ln the previous blog I shared the importance of having a great CV for your job application. Now I am going to share some practical tips and ideas for creating an amazing cover letter to go with your CV and application form.
Completing the application form is one of the most crucial stages of getting employment. The level of research and effort which needs to be put into an application form is imperative. When submitting application forms it is important to produce a quality, professional and detailed application form to make sure you shine. It is the first time that you would get to make an impression and try to stand out from all the other applicants.
The main aim of the application form is to show all the necessary information which the employers want to see. Take note that application forms are often long winded and can be quite daunting. The forms ask for great deal of detail and research, so it is absolutely essential that your response is highly driven, full of detailed support and information, and clearly illustrates all your best abilities to enhance your application over others.
Here are some tips for filling out the application form;
- first research on the firm or organisation and their recruitment criteria
- be clear on the selection criteria and try to match your skills come experience and knowledge
- read through the entire form and follow the instructions exactly as stated
- gauge answers to fit the space provided.
- do a rough draught to make sure that you can fit your information into the boxes for online forms. Where there is a specified word count this indicates how much detail is required
- do not leave gaps on the application. If you have travelled for a period of time put that down.
- make sure you pay particular attention to the questionnaire part of the application as the answers may be used in the interview process. It may seem obvious but attention should be given to spelling and grammar to avoid the application being discarded.
- you can always ask a person with experience of application forms, such as a teacher or careers advisor, to look at it carefully.
At our training events we spend a whole day working on cover letters and application forms before they can be sent out to employers by our learners.
Alongside your application form, you will usually be required to submit your CV and a covering letter, so now we will look at what the covering letter should look like.
A covering letter is a written document they can attach to your CV to provide further insight into why you are applying for the job position. This can be given a word limit, so you need to find out what the word limit is in order to construct a strong covering letter.
When applying to a job by mail or even through a website, you will need to include a covering letter. Your covering letter is the absolute first impression on any employer, so explain your reasons for wanting to enter a particular area and why you are applying for the position.
In order for your cover letter to be effective in making the reader want to continue on to looking at your CV, you must have a clear structure. It is not uncommon for employers to read a cover letter and not even go on to look at the CV or job application. You must impress them first with your cover letter make them want to know more about you
Format of your covering letter
- Overall your covering letter should be no longer than one page.
- Keep it professional using a font size of 11 or 12 and never rush to send it to the recruiter.
- Make sure you go over the letter with a fine tooth comb, ensuring that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. If you have the opportunity for someone to you know to go over the letter, take that route. This will ensure that the cover letter is professional, clean and accurate.
The point of a covering letter is to highlight the reasoning why you are applying for the job position. Information that you should focus on within a covering letter is;
- why you have chosen this particular job role
- why you make a good candidate (skills, experience, qualities)
- other interesting skills
The structure of the letter
You can follow the following format when you are writing a cover letter;
The opening This is an introduction and here you should explain who you are and why you applying for the job position. This portion of your cover letter should only be one or two sentences
This paragraph should explain why you want to get into this particular job role and you should explain any experience you have that made you decide to apply for this position. This could include work experience, both paid and unpaid. By providing this information you impress the recruiter when they see the effort you put into getting relevant experience. You also want to make it clear why you want to work in this particular area and this is a great chance to show off any research you have done by explaining interests. Be sure to provide evidence of your interest.
This the section where you get to pitch yourself to the recruiter. You want to make it clear that you are suited to a career in this area by highlighting any achievements that show you have the competence that they are looking for. If your covering letter is attached to an actual job application be careful to only repeat information you filled out on the application that is most significant. Be as broad as possible.
Here you want to close your letter, referring the recruiter to your CV and stating your availability for an interview.
Remember you must tailor your answers to each application you fill out in a different way. Each job has its own unique style and so what fits for one recruiter may be slightly different to another.
The use of keywords
Using positive keywords and phrases when completing an application form betters your chances of being successful. As human beings, we naturally respond in a positive manner to certain words and phrases and we also react negatively to others. Below is a list of keywords that you may choose to use when completing responses to an application form.
- enthusiastic – I am a driven, hard-working and enthusiastic team player
- dedicated – I am totally committed to my work and have a track record for being dedicated, professional and conscientious
- punctual – I fully understand how important it is to be punctual for work commitments and meetings
- conscientious – my peers would describe me as someone who is highly conscientious in the workplace and who can be relied upon to deliver
- teamwork -teamwork is the foundation of any successful businesses and as an employee of your company I would always do my upmost to work effectively as a team player
- proactive – I am highly proactive person who is always looking for ways to improve both myself and the company that I am working for
- focus – I am a naturally focused person who always decides at the beginning of the day exactly what it is I aim to achieve by the end of the working day. I then go all out to achieve it
- meticulous – I am a meticulous person who likes to check over my work once complete to verify its professionalism
- organised – I always ensure that I am organised and plan for the next working days activities
- persist – if ever I am unsure how to carry out tasks, I will persist until I am fully competent in that particular area
- adaptable – although I am skilled in one particular area, I’m extremely adaptable and can be relied upon to assist or change roles at a moment’s notice
- balance – my balanced view on things allows me to remain calm in a crisis and always perform to the best of my ability
- knowledgeable –I always ensure that I keep myself up to date with work related knowledge and information that allows me to perform to the best of my abilities
- consistent – I am consistent in all work-related activities which ensures that the work produced is to an exceptional standard
- analytical – having an analytical nature means that I am capable of helping the team solve any problems that may arise
- independent – although I am an excellent team player, I also sufficiently independent and can be replied upon to work unsupervised when required
- cooperative – I fully appreciate how important teamwork is in any given work-related situation and I can be relied upon to be cooperative under pressure at all times
The above list is certainly not exhaustive however when completing an application form it is important to reflect yourself in a positive light. This way, potential employers are more likely to accept your application based on a highly positive and professional application that allows you to reflect your own skills, qualities and attributes.
We hope that this information was useful and in the next blog will be sharing advice and tips on how to pass your interview with flying colours.