It’s ok to use a standard template when writing your cover letters, but each one must be customised to suit each position you’re applying for. Your letter should explain why you’re interested in the position, and why you’re a good fit. Touch on the skills you have that directly respond to the skills they’ve stated they’re looking for. You can find some cover letter templates here.
Use correct language and tone
The language and tone of your cover letter will depend on what type of company and position you’re applying for. Have a look at the company’s website and social pages. Do they use contractions and simple language, or more formal writing? Are they a modern marketing agency, or an established law firm? Use your discretion and decide what type of language and tone suits that company best.
Keep it straight-forward
Both your cover letter and CV should get straight to the point quickly. Avoid adding in unnecessary details or waffling on for too long. Recruiters and companies have to process lots of applications every day, so don’t overwhelm them with too much information. Stick to the most relevant points, and provide your contact information so that they can get in touch with you should they need further information.
Pick a good design
A good-looking CV gives your application that special touch. It shows that you’ve gone out of your way to pay attention to detail and present something that’s visually appealing. Simplicity is key, so no need for any fancy designs. You can use the free templates on your word processing app (such as Microsoft Word or Pages). You can also use a CV generator such as our free CV Wizard, that takes you step-by-step to make creating a CV that much easier. If you’ll be attaching your cover letter as a separate document, keep the font and size easy to read. Avoid adding any embellishments to your letter- simple is always the way to go.
There you have it! Now that you know how to create the perfect CV and cover letter, it’s time to apply for that dream job! For more tips on how to make your CV stand out, read this article. Also, click here to learn which CV mistakes to avoid. Good luck!