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Writing a great CV and cover letter
Your CV and cover letter go hand-in-hand with any job application. They should be written as a package, tailored for the job and complimentary of one another. Your CV highlights the key skills, experience and attributes that you possess and your cover letter expands on the specific reasons why you are best suited to the role, based on the information contained on your CV.
How to write a CV: top tips
In order to create a great CV and cover letter combo, it is important you understand exactly what the role entails and what an ‘ideal’ candidate looks like to the employer.
The job description is a great place to start. Look at the information provided about the client, the key responsibilities and the description of a successful applicant. Through careful research of the company you can then apply the appropriate experience and examples of work to demonstrate your value in your CV.
Tailor your CV
There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to writing a CV. The key is to create a CV specifically for the role you are applying for. Every industry, sector, market, business and team is different and will require a unique skill set. Be sure you highlight your industry knowledge through a CV designed specifically to highlight your key technical skills for your sector: know how to write a CV for your sector.
Include a personal profile
In the executive summary, or personal statement, be sure to highlight the key points you would like to make that are sure to set you apart from the other applicants. If a specific qualification or certain level of experience is required for the role be sure to mention this here.
Layout is key
A clear and well-structured CV is essential. Be sure the most important information is listed first. If qualifications are key for the role then your education and achievements should be at the top, followed by your experience. If specific experience is most sought after, include your work history towards the top and be sure to use quantitative examples of your abilities. A typical CV template will include your summary, experience, achievements, education and references but don’t fall into the trap of stringently following these guides – adjust where necessary. What is most essential is knowing what is really important on a CV for the role and then presenting that information accordingly.
Writing a cover letter for maximum impact
Once you have finalised your CV, your cover letter can be created as an extension to expand on your relevant experience and examples to emphasise your suitability for the role.
Personalise the letter
If you can, address the letter directly to the HR manager or recruiter looking after the role. Use their name and quote the reference number, and job title in your application.
Explain your current work situation and why you’re currently in the market for a new position. Don’t list reasons why you aren’t happy with your current employer. Rather, highlight that you are seeking more responsibility or opportunities for progression.
Talk about the company
Your research will come in handy here. Include references to the company’s history, industry sector and/or the work they do, where you can, to highlight why you are interested in them as a potential employer.
Align your skills and experience
You know your strengths and you know what you are capable of, so be sure to let them know. How can you help expand their team and grow the business? In your cover letter, clearly link your skills and experience with how you can add real value.
Invite further discussion
To close your letter, it is important to reiterate your enthusiasm for the role. Politely invite the HR manager or recruiter to get in touch or make reference to a potential meeting/interview.
If you would like any more information, or for advice on how best to build your CV and cover letter for one of our roles, please get in touch with one of our specialist consultants. Alternatively, why not check out the CV of the future?