Cover letters – have you got it covered?

Most jobseekers I work with have heard of a cover letter, but they aren’t really sure what the point of one is! If that’s you, then read on and we’ll try and help.
A covering letter should be fairly short and to the point, but should really show an employer that you have researched the company, know what the job entails and that you are exactly the sort of person the employer is looking for!
Sounds easy?

It goes without saying that your cover letter should be well written and that it doesn’t have any spelling or grammar mistakes. But what should it include?
Make sure you personalise it. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for admin work, cleaning or telephone sales. You have skills in lots of areas that will transfer to different types of work and it’s up to you to match your specific skills to what the employer is looking for.

So for example, let’s say you’ve worked in a mobile phone shop and you see a job for a call centre in a debt recovery company. You know what it’s like to work in customer service, you can work to targets, have great customer service skills, but how can you persuade an employer that you know what is involved in debt recovery?
Firstly, you have to research the company website The website will more than likely have an “about you” section. This is where you can find out lots of relevant information on the company and what they do.

The job advert is another great way to provide a good match for the company.

debt recover advert

Look at each bullet point and think about what is involved in dealing with someone who has a debt issue. Include some examples of the work you have done before, if you can, make some notes as you go along.

How to start your letter:
• Explain what job you are applying for and where you found the vacancy.

“I am applying for the position of………………… as seen on ………………..”

Next – Why are the best candidate for the job?
• Briefly describe how the skills and qualifications you already have match the skills the employer needs. Use the advert or the job description.

“I have excellent skills in negotiation and can keep calm in difficult situations”

Third paragraph – What can you do for the company?
• Use examples of your strengths and how they can work well within the company

“In my previous company I was involved in monitoring the service we delivered to our customers by asking for feedback and analysing the results.”

Fourth paragraph – Show them why you want the job!
• This is where you state again why you are interested in the job

“I am confident that I have the right mixture of skills and experience to contribute to the team. I am extremely proficient at working under pressure and maintain excellent customer service at the same time.”

Signing off
• End on a positive note and don’t forget to thank your employer for their time

“Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.”

Yours sincerely – if you know the name of the hiring manager
Yours faithfully- if you don’t know the name of the hiring manager


Video Interviews

Have you ever had a video interview? Here are a few tips on how to handle them and what to expect.

You apply for a job the usual way, upload your CV or complete an online application and you have a good feeling you will get called for interview. You start mentally planning your route to interview and then an email drops in and, instead of a time and place to be, you are given a link to click for a “video interview.” This is not what you expected,; you probably haven’t even thought about it.

Maybe it’s something we should all get used to! Many employers will use a video interview to save costs, standardise the recruitment process and make it easier for them to sift applicants.

Video Interviews
So what happens next?

Usually, you will be given an expiry date and time to access the interview via the link they sent you in the email. This is your planning time – you can’t turn up in your pyjamas!

Many interviews are just a series of questions which appear on your screen. You might not get any interaction with a “real life” person at the other end.

1 – dress how you would for a traditional interview, but check how your outfit comes over on a screen.

2 – practise, practise, practise. It’s not easy looking at yourself on screen, so take plenty of time to get just the right position, lighting and sound. Have a rehearsal; practise with a friend over Facetime or Skype. Record it if you can and look back at it.

3 – plan the room carefully. Make it look as business like as you can with no distractions in the background.

4 – try not to speak too fast. Your responses will be listened to later. So if you don’t make yourself clear you won’t have the opportunity to repeat yourself as you would in a normal face to face interview.

Video interviews aren’t easy for anyone, so prepare yourself well in advance. Make sure your equipment will work and don’t forget to smile 