CV and cover letter
When applying for a job, we advise you to enclose, aside from a well-written CV, a cover letter. Your cover letter can be either in the form of a job offer, or simply a side letter to your formal application. Consider the cover letter an introduction to your personal presentation and a chance to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the job.
Elements of a good CV
- Your CV needs to create a good first impression: Make sure that there are no grammatical errors in your CV. We advise you to have at least two people review the CV before you hand it in. If you are sending your CV by regular mail, use high-grade paper (100g).
- Your CV needs to be clear and easy to read: The CV needs to have good structure and be clear, so that the person reading it will have an easier time finding key information. Do not repeat any details or contents and leave out any insignificant information.
- Your CV needs to highlight your strengths: There is no place for modesty in a CV. Highlight your achievements, awards and titles.
- Your CV needs to be visually appealing: Your CV should have proper form and design. Use a colour or two. If you choose to enclose your picture, make sure it is of proper form (we advise against using selfies or photos shot using a webcam).
Below you can find links to free CV templates:
- EU-wide standardised CV template for a systematic and comprehensive personal presentation;
- Available in e-form in 28 EU languages and 36 Member States;
- Can be used both in the national and international environment;
- Includes a chapter on informal and occasional training and development.
Tips on writing a cover letter:
A cover letter is not a summary of your CV. Do not describe your work experience in long form, but focus rather on significant milestones in your career, thus prompting the employer to consult your CV for details.
Find as much information on the organization you are applying with and the vacancy as possible. Highlight experiences and characteristics that are required and relevant to a particular vacancy. Provide justification for each statement you make (e.g. I am a successful salesperson because… ).
Pay attention to grammar and structure of your cover letter.
You should write different cover letters for different employers. Do not use a single cover letter template in all job applications, as this only shows you are not familiar with the organization you are applying for a job with.
The internet is quickly becoming the go-to tool for efficient and convenient job hunting, as it allows you to distribute information quicker and with a wider reach, as well as 24-hour access to job portals. Aside from the internet, there are other efficient ways to look for a job:
- Career centres;
- HR agencies;
- Online job search portals;
- Sending job offers without a published vacancy;
- Career fairs;
- Student employment services.
To be prepared is half the victory! Before the interview, make sure you gather as much information about the prospective employer as possible. Use online sources and talk to those who had previously taken an interview with the employer, or with people working for the organization.
When entering a job interview, be aware that you are not pleading for a job, but rather offering the company a chance for long-term cooperation. Create a dialogue, i.e. ask questions rather than just answering them, as this will show your interest and earn the trust of the employer. Your goal is to make a positive impression and stand out from other candidates.
If more than one candidate applies for the job, the employer may decide to run a round-by-round elimination process or to create one (or more) shortlists. There may be several rounds to the process, each of them different from the other (e.g. first round: general education test; second round: psychological tests; third round: interview with the HR manager, etc.).
After the interview, we advise you to take a summary of the positive and negative actions and answers you gave. This will help you in the second-round interview and in future job interviews. Consider also whether this job is suitable for you, and whether you see yourself in this position in the long-term. If you wish to make an impression on the prospective employer, send a thank-you letter.
Below you can find links on how to write a thank-you letter:
- Job Interview - ThankYou Letter Examples
- Interview thank you letters - what should you write in your job interview thank you letter?