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How to Write a Good Cover Letter and Curriculum Vitae

A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application. A cover letter is necessary as it gives you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job. 
You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.

Cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The general consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. 

Typically three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page. If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.

Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.


How to write a cover letter

Keep your cover letter brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. It can be broken down into the following sections:

First paragraph - The opening statement should set out why you're writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you're applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.

Second paragraph - Cover why you’re suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you're interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation.


Third paragraph - Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.


Last paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for a personal interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates. 
Finish by thanking the employer and say how you are looking forward to receiving a response.


 How to address a cover letter.


Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you're more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.

Advertised positions usually include a contact name, but if not, it is worth taking the time to find out who the letter should be addressed to. 

You can do this by searching the company’s website for details of the hiring manager or alternatively you could call the organisation to ask who you should address your letter to. Don't be afraid to do this, many employers will appreciate you taking the time and initiative to do so.
If you're struggling to find a named contact you can use a general salutation such as:

Dear Sir/Madam
Dear Hiring manager
Dear Human resources director.

However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact. How you sign off your cover letter depends on how you addressed it.
 If you include a named contact sign off 'yours sincerely'. If you use a general one finish with 'yours faithfully'.



 How To Write a Good Curriculum Vitae.

 A weak and poorly laid out CV is equivalent to wearing a shabby dress for an interview. First impressions count. Does your CV look disorganized and illogical? Or is it easy to navigate and pleasant to look at?

Here are 7 critical design and formatfundamentals to help you create an effective CV that will create an impact with recruiters:-

1.    General Lay-out and design

A good design enhances the text. You can use a vertical double column format or a horizontal one, depending on the text. The important thing is that recruiters should not have to hunt for information. When using a double column format do not fill up the side panels with general lists – put meaningful text. 

There are thousands of free CV templates available on the internet. Choose one that accommodates the text well. 

2.    Margins and spacing

Ideally your CV should not be more than 2 pages. One way of increasing the space you have to work with is by reducing the margins. Large margins waste space and don't look aesthetic. 0.5 inches is suitable. Any more than that is wasteful.

Make sure there is enough white space on your CV. White space is open space between design elements (between a header and a paragraph, or different paragraphs, or line spacing). White Space ensures that the text does not look jammed and crowded - a CV without open spaces is difficult to read.

3.    Bullet points

Recruiters have a short time to go through your CV and will skip long drawn out paragraphs.

Use bullet points instead. Each point shouldn’t be longer than 2 lines. This allows the recruiter to quickly skim through the CV and still be able to identify why you are right for the job.

4.    Font and font size

Use simple fonts. Often older versions of word may not have the fancier fonts and this can lead to problems when opening the file. Times New Roman or Calibri are good - I personally prefer sans serif fonts, they are easier to read.

Font Size : Too small and the recruiter will have trouble reading it. Too large and you’re wasting precious space. A font size of 11 is most appropriate.

Also, multiple fonts and sizes makes your CV look immature. Ensure your text has a uniform font and font size throughout.

5.    Colour

Colour is an advantage - It catches attention and makes a CV stand out briefly. Black and white documents can be bland.

Use only a single colour on your CV. A multi-coloured CV can be distracting and look tacky. Avoid dark colours – Use light and pleasant colours.

Never use a full coloured background. The CV text must always be on a clear white background. 

6.    Bold and Highlights

Ideally everything on your CV is important - and there is no need to use bold to say something is important.

Also, You can’t know exactly what recruiters are looking for and drawing attention to words or phrases that they are not looking for may confuse them and get you rejected for no fault of your own.

Keep the recruiter‘s focus on the headers and your achievements instead of highlighted words. The impact is better that way.

7.   Organized Sections

Organize your CV into sections. It helps the recruiter find the relevant data in an easy manner. Organize all information under the following headers:

Contact details: At the top quarter of your CV, you must have your contact details. Just your name, phone number, and email. If you need to include more put them towards the end of the CV.

Summary: The first section, right on top of your CV should be your summary. A short snippet of your experience with just 3-4 bullet points that tells the recruiter what your area of expertise is.

Experience: This is the most important aspect of any CV. Recruiters primarily check whether what you have handled will make you suitable for their own requirement. Your current job must be the strongest and should be on the first page. 

Keep it brief – include only the important details on what you have managed. Do not include generic roles which do not set you apart or routine tasks that every employee handles.

There is advice out there on the internet that a functional CV is appropriate and when your job-experience doesn’t match the requirement just list functions that match the requirement. This is a bad approach and will get you rejected. The recruiter wants to see your actual work experience; under no circumstances should you compromise on this.

Achievements: Do not club all your achievements. This will make it difficult for recruiters to figure out which achievement belongs to which job. Each job in your experience must have a corresponding achievement section.

Education: This section should come last. Although, if the job requirement specifies a certain educational qualification you may include it in your summary as well. Keep this section short as there is no need to include your 6th grade results. Separate your school, college, technical trainings under separate headers.

What to exclude: There is no need to include your hobbies or references. It just adds length to your CV without adding value. And the recruiter doesn’t care. ==============================================================
A good CV is primarily about highlighting your suitability and personality and making it easier for the recruiter to take a decision. Ensure it is well organized, logical and the text points out to your expertise.
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