- State the position you’re applying for and where you saw the position advertised
- Outline your objectives
- Detail how your skills and experience are suited to the position for which you are applying
- Describe the qualities that you bring to the employer
- Finish by reiterating why you want to work for the organisation and how your skills and expertise are suited to the position
- Ensure that you advise your prospective employer of the best way to contact you and provide those contact details
The prospect of winning that dream job is very exciting. You could be just the candidate the prospective employer is looking for, so it’s important they realise that.
Precise communication, a professional approach and ticking all the right boxes will help you make the best impression. Here are some guidelines to ensure you have the best chance of success.
Writing your CV cover letter
Writing your CV
- Choose a layout that’s simple, clear and easy to read
- Ensure the content is relevant to the role for which you are applying
- Pay attention to the submission requirements, ie the file format in which they are asking for the document to be saved
- Don’t waste time with a cover sheet – list your name and contact details at the top of the first page, making sure you have included a contact telephone number (preferably one with an appropriate voicemail message). Ensure your email address is a private one and that you do check it regularly
- You don’t need to include details such as age, marital status, religion or the names of your children
- Use headings to separate your different areas of experience
- Keep your content concise and informative
- Use bullet points rather than sentences
- Record your work history in a chronological order – most recent job first and include the dates you worked for each company (month and year)
- Under each role include subheadings achievements and duties. Your CV is a sales pitch, you need to sell your successes!
- Keep it short – depending on your experience, two pages is ideal
- The level of education detail provided depends on how recent that qualification is. For school leavers, providing NCEA results may be appropriate but it’s not necessary if you’ve been working for 10 years
- It is not necessary to include referees' details – instead, state that referees are available on request. Once you have secured an interview you can then provide these details. It’s important to let your referees know which positions you have applied for so they’re fully prepared when contacted by a potential employer
What to do before the interview
Prepare for success. It’s vital you do your homework on the organisation you are applying to join:
- Visit the organisation’s website and view their mission statement, values, what they do, where they are located and research who their competitors are. Have there been any recent news articles about them? The more you know about the company the better.
- Prepare questions for the interviewer about the company and about the position.
- Try to anticipate the interviewer's questions and work out the correct responses.
- Plan to be at the interview at least 10-15 minutes early. Allow for unexpected traffic and/or parking difficulties. We recommend driving by the location before the interview so there are no suprises.
The more preparation you do before the interview the more successful your interview will be.
- Smile and make eye contact when shaking hands with the interviewer
- Greet your interviewer with a firm hand shake
- Be professional and speak clearly and confidently
- Keep your answers relevant
- Don’t just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’; go into some detail and explain your answer
- Listen attentively and show real interest in what the interviewer is saying
- When the time is right, ask any questions that you may have about the position and the organisation
- Always thank the interviewer for their time
What to wear
- Dress to the position for which you are applying
- Look smart and professional; first impressions count
- It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed
What to avoid
- Avoid fiddling with jewellery, looking at documents, scratching or playing with your hair
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer; always wait for the appropriate time to ask questions
- Don’t be too casual
- Keep it professional at all times