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Tips to help you write a professional cover letter and resume

05 Sep 2017

Cover letter 

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so it’s vital you make sure your cover letter stands out and is engaging. Here are some tips that can help you create a professional cover letter: 

  1. Don’t repeat what’s in your resume. Use your cover letter to show your personality and interest in the field or role you’re applying for
  2. Tailor and personalise your cover letter to the company and role. Your cover letter should reflect the requirements for the specific role and not be a copy and paste from other applications.
  3. Keep it short. Don’t go over one page
  4. Highlight how your skills and experience are relevant to the role. Some suggestions include matching your skills to the role, but keeping in mind to be succinct or talk about areas of your resume that you’re proud of or are relevant to the role
  5. Make sure you have the finer details correct, such as addressing the cover letter to the hiring manager or recruiter, having the correct company name and job title.  

Resume 

While there is no such thing as a standard format, applying some simple strategies can help you perfect a stand out resume. 

  1. Use a layout and design that looks professional with good clear headings and a large easy-to-read typeface such as Courier or Arial. Use a point size between 10 and 12.
  2. Provide your name, best contact number and email address.
  3. Put your most important skills at the beginning. Think about the three things that the person scanning your resume needs to know about you.
  4. Focus on value, not tasks. This means highlight your specific and quantifiable achievements rather than duties and responsibilities.
  5. Write in plain English, using clear, concise terms. Use active words such as ‘accomplished’, ‘created’, ‘enhanced’, ‘launched’, ‘negotiated’.
  6. Highlight particular personal achievements from any work experience, part time work or internships or even extra-curricular activities that demonstrate your accomplishments or initiative - but keep them succinct.
  7. Put your work history and educational details in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. It’s easier to follow.
  8. Be specific. Use clear examples using numbers or percentages to illustrate your success.
  9. Keep it brief - stick to no more than two or three pages of A4.
  10. Always check for spelling or typographical errors. Get someone else to look over it before you submit your application.