CAREER EXPERT feat Chris Mead | Issue 65 of HEADHUNT


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Dear Chris,

I am currently preparing a job application and have spent a lot of time on my resume and answering the essential criteria. All that is left is a cover letter and I have no idea where to start. Please help!

Thanks,

Sharon

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Dear Sharon,

Thank you for your question. The covering letter is your chance to demonstrate the qualities that set you apart from other applicants in applying for executive jobs so is  therefore a very important component – and often one that is overlooked.

Covering letters are basically an advert for your resume and as such need to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read on. This is  usually done by highlighting your “Unique Selling Points” - ie. the qualities that set you apart. It should be written so that the reader cannot possibly  pass it over without opening the resume document itself.

Your covering letter should complement your resume by highlighting the most relevant aspects relating to the position, whether you are looking for accountant jobs or for a position in the arts and media category. Make a draft, then when you are satisfied that it reads well and will get the reader interested, get a second opinion by asking a friend to review it.

Here is a simple checklist to help you get started:

Length
One A4 page, well spaced

Language
Be sure to make your letter clear and concise. Use strong verbs which demonstrate action and accomplishments, such as “organise” and  “supervise”.

Name, Title and Address
Find out the details of the contact person (including all spelling) in the organisation and address your letter accordingly. Don’t forget to include  your address, phone number and email.

Layout
This includes an introduction and identification of the position. For example, commence with the reference number, followed by your reason for  applying and a summary of your unique skills/qualifications.

Substance
Identify your skills, experience and attributes that match what the employer wants. Look for keywords in the advertisement and address the main  elements. For example the advertisement might say: “This position requires an outgoing person with demonstrated capacity to work in a team”. The keywords here are “outgoing”, “demonstrated” and “team”. Show you meet these essential criteria to increase your chances of an  interview.

Proofing
Essentially you need to draw attention to you and away from others, but not by misspelling the company’s name! Proofing is so important; you  may even benefit from someone else double checking your cover letter for you.

I hope this helps and if you need any further advice please go to www.hays.com.sg or contact our office on +65 6223 4535.

Regards,
Chris Mead
General Manager
HAYS Singapore

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