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Jobs & Careers

Writing that all-important CV (and cover letter)

By Lacee-Ann Froeschl

By Lacee-Ann Froeschl

In Jobs & Careers

There is one common struggle when it comes to getting that promised job after graduation – your CV (aka curriculum vitae).

When it comes to applying for the first job of your future career, the one thing that projects your very capable abilities is having EXACTLY what your employer wants to see, in your resume. I.e. All of your relevant skills and abilities to the job you’re applying for.

But sometimes selling yourself isn’t as easy as everyone makes it out to be. Regardless of how confident you feel; the nerves are still real. Professional resume writer Gail Lockyer at Half Day P/A says it is important to understand a standout resume includes being legible, logical and linked.

“The job search is an extremely competitive field,” she says. “It needs to be easy to read and not like a novel; recruiters want you to sell your skills and cut to the chase.”

Gail also says despite the common thought that resume writing is a struggle, it comes a lot closer to a student’s abilities than they think.

“It can be difficult for the untrained eye to understand how to write about your skills because too often we are too close to the core,” she says.

“[But] a resume can be similar to an essay. They’re both stories in their own right; a resume needs to be written in chronological order… [and] it may include a career summary or skills summary whereas an essay may also have a brief conclusion or final summary.”

Places you can look to find evidence of your skills can be anything from employers, university or even friends and family.

Now, what about a cover letter?

Some think cover letters are unnecessary while others say it’s important to showcase the most relevant skills to catch the eye of your prospective employer.

“In many incidents, recruiters don’t actually put their eyes on your resume at the initial stages,” Gail says. “Your resume is put through a scanning program in search of keywords and this will then sort out all the applications.”

Gail recommends writing a cover letter rich in common selection criteria terminology to optimise your chances of being shortlisted.

“The key words are often in the ‘required skills’ of the job advertisement,” she says. “If they’re asking for an application with a ‘proficient in xxx skills’ then ensure you write that in your cover letter and can link that to demonstrated experience in your resume.”

Don’t forget to always get another human brain to proofread important documents. While Microsoft Word’s spell checker will detect most typos, homonyms and different language spellings may go unnoticed. If you’re marketing yourself as a person with ‘attention to detail’, these small mistakes may be costly.

Last but not least, templates. There may be some of you who are savvy with Word, Illustrator or Indesign, but for those of you who aren’t and can’t afford professionally designed templates, just check out Seek for free resume and cover letter templates.

For more info on how to stand out in the job hunting crowd, visit Seek or contact Gail at Half Day P/A.

Resume tips & tricks

  • Include your name, contact details and address
  • Make your headings stand out – put them in bold or complimentary font
  • Have a good text to white space ratio (don’t make your page look crammed)
  • Limit your skills, education, work experience etc. to two or three pages (the past 10 years)
  • Keep it simple – but use language listed in the job description
  • Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs
  • List experiences in chronological order

Where to look for your skills

  • Self, peer or teacher evaluations
  • References from current and previous employers
  • Your course outline objectives

Cover letter tips & tricks

  • Show enthusiasm for the job and industry
  • Answer their key requirements
  • If you don’t have the appropriate training, mention you are prepared to undertake further studies

Views expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect those of Student Wow Deals. Student Wow Deals accepts no responsibility for any reliance upon the articles contained herein.

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