Resumes & Covering Letters
A well-written covering letter can help you to make a strong first impression with an employer. It is an excellent opportunity to summarise your key attributes and experience and convey information that is specific to the position you are applying for.
Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a cover letter.
- Be concise; keep your covering letter to one page and your introduction brief
- Address the letter to the relevant contact listed in the advertisement, where possible
- Refer to the advertised job title, reference number and where and when you saw the advertisement
- Write your covering note in the first person
- Outline the reason for your interest in the role/company application and explain why your skills and experience are relevant to the advertised role
- Customise your covering letter for each role
- Demonstrate a positive and enthusiastic attitude to work
- Ensure that you spell check and then proof read your covering letter thoroughly before submission
Email Covering Notes
Don’t be seduced by the more casual method of corresponding via e-mail. Your covering note must still be business-like and proof read for errors. There is no need to begin your message with your contact details, as these will be in your resume. Try to keep the information to one screen of text and remember to attach your resume.
Here are examples of a covering note (email format) and a formal covering letter, which can be used as a guideline when responding to advertisements or generally applying for a position.
Resumes (or Curriculum Vitas)
Your resume is your personal selling tool. It must present your information quickly, clearly, and in a way that makes your experience relevant to the position in question.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare a winning resume:
Your resume should be between 3-5 pages long and include the following sections:
- Personal Details
- Qualifications and Education
- Key Skills / Strengths
- Career Summary
- Detailed Employment History
- Hobbies & Interests
- Customise your resume for each job by focusing on previous experience or skills that are relevant to the advertised role
- Use clear, concise and active language (e.g., accomplished, created, launched, negotiated, etc)
- Write your resume in the third person and keep pronouns (i.e., I, we, they) to a minimum or avoid them altogether
- List your employment history and education details in reverse chronological order (ie., start with the most recent), making sure you provide the months as well as the years
- When listing your employment history, include responsibilities, achievements and results for each position
- Ensure results are specific and quantifiable. Using numbers and percentages will help to illustrate your successes or the impact you have had
- Use bullet points, rather than a narrative style (it will also help you get to 3-5 pages)
- Keep it honest. Don’t exaggerate your experience as you may be asked more detailed questions which bring out the truth
- Avoid initials and jargons, and write in plain English so that you are understood
- Ensure that you spell check and then proof read your resume thoroughly before submitting it to each role
Layout & Design
- The final look and feel of your resume is ultimately a personal preference, but presentation should be crisp and neat, not fussy or lengthy.
- Use fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial/Helvetica as they are found on most computer systems
- Use good quality, plain paper
Here is a sample resume to use as a guide.