Crafting a CV and Covering Letter with Style

In that stereotypical emotional state of the stiff upper lipped British, it’s always been a bit of a national trait to undersell ourselves. Where the confident Americans exceed in the world of bragging and positivity, over in the slightly dourer British Isles, to crow about ourselves has always been viewed as a bad thing.

Indeed, in the name of tracking down a job, it might be time to leave a little bit of that British reserve aside and, instead, pick up some boasting skills from our western cousins.

It's not bragging if you can back it up - Muhammad Ali quote
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With vacancies in the job market, according to research firm Markit, now rising at a faster rate in the UK than at any point in the past 15 years, it’s the perfect time to capitalise on your skills and optimise your CV and covering letter to make yourself look like the pro that you are.

So, don’t be shy about your abilities, and make sure you follow some of these tips to get the most from your CV and covering letter.

Personalise your covering letter for every employer

Whether you’re looking for tax jobs or IT positions, corresponding with your potential employer on a personal basis will make you a far more appealing prospect.

If a covering letter illustrates that you have some actual knowledge about the company you’re applying for, you’ll find it much easier to woo them into hiring you.

While dotting some facts about an employee through your covering letter might not seem like much, it implies to a company that you’ve taken the time out to really research them, giving a sense of genuine enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for.

A manager reviewing a CV

Structure you CV logically

Bear in mind that an employer probably won’t labour much time over your CV, having hundreds of others to sift through for one position, so it’s important to give it a logical structure that will be easily readable and simple for an employer to skim.

Generally, a well-structured CV will, at the bear minimum, contain your name and contact details, move onto your qualifications, then detail your work history.

But, as Shakespeare infamously stated, “Brevity is the soul of wit”, so keep the details minimal, preferably under two pages long, and cut out any information that isn’t necessarily pertinent to the post you’re applying for – a high-flying finance firm, for example, isn’t interested in the paper round you had when you were 14.

Don’t be frightened to brag

Getting back to the introduction, there’s no need to feel self-conscious about detailing your achievements, as an employee generally prefers a candidate with the confidence to sell themselves, rather than someone too timid too mention their own aptitude.

This is mainly a mentality thing, so don’t worry too much if your first few confidence-fuelled covering letters feel a little strange to write. Before long, you’ll find that you’ve gained the confidence to write and speak openly of your accomplishments, allowing you not only to ace a covering letter, but a job interview, too.

About the Author: This article is written by Nich Brahhanin