Job Application Help

Covering Letter

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your covering letter should aim to instantly create a positive response. Therefore, if sending it in the post always use quality paper. Keep it simple and professional and limit it to one page.

Make the content interesting and relevant to the job you are applying to by highlighting the transferability of specific key skills and experience.

Indicate personal qualities and how these can translate into real benefits for the employer you are targeting.


The purpose of the CV is to establish relevance for the position applied for and secure an interview. It is one of the first points of contact with a potential employer and is your opportunity to create a favourable first impression.

Presentation is key. A well crafted CV using a sensible font (Arial/Times New Roman), printed on good quality paper (or if sent electronically in MS Word with no graphics/clipart) instantly commands attention from the person viewing it. Generally speaking, your CV should be no longer than 3 pages in length.

Be concise, accurate and professional. Your CV should convey your skills, experience, achievements, potential and relevance for the position applied for.

Ensure gaps in dates are covered. Remember that unemployment and illness are neither a problem nor an issue for employers, especially if it can be shown that such time was utilised in a productive manner (i.e. in terms of voluntary work undertaken at the time or an increase in personal activities).

Be positive and emphasise successes, strengths and transferable skills. Include the following:-

  • Personal details (name only – see section on ‘do not discriminate against yourself’)
  • Education
  • Qualifications
  • Employment history in reverse chronological order
  • Responsibilities and achievements listed against experience
  • Specific industry skills and, if appropriate, IT and computer skills
  • Language proficiencies

Be sure that your CV is accurate and can be verified. It will form the basis of the interview/discussion so you need to be able to support any claims made.

If a CV is to be e-mailed, ensure that it is easily readable. The employer will not undertake major re-editing in order to read your CV.

Whilst a friend or member of the family can review your CV, try to find someone objective and independent to critique it as if they had never met you.

Do not discriminate against yourself.

There are now comprehensive laws governing discrimination on the basis of Race/ethnic origin, Religion, Sexuality, Sex (including transgender), disability, age and personal issues (such as if you have caring responsibilities).

As part of our service we will never discriminate, and expect the same level of uncompromising adherence to the law from our clients. However if media reports are to be trusted, then there are some employers or people within companies who are not so compliant.

It is therefore important that during the CV stage you ensure that you do not disclose too much information: Avoid submitting anything personal on your CV – for example whether you are married, date of birth, nationality etc.

Clearly if applying directly for a job you will need to give your name, which will in all likelihood reveal some information about you. If you are at all concerned about how your CV will be received, ensure that it is presented by a recruitment consultancy. Recruitment companies can make sure that it is anonymous and given equal treatment.

During interview stage you should be treated with respect. No line of questioning should focus on any area of your personal life, questions should focus purely on your ability to do the job.

If after the recruitment process you feel that you have been unfairly treated, speak to your recruitment consultant who will be able to liaise with the client.