CAREER EXPERT feat Chris Mead | Issue 65 of HEADHUNT
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!
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
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:
One A4 page, well spaced
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.
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.
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.
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.