Effective Application Forms and Cover Letters
Most people tend to find having to complete application forms a 'pain in the backside'. But as they say, "no pain, no gain"! Whilst the majority of UK Employers in the Private Sector prefer to receive CV's, quite a number do not – they request you fill in a form. In the Public Sector the reverse is generally true, and in some parts of that sector, such as Local Authorities, it promises to be an automatic requirement!
Here are a few practical tips;
• If you are a 'bit messy' then get the form photo-copied first and start by using that!
• Follow all the instructions; ie Use Back Ink so they can copy the form!
• Have the Job Advert, Job Description and Person Specification to hand
• Make sure you address all the Employers stated requirements by spelling out clearly on your application that you meet his / her requirements. ie Show you match their needs as far as you can!
• If you add additional pages, put your name and Job applied for at the top of each – they may get detracted inadvertently when opened!
• Check everything through thoroughly, check spellings and grammar.
• Take a copy for your own use and to prepare if you are interviewed.
• Consider whether you need an accompanying letter, not usually required with an Application Form, although some Employers' do ask for one!
• Use as large an envelope as possible because if it's folded many times and crumpled up that will not give a very good impression.
• Remember the closing date and post it in good time!
These are usually used with CVs and there are some of a much larger topic, like I said about CVs and I can not possibly give you all the low down. However I can give you some important practical tips and guidelines, again from my extensive personal experience.
• Use single sheet, good quality A4 paper – usually white
• Get it word – processed, except the advertisement specified 'please send a hand – written covering letter'
• Remember "Dear Mr …" or "Dear Mrs …" at start, – "Yours sincerely", at the end
• OR Dear Sir / Madam at start, – Yours faithfully, at the end.
• Do not repeat yourself by re-hashing the CV, keep it short, otherwise they will not get into the CV itself.
• Three short paragraphs should do: An opening one to make clear which Job you are enclosing your CV for, remember they may have more than one kind of Job advertised. A middle paragraph which clearly picks out how your experience and background fits with what they want. Very brief main point or two only! A final one which ends positively, ie do not say 'I hope to hear from you'. It's better to say "I look forward to hearing from you shortly" etc.
• Finally, do make sure you include your full postal address and current Telephone Number and email address if you have one. You would be amazed how many people get that wrong or miss part or all of it out!