Career Planning - Writing a Compelling CV
At Phoenix, we prepare students for the world of work through career planning. On Wednesday 20 June, lots of employers came to Phoenix for a Careers Evening. Many students attended with their parents and carers to find out more about different jobs that might interest them.
This week we will be holding CV and Covering Letter writing workshops to help students demonstrate their skills and stand out from the crown when applying for jobs. First impressions really count, and your covering letter should engage the reader within the first 30 seconds of reading.
- Research: Before you start writing, carry out some research about the role you are applying for and the company. Things to know include what the company does, who its competitors are and where they are placed in the market. You may not be able to find this out, but if not, you should try to find a way to get them to inspire you
- Relate it: Base your covering letter around the relevant job specification. For example, if it asks for customer service skills, demonstrate in your covering letter when you have used customer service or similar transferable skills either in your previous work experience, or in your day-to-day life. This will really impress an employer as it shows a high level of interest in the role you are applying for
- Personalise: Try to find out who you should address your covering letter to. This will really impress employers as it shows you can be proactive and do the necessary leg work
- Concise: It’s important to make your covering letter as short as possible. It should be only a summary of your experience, not a long essay, so keep it to about three or four paragraphs
- Engage: Remember to keep the employer engaged by making your covering letter as interesting as possible. Don’t be boring or go into long rants, and try to keep your own voice
- Type it: It might not explicitly say in the covering letter to type it, but this should be a given. Even if it doesn’t say so, assume that an application in writing means it should be typed
- What to include: Open the letter by explaining why you are writing and where you found out about the role. In the second paragraph, explain why you are suitable for the role. Always relate it to the job specification, then in the third paragraph emphasise what you can bring to the company. Don’t forget to reiterate in the final paragraph why you are the right fit for the role
Finally, it may sound obvious but your covering letter should not be a repeat of your CV. It shouldn’t be a standard letter that you can send out to everyone, hard to read or contain lots of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. So make sure you proofread it thoroughly before sending it out to any employers.