Monthly Archives: Apr 2021

Your Cover Letter

Your Cover Letter

Your CV is looking polished and now you want to start applying for suitable positions.

Where to from here?

Start by constructing a Cover Letter.
You should always send a cover letter to accompany your CV – unless the job advert specifically states otherwise, or you are filling in an online application.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to give the recruiter a brief glimpse of the potential success you bring with you. Your skills, experience, personality and communication skills – first impressions are key so be honest, genuine and professional.

1) Start with a warm and professional greeting:
This person is considering hiring you, so catch and keep the reader’s interest. Your opening should encourage them to think of you as someone they’d like to work with.
If they have stated their name in the advert, then make use of that, for example:
“Dear Mr. Smith,” or “Dear Lisa,”
If there is no name, then try:
“Dear H.R. Manager,” or “Dear Recruiter,”

Please avoid using generic statements like “to whom it may concern”.

2) Then get to the point:
Your cover letter should be no longer than one page, split into 2 or 3 paragraphs. Be both concise and specific, let the employer know why you’re contacting them and highlight what precise skills and qualities make you a good candidate for the job. It’s a good idea to match your experience and skills to the specified job requirements as closely as possible.

As an example:
“I would like to apply for the position of Head of Advertising you recently posted. I am passionate about advertising and entered the world of printing and advertising as an apprentice. Over the course of my 22-year career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the advertised role you are hiring for.

Having been involved in press, print and through-the-line advertising, I gained experience in all the different print techniques and am fully up to date on all the older and more modern printing techniques. This has provided me with in-depth project, business, communication, leadership, strategic and critical thinking skills.

3) Your closing paragraph:
Illustrate your enthusiasm for getting the position and your availability. Then conclude with your name and contact details:

“I believe that my personal attributes and qualifications will be an asset to your organisation. Attached you will find my Curriculum Vitae for your consideration. I am available for an interview immediately, and am able to start on 1 May 2021 as required.

Mr. T. Davids
087 xxx 0000”

4) Check your information:
Before you send, take one last look at the job description.
Review grammar and spelling several times – please check and double check your spelling, it is critical that you do not make errors. This will create a bad impression with the recruiter and call into question your attention to detail, accuracy and professionalism.
Did you address all of their criteria in your cover letter?
If you were the person hiring for this position, would you hire you?
Does your information align with job requirements?

5) Useful tips:
Do not copy and paste your cover letter, tailor a different cover letter for each position.
Avoid repeating word-for-word the information that is already in your CV.
Include keywords from the job advert where possible – this is especially important to avoid being rejected by the latest screening technology.
Make it clear that you are enthusiastic about the position.
Be clear and professional.

Our next article will deal with the application process.

Stay safe.

The Importance of Your CV, part 3

The Importance of Your CV, part 3

With your personal information complete, it’s time to focus on your career history. Employers are looking for candidates who are good at what they do, so concentrate on your professional experience and highlight your good points.

A) Start with your most recent position:
i) The name of the company you work/ed for
ii) The title you hold/held
iii) If you started in one position and moved to another or received promotions, list these in date order
ABC Company
Project Manager November 2018 – Current
Security Supervisor March 2015 – October 2018
National Emergency Assistant January 2013 – February 2015

iv) Indicate your employment dates, not just the duration of employment
National Emergency Assistant for 2 years, rather state January 2013 – February 2015

B) Then describe :
i) What you did, incorporating your responsibilities
ii) Who you managed
iii) Types of projects you managed
iv) Your achievements – this is an important point as the employer must see what you could bring to the team and why you’re the best choice.
Be as specific as possible, for example, if you state increased sales – what does that really mean? Rather say – I increased sales at the company by 30 percent
v) Give short, career enhancing reasons for why you left each position

If there is a substantial gap in your employment record, indicate the reason – as an example: travelled abroad from April 2013 to March 2014.

C) Lastly, you will need to list at least three references. A reference should be an individual in a supervisory or managerial position to whom you reported – not your priest, family member or friend. Do not include your current employer as it will jeopardize your current position.
i) Provide the full name of your reference
ii) Their contact number, many recruiters require a landline number and not a cellphone number
iii) An email address can be added
iv) The name of the company your reference works for
v) The reference’s title at the company
Mr. A. George
HR Manager
ABC Company
011 000 0001

If the specific position you are applying for requires that you attach a photograph of yourself, ensure it is a relatively recent photo. A professional or neat head and shoulders photo should suffice in most instances. Your favourite photo on Facebook or a night out with the friends is never a good idea.

Remember that a CV is a presentation of you, your employment, skills and abilities and is therefore considered a legal document. Leaving out relevant information or indicating incorrect information can result in your CV being discarded, or even worse – dismissal once employed if it is uncovered. Please ensure that the information is always true and correct.

We hope that you have found these tips and hints to be of value, we wish you success.

Stay safe.