How To…Write a CV and Covering Letter

Since many employers request a CV and/or Covering Letter when applying for a job, this how to article gives some tips and advice to point you in the right direction for some support on building your CV and Covering Letter.


What is a CV?


CV means Curriculum Vitae; this is Latin for ‘course of life’. A CV is a document detailing your own academic results, professional qualifications, work experience (most recent first) and any other achievements. An employer will usually request one of these during the application process.

You should also include things such as your hobbies and interests as well as references. And remember to keep your CV short, don’t over-do it.


What is a Covering Letter?


This is a letter which can be given along with the CV as a front cover. This is a good way to “sell” yourself for the job role you are applying for. By highlighting the areas in the role that would make you the ideal candidate can often help you get the rob you’re going for.


Why are these needed?


Always give the employer what they ask for when applying for a job. If they request a CV and Covering Letter, give it to them. If they ask you to complete their application form only, complete it and don’t send in your CV or Covering Letter.

When these are both done well, a good CV and Covering Letter could secure your interview and could give you an edge over other candidates.


What should these look like?


Your CV should have your name, address and contact details at the top. This should be followed by your personal statement, this should be short and to the point with some information about yourself including any skills you have.

You must include any work experience in order of current/most recent position. Then detail any qualifications you have followed by any achievements. Add in your references, this should be two people, one of which is your most recent manager or a teacher at school.

Before writing your Covering Letter you should research the role you’re applying for as well as the company as this will be the key to writing a successful letter.

Your Covering Letter should be addressed to the correct person and shouldn’t be too long. You should make sure your Covering Letter has the right flow by including a suitable opening, why you’re the right person for the role, how you would be an asset to the company and finishing off with why you’re interested in the role. If you have a job description or person specification for the job use this to help you, making sure you cover all the points in it, showing how your knowledge and experience fits what is needed for the job. Always sign off your letter with yours sincerely or yours faithfully.


Where to find more information and help


Use the My World of Work CV Builder tool.

Websites such as Reed offer tips on how to write a CVs and Covering Letters, as does CV Library and Totaljobs.

Your local Job Centre, Business Gateway and College can also offer support on creating a suitable CV and Cover Letter.