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CV and Cover Letter

Whatever stage you’re at in your career planning process, our team of Careers Consultants and Applications Advisers can help with a wide range of queries through the confidential, online and impartial one-to-one appointments we offer as detailed below.

Applying for a Job?

Before completing your application, it is essential to remember the followings:

  • Do your research about the company, the career area and the actual job for which you are applying. Make sure you can offer the qualifications, experience(s) and personal skills that the employer is seeking.
  • You must use the right form – some employers have different forms for different job functions. Don’t use a CV where the employer specifies that you should use their own application form.
  • Read the form through carefully and follow all instructions.
  • Keep a copy of your answers in MS Word. When it comes to the interview stage, it is immeasurably useful to remember what you have told the employer.
  • Be informative, detailed but concise in your answers: give the employer the essential detail but leave them wanting to meet you to find out more!
  • Keep in mind the qualities that the employer is looking for, and answer the questions in ways that will show that you have these qualities.
  • Don’t dismiss anything as irrelevant without careful thought.
  • Don’t make lists: “reading, cinema, sport” under “Interests” will not tell the employer anything useful about you. Give details of the extent of these interests and any clubs, societies or achievements related to them.

What skills do employers want?

There has been a lot of research about what employers are looking for in potential employees and typically it results in lists of skills, abilities and work behaviours like this:

  • teamwork;
  • problem solving;
  • communication;
  • time management;
  • IT skills;
  • numeracy;
  • customer awareness.

These skills and abilities are ‘generic’, which means they are likely to be necessary in most types of employment. The way in which generic skills are demonstrated depends on the requirements of the particular job – so for example, while lots of jobs need communication skills, jobs involving selling, teaching, explaining or advocating are likely to need communication skills at a higher level than most.

Essential requirements

Where skills and abilities are essential in order to fulfill the requirements of the job, they are called ‘specific’ skills or abilities. Specific skills might include, using equipment, having theoretical knowledge/degree subject experience or know-how.

What employers want is likely to be determined by business/organisational needs. Taking the example of communication skills further, a firm of lawyers will be seeking good general communication skills in all staff, sophisticated advocacy skills among those training to be barristers, and strong interviewing skills among solicitors.

Therefore, even generic skills (abilities, behaviours and knowledge) are all context-specific, so it’s important to think carefully about the specific workplace that these skills will be needed.

Matching skills to the job specifications and requirements

How you demonstrate your abilities is again dependent on the workplace setting and the type of job. For example, the term ‘creativity’ means something very different in an advertising agency than it does in a transport business.

One employer’s understanding of ‘using initiative’ might be considered ‘risk taking’ by another. For example, in organisations where following procedures systematically is important (such as in healthcare) opportunities to use initiative will be more limited than in organisations that depend upon new ideas and taking a chance that something might work, such as the entertainment industry.

Brushing up your knowledge of desirable skills and being able to demonstrate them at interview can increase your chances of success when applying for jobs.


How to write a CV

No1choices.com has made it much easier for the candidates to upload and edit a CV at anytime and anywhere. It will be a progressing and developing CV. Our recruitment consultants will recommend and assist you to make your CV stands out from the crowd. We are different from other recruitment agency where they would dictate what information to add and delete whenever they think it would suit better. With us, we work with you to help you edit your profile, edit your CV, add a job experience, and add a recognitions, certificate, degree or award(s). The formatting and layer of our website will help candidates like you to stand out from the crowd and sell key experience(s) and skills to the potential employer(s).

Nonetheless, a professional CV should include the followings:

  • A photo, not essential but useful to personalise and a step to help employer remember you from the crowd;
  • Contact details, including full name, address, email and mobile number;
  • A brief summary of your key selling points under profile section, (ideally two to three lines);
  • Professional Skills and competencies – check your target job category and related your skills like ‘communication skills’, illustrate your skills briefly with an example;
  • Work related experiences;
  • Knowledge – educational and, or, professional qualifications, date and related skills and knowledge achieved; and
  • References – two people who can comment on your paid or unpaid work.

It is important that you tailor your CV to the needs of the recruiter and the particular job. Prospects provides excellent guide on CV examples. See which CV suits you better, traditional CVskills based CVacademic CV, and teaching CV. You can also find details of how to write a CV or a cover letter.


Cover Letter

“Why do you need a covering letter?

The covering letter is vital to your CV. This is why it is the first page and not an addition. “Please find enclosed my CV” won’t get you very far.

Your covering letter demonstrates your writing style better than your CV (which is usually more brief and factual).

The covering letter puts flesh on the bare bones of the CV. It points out to the employer the information showing that you have the qualities the job calls for, and makes a statement about yourself and your suitability for the job. It should give the personal touch that your CV will intrinsically lack.

survey in the US of employers found that

  • 9% wanted candidates to submit a cover letter for each position.
  • 8% felt that they were not important (“I don’t have the time to read them anyway”)
  • 4% had no preference

How long should your covering letter be?

In the same survey above

  • 19% of employers preferred a full page
  • 46% preferred half a page
  • 11% had no preference
  • 24% felt the shorter the better
  • The key point here is that it should never be longer than one page long.

Plain white photocopier paper is fine. It’s OK to print your letter on expensive cream or pale blue paper, but content and layout are far more important! Use the same colour for your CV. Don’t use lined paper or paper with punched holes!

If emailed put your covering letter in the body of the email. If you attach it with nothing in the email body it may be misidentified as spam.

Don’t make the employer work to read your letter! 
Keep it clear, concise and to the point.

Try not to go over one side of A4: if it does, you are writing an essay instead!

Use your own words not formal long-winded clichés.

Action verbs can help to make it sound better.

Spell-check and then double-check your spelling and grammar. Spell checkers won’t pick up form instead of from or sex instead of six!

Answer the question “Why should I see you?”

Make the person who reads it feel special: that it is addressed to them personally and not one of fifty identical letters you are sending out without thought or care,

You might include your understanding of the work/knowledge of the company, and how you fit the criteria required. “I have a real interest in working as a ….” will not do: you must say why you decided to pursue this career, what first brought it to your attention, why you as a History student should be interested in a career in finance.

Relate your skills to the job. Show the employer that you have obtained the communicatingteamworkingproblem solving and leadership or other skills that are appropriate for the job. See our Skills pages.” According to Kent University and Prospects websites. For more details, visit their website directly.


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