We all know there’s nothing worse than deciding for sure this time that we’re going to find our dream job and leave the one we’ve fallen out of love with - only to be confronted with the horror that is…
Updating your CV and Writing a Cover Letter
They say it’s easy, but you know it’s not.
You’ve been staring at your screen for the past fifteen minutes, and putting it off until tomorrow is starting to look really good again.
You’ve started thinking about that one time five years ago when you went looking and all you got was an existential crisis from the rejection emails.
And you know that recruiter you’ve promised to send it across to once it’s done is probably going to do something to it so that it looks all nice and neat…
But they also say they need something to work with?
You can’t help but think…
What if it’s not enough?
What do I say?
Why is it so hard to remember what I do right now?
What do I do?
What’s a hobby?
Does Netflix count?
Well don’t worry, I’ve got you.
Time for a few quick tips, wrapped up as convenient excuses to watch a film that’ll make you say “I forgot how good this was!” as you take a well deserved break from that blank document page.
Then we’ll begin with the dreaded cover letter… Sometimes referred to by recruiters as the personal profile.
For this, you’ll need to watch:
(You’re no doubt looking at your screen like this right now)
I know! This is probably the last film you’d think of watching before writing a new CV or cover letter, but hold on, there’s method to this madness.
If you’ve seen the film version before, you’ll likely remember the plot kicks into gear after Rebecca Bloomwood writes up her cover letter.
(And yes, no doubt you’ll remember she was drinking whilst writing it - please don’t do that bit unless you’re ready to extensively proof-read and edit)
When Rebecca writes about herself, she uses dutch courage and her best friend to help get her points across about exactly why she would be perfect for the role she’s after, and whatshe can bring to the company.
This ends up landing her with her most influential job to date - both personally and professionally. Not a bad outcome if you ask me!
(Okay, so it’s not the one she wants at first, but let’s face it - it was the perfect one for her, and Alette not hiring her wasn’t because the cover letter wasn’t excellent).
Whilst I recommend again that you don’t take a leaf out of Rebecca’s book with the alcohol, do watch the film and remember to write down little notes about how you’d describe yourself as you go along:
Essentially: don’t fall into the trap of underselling yourself because you’re worried you’ll sound like you’re boasting.
Don’t go too far with it, but include what you can bring to the table and why you see yourself in that job or sector in particular. Try to remember those things you say to your friends about why you deserve your dream job or love what you do.
Once you've done that, the rest shouldn't be too hard, just concentrate on being clear and concise.
Once you've got it written up, it's really about making it look good - and if you really need an opinion on your third draft, I'm sure there's a cover letter Marie Kondo in your life somewhere.
Remember all the way back in the “don’t try this at home” disclaimer when I mentioned proof-reading? (And later, when I mentioned it again for a convenient Marie Kondo drop?) You always want to proof-read and edit, like that one time you actually wrote more than one draft of an essay.
Oh! And please don’t lie about being fluent in Finnish. Someone’s going to check up on it one day.
Charlotte Scotland is a Resourcing Consultant in the Legal Division at Harvey John.
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