Maria Ovdii CEO of UK student writing services provider Ivory Research, explains the ways your CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn bio can be tailored to maximise your chances of gaining your dream job.
Making a career change is a big decision, but the impact of the pandemic has led more people to consider changing roles. The most integral part of landing your dream role is getting your CV and cover letter right, as these are what will land you an interview.
Your CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn bio offer the hiring manager a snapshot of who you are. Start with your CV, because even though your cover letter is read first, your CV lists your experience and qualifications while your cover letter is your first chance to explain why you’re the best candidate for the job.
The best way to nail your CV is to look at the specification of the job you are applying for, highlight any keywords and look at the use of language, skills, and experience to mirror in your CV. Essentially, know what you’re applying for; there’s no point listing all of your skills when half of them aren’t relevant to a particular role.
Once you know what you’re writing, it’s important to make sure it looks professional. How you order your CV depends entirely on where you are with your career – recent graduates should list their qualifications at the top, whereas those with more work experience should highlight this first. To understand this, have a look at the requirements for the job you are applying for – do you need to have any specific qualifications? Or do they emphasise experience more?”
Other top tips:
- Proofread it – spelling and grammatical errors are a huge red flag to hiring managers and they can cost you an interview.
- Keep it short – 1-2 pages is fine, anything more than that is overkill. It’s a smart idea to include a link to an online portfolio or your LinkedIn profile, but make sure whatever you’re linking to is up to date.
- Only include work experience that is relevant – including your paper round from when you were 14 probably isn’t necessary.
- Make sure it looks good. Use a simple font such as Times New Roman or Calibri, keep the sizing and spacing the same (we recommend 11pt) and make sure the colour of the text is black. Sounds simple, but these are mistakes that constantly crop up.
- Add a personal summary as this provides an opportunity for you to introduce yourself. Some jobs require you to submit an application form and attach your CV rather than drafting a cover letter, so it’s important to express your passion for the job here.
Your LinkedIn bio
Writing a summary of your achievements in one small bio can be difficult, but it’s relatively simple. Your summary should speak to your experience, skills and professional interests. It is your opportunity to make a personable first impression and highlight your expertise and accomplishments in a succinct way.
Other top tips:
- Hook readers with a strong opener.
- Call out your specialities, using data to prove them.
- Highlight your professional interests.
- Break up large bits of text.
Your cover letter
Your cover letter should act as a personal introduction and help to sell your application. The contents of it should complement your CV rather than duplicate it, and it’s best to keep it as clear and concise as possible.
Knowing where to start is the hardest part, but who you are, what position you’re applying for and how you meet the requirements of the role is the biggest aspect and what you should begin with. The best cover letters get to the point quickly, so make sure not to go over one page or you risk losing the reader’s attention.
Other top tips:
- Start the cover letter strongly by expressing a passion for your chosen career.
- Make sure it has a clear structure – plan what you want to say and order it in terms of importance.
- Show off your personality and how you would contribute to the wider working community and not just be good at your job.
- Enthusiasm is so important, so try and link your outside interests and passions to your career.
- Be honest, but don’t include negative information.
- Make sure to proofread it and send it to others as they may notice errors you haven’t!
- Include information on how you became interested in your chosen career, what aspects of your previous experience you have found the most interesting, what knowledge and skills you possess that directly relate to the job specification.
- Be yourself – include your passions which display positive character and personality, it’s always important to show you are a team player but it’s equally as important that your personality fits in with your future colleagues.
When writing your cover letter, also remember that yours is just one out of a huge pile of submissions. You need to make you stand out by being unique, so there are a number of cliches to avoid, such as:
- I am applying for this job because…
- Throughout my life, I have always wanted to work in…
- I would like to work for your company because …
Also remember to…
- Establish who you are and what position you are applying for.
- Highlight any relevant experience and how you meet the requirements of the role.
- Why you’re interested in working for this company, in particular, show off your knowledge and what you can offer them.
- Conclude your points, reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for an interview.
One final point to remember is that a clearly written and concise cover letter is more likely to stand out. You only have one page to make an impression on a potential employer, so make it count.
Maria Ovdii is the CEO of UK student writing services provider Ivory Research.