In previous issues of the Career Chronicles we’ve covered a fair bit of ground regarding public sector applications. Now it’s time to flip the coin and balance things out a little, so here are few hints on tips on applying for roles within the private sector.
Although private sector applications seem less complex considering that there are no targeted questions or suitability statements to write, this may prove to be equally as challenging because you are presented with less opportunities to demonstrate how you meet a potential employer’s needs:
- Firstly, ensure you tailor your CV to the requirements of the role, focusing on tailoring your Career Summary, Strengths and Achievements Statements to align with expectations for the role which you’re applying for.
- Secondly, you’ll have to attach a Cover Letter, a step that’s so often neglected! When a client tells me that they’re sending out an abundance of applications but haven’t heard back from a single one the first thing I’d ask them is if they’re attaching a Cover Letter; and more often than not the answer is no. Keep in mind that today’s employment market is extremely competitive and therefore employers are being swamped with applications.
Therefore, they’re looking for reasons to SCREEN YOU OUT, not to bring you in for an interview. And by not attaching a cover letter to your application, it may end up in the trash pile before your CV has even had the opportunity to be read.
But how do you write an effective Covering Letter?
We’ve put together an easy to follow format which will help you write a killer cover letter every time! Be mindful that your cover letter should not be more than 1 page in length.
Employer Contact Information (if you have it)
Fill in the blanks:
I am writing to apply for the _____ position advertised on ________ I feel my strong _________ skills coupled with my background in _________ makes me an ideal candidate for this role. Please find my resume attached which outlines my extensive skills and experience in the __________industry / across the private and public sectors.
Indicate your interest in the position or type of work for which you are applying and state why you are interested in the position, the company, or its products.
Third Paragraph & Fourth Paragraph
Address the essential requirements of the role by not only stating that you have a certain skill but by also PROVING IT to them. This can be done in either bullet point form or within a couple of paragraphs. I prefer addressing essential requirements using bullet points as this makes wording your answers much simpler, in addition to making it easier for an employer to find what their looking for as quite often cover letters are skimmed, not read.
- Excellent Customer Service skills
- Proven track record in delivering high levels of customer service, regularly obtaining positive feedback and receiving 0 customer complaints over a 3-year period.
Now it’s all well and good when a job ad has 4 or 5 essential requirements to address; what happens if there’s 10? It makes effectively addressing each one incredibly challenging considering the fact that you’re limited to 1 page. You’ll notice quite often that various Essential Criteria are linked in one way or another. Prior to writing your cover letter, group similar Essential Criteria together which can then be addressed in a single point rather than using multiple points resulting in wasting valuable space.
- Strong computer and administrative skills
- Attention to detail
- Proficient in MS Office with extensive administrative experience, undertaking duties such as preparation of correspondence, taking meeting minutes and data entry achieving a typing speed of 55 wpm with an accuracy of 98% which demonstrates a high level of attention to detail.
This paragraph will include any additional information that may be seen as valuable to a potential employer which you haven’t had the opportunity to mention yet.
For example, you may have achieved awards or commendations for producing excellent results, or you may be bilingual which could be extremely valuable for a customer service role as this enables you to provide service to diverse client groups. Be mindful that although this paragraph is important, it should only be included should you have sufficient space. If your Essential Requirements take up the majority of the page it may be in idea to leave this paragraph out.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider my application and welcome the chance to discuss it in more detail.
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