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447 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 64383 14-Jul-2010 14:23
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Hi All,

So I am applying for my first proper job. I have worked in the industry already during my summer breaks. It's a graduate position. My CV is no problem, I have that all done. My question is, what should I put in a cover letter? Basically the same stuff as in my CV? I understand it as a means of introducing myself (correct me if I'm wrong).

Maybe a better way to look at it would be, what would you like to see in a cover letter if I was applying to work for you? Other than correct spelling and grammar of course! Laughing

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 351403 14-Jul-2010 14:36
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What ever you do get someone else to proof read it for you first then you stand a chance of getting mistakes (such as the title of your topic in this instance) corrected.

I dont worry too much about cover letters, its the guts of the document I am more interested in. Prospective employers get a pile of job applications and I prefer to read a summary of someone's experience and skills rather than listing every job they have had since they were 13 mowing lawns, or whether they have "dabbled" in software package a, b or c.

I know its fairly non PC these days, but I like a photo with a CV, it puts a face to the document, and usually they are the ones I remember above the faceless ones who read as though its been written by a professional CV company.

Everyone has different likes and dislikes, but it pays to just be yourself, that way you will hopefully get the job that fits with you as well as your employer making everyone a happy camper.

EDIT, good I see you fixed the title up :)



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 351408 14-Jul-2010 14:48
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Thanks for your input, so basically what you are saying is let the CV speak for it's self and not to worry too much about the cover letter?

I noticed the spelling as soon as I hit submit but the edit wouldn't stick (my browser/connection, not GZ's fault), it was getting frustrating knowing it was spelt wrong and not being able to fix it!

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  Reply # 351409 14-Jul-2010 14:50
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nickd: Thanks for your input, so basically what you are saying is let the CV speak for it's self and not to worry too much about the cover letter?

I noticed the spelling as soon as I hit submit but the edit wouldn't stick (my browser/connection, not GZ's fault), it was getting frustrating knowing it was spelt wrong and not being able to fix it!


In my case yes. If I was a percet speller and master of grammer I might be a little more picky, but I am not. I am always having to spell check :)

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Master Geek

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  Reply # 351414 14-Jul-2010 14:56
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In my experience, I've found you should generally address the key competencies/list of attributes they're looking for in the job advertisement/JD. When I graduated I found that using a stock standard cover letter didn't get me very far, whereas once I started tailoring them to each position description I had a lot more success (more interviews, multiple job offers). You will still have a relatively standard format, but taking the time to ensure each one addresses that particular job will likely help, especially if you have some direct experience in relation to the work you'd be doing, really point that out (ie don't expect them to find it in buried your CV).

Note that I'm not in the IT sector (which most people here seem to be, though you didn't say) so it could be different :)




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 351428 14-Jul-2010 15:11
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NickiB:

Note that I'm not in the IT sector (which most people here seem to be, though you didn't say) so it could be different :)


No problem, neither am I!

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Master Geek

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  Reply # 351432 14-Jul-2010 15:22
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nickd:
NickiB:

Note that I'm not in the IT sector (which most people here seem to be, though you didn't say) so it could be different :)


No problem, neither am I!


Ah good, well hopefully my advice is relevant and helpful then. Also forgot to say all the best, hope you find an awesome job asap :)




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  Reply # 351433 14-Jul-2010 15:22
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It's a cover letter, not a CV.
It's purpose is to summarise:

That you would like to the apply for the position of xxx.
Why you feel you would be suited to the role.
Refering them to the attached CV etc.
Thanking them for considering your application.
Look forward to meeting them etc.

All the best, good luck for your application/s.

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  Reply # 351437 14-Jul-2010 15:30
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I'd definitely do a cover letter and do make sure you address the key requirements in the job advertisement and why you meet them. Make sure it's one page or less and that the spelling and grammar a pretty close to perfect, particularly in the first and last paragraphs.

If the employer doesn't care about cover letters he/she won't read it but if they do care and it's not there... You get the idea.


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  Reply # 351442 14-Jul-2010 15:37
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Have a look at what the NZ Police require for all of the support staff applications, ie non-sworn.

http://www.police.govt.nz/jobs/supportstaff/resources.html

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 351444 14-Jul-2010 15:39
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Jaxson: It's a cover letter, not a CV.
It's purpose is to summarise:

That you would like to the apply for the position of xxx.
Why you feel you would be suited to the role.
Refering them to the attached CV etc.
Thanking them for considering your application.
Look forward to meeting them etc.

All the best, good luck for your application/s.


+1
Very good summary of what cover letter should include IMO.  It's the sort of thing I have always looked for - I definitely started with the letter as the first chance for the applicant to impress - and then moved to the CV to look for the "facts"





"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
— most commonly attributed to Jonathan Swift, author/theologian

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  Reply # 351859 15-Jul-2010 13:27
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Use the cover letter to direct their attention to the salient points in your CV which are directly relevant.

Show that you have actually put thought into this, done some homework on the company, decided that this is a company you want to work for, etc and that this is not just a "shot gun application".

Try and reference perhaps some past work that the company has done, or current project, and tie it back to how your experience/knowledge is related.

But keep it brief and to the point

 




---
James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...


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