Applying for a job

Information to assist jobseekers to apply for a job, includes how to write a CV, cover letter and explains how to use a STAR template.

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Job documents

When you apply for a job, employers will usually expect you to give them two documents:  

  1. Cover letters
  2. A resume or CV

The employer will use the information in your cover letter and your CV to decide whether to invite you to an interview or not.

Your contact information

Your cover letter and your resume or CV should include your email address and your phone number. 

Your email address should be professional, and it should be an account that you check regularly.  

Make sure you have a work appropriate voicemail message on your phone before you submit any job application. 

Formatting and proofreading

If you need inspiration, there are many templates and examples of both cover letters and resumes online.

It is a good idea to have another person check your cover letter and resume for spelling mistakes and formatting problems before you give them to an employer.  

Cover letters

The purpose of a cover letter is: 

  1. To introduce you 
  2. To summarise your experience  
  3. To show that your are the right kind of person for the job you are applying for 

A cover letter should only be one page long. You will need to write a new cover letter for every job you apply for.

Writing a cover letter can seem like a big job, but once you have written one cover letter you can adapt it for other job applications.  

A cover letter adds to your resume, so it shouldn’t just repeat what is in your resume. Your cover letter should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read your resume and learn more about you.  

What to put in a cover letter 

In the opening section of your cover letter, you should include: 

  • A header that has your contact information in it  
  • The date you applied for the job 
  • A greeting for the hiring manager  
  • A statement or reference naming the position you are applying for  

In the body of your cover letter, you should include at least three paragraphs: 

  • The opening paragraph. Try to grab the reader’s attention with 2 or 3 of your top achievements  
  • The second paragraph. Explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job  
  • The third paragraph. Explain why you are a good match for the company  
  • Formal closing  

Cover letter tips

Here are some things you can do when you are writing a cover letter: 

  • Use the same language as you read in the job advertisement. Take phrases or sentences out of the advertisement and then relate your experience to it. 
  • Do some research on the organisation you are applying to work for, and then link your interests to the organisation’s key values and goals. 
  • Get someone to proofread your cover letter for spelling mistakes and formatting. Ask them to make sure your letter contains accurate information that is relevant to the job you are applying for.  

Resumes and CVs

Do you know the difference between a resume and a CV?   

  • A resume is a brief summary of your work experience and background relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • A CV is a longer academic diary that includes all your experience, certificates and publications.

You will usually use a resume when you apply for jobs.  

Your resume should be between 1 and 2 pages long. It should give the reader a summary of :

  • your work experience 
  • your education 
  • your achievements 

Your resume should only talk about the work experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.  

A good resume highlights contributions that you have made in your previous workplaces and showcases how your different skills could be useful for the position you are applying for.

The resume is usually accompanied by a cover letter which states your intent for applying for the job.    

What to include on your resume:  

  1. Your full name 
  2. Your contact information 
  3. A summary of your work experience 
  4. A summary of your education  
  5. A summary of your experience as a volunteer 
  6. Any languages you speak 
  7. Any achievements, awards, and certifications that you have 
  8. Your interests (keep this work appropriate)  
  9. Contact details for your referees  
  10. A link to your LinkedIn account (if you have one)  
  11. There are many resume templates and examples of resumes online.  

Your employment profile 

You can add an employment profile or objective to your resume.  

An employment profile is a few sentences about why you would be a valuable employee. 

This is an optional part of a resume that can help your resume stand out from other resume.  

Referees 

Referees are people who can provide positive feedback on your work experience and/or character.  

Always ask permission from the people you want to list as referees before you put them on your resume.  

When you apply for a job, let them know that you’ve made an application and that they may get contacted. 

Sources

STAR template

Training resources

Understanding yourself and looking after yourself