Make winning CVs, covering letters and applications



Make winning CVs, covering letters and applications
Make winning CVs,
covering letters and
Sandy Chow
Emerging Talent Attraction Manager
• Introduction (5 Mins)
• Understanding the job you are applying for (15
• Top Tips – how to write your Cover Letter, CV &
Application (30 mins)
• Reflection and Review (30 mins)
• Summary / Q&A (10 mins)
Understanding the job you are
applying for?
In groups of 5, please discuss:What do you need to know?
How / where do you find out about
these information?
What do you do with your research?
5 mins
What do you need to know?
- What does the company do
- What does the job involve
- What type of people they are looking
- Recent news ( company &
How and where do you find
these information?
Company website
Internet (Google, Wikijobs)
News / Industry publications
On Campus events
Social Media
Speak to people currently doing the job!!!
What do you do with your research?
- Cross match with your skills /
knowledge and experience
- Demonstrate it in your cover letter,
CV and application form
Top Tips – how to write your Cover
Letter, CV & Application
In groups of 5, please discuss:What needs to be in your CV?
How long should it be?
What should it include?
What should not be in your CV?
2 mins
Example CVs review (5 mins)
• Review individually
• Discuss with your neighbour which
one is good / bad
What makes a good CV
No more than 2 sides of A4, Font size 10
Tailored to the job you are applying for
Clearly laid out
Informative but concise
Accurate in content, spelling & grammar
Common mistakes on CVs
Spelling and grammar 56% of employers found this
Not tailored to the job 21%
Length not right & poor work history 16%
Poor format and no use of bullets 11%
No accomplishments 9%
Contact & email problems 8%
Objective/profile was too vague 5%
Lying 2%
Having a photo 1%
In groups of 5, please discuss:- What should your cover letter
- What format / tone of voice should it
- What should min / max length be?
5 mins
Purpose of a cover letter:-
A letter of introduction
A selling mechanism
The entrée before the main meal
An example of your writing skills
A perfect skills match
Reference :
Examples of bad cover letters
What makes a good cover letter
• Opening the letter
The opening paragraph should be short and to the point and
explain why it is that you’re writing.
• Second paragraph
Why are you suitable for the job?
• Third paragraph
Here’s your opportunity to emphasise what you can do for the
• Fourth paragraph
Here’s where you reiterate your interest in the role and any
additional info i.e. when you are available for interview / start
• Closing the letter
Sign off your cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’
Examples of good cover letters
In groups of 5, please :Discuss what are your biggest
challenge when completing an
application form?
2 mins
Typical Faux Pas in application forms
Not answering the question
Too long / too short
Copy & Paste
Lack of evidence / examples
Lack of research in role / company
Top Tip #1 – Written
Example question
Describe a situation when you effectively managed your
relationships with other people to ensure a goal was delivered
successfully. (350 Word Limit)
In your answer you must tell us:
• The actions you took to improve the way you worked together
• How you adapted your approach to work more effectively with
the others
• What would you do differently next time?
Top Tip #1 – Written
Answer #1
Whilst at a clinic at XXX Hospital, I had to deal with an
agitated patient who was impatient with the hospital clinic
I reassured the patient that I understood his frustration, and
attempted to reassure him; he was undergoing a lot of
stress. I was calm and clear. Next time, I would let it worry
me less!
Top Tip #1 – Written
Situation - As part of my university modules, students were
Answer #2
divided into groups of four and each group had to lead the
lesson one week. The task involved watching a film and then
discussing the most important aspects of it in a
presentation to the rest of the class.
Task - We brainstormed as a group which aspects we thought
important to broach. However, when we were dividing up the
responsibilities between the four of us, I thought it important to
play to the strengths of each individual team member so, rather
than just letting the group divide up the workload randomly, I
initiated a discussion about what every team member thought
they would excel at.
Top Tip #1 – Written
Action - I listened to the others’ views on which part of the
presentation theyCommunication
would like to be involved with and adapt my
contribution respectively. I am a confident public speaker and
nobody had yet expressed a desire to lead the delivery of the
presentation, so I offered to do so, which the rest of the team
agreed with.
Result - As a result, our power point presentation was
impressive and it was confidently and engagingly delivered to
the class. If I were in the same situation again, however, I think
that I would encourage more collaboration between team
members and suggest that pairs, rather than individuals, work
together on each section of the presentation in order to improve
its overall quality.
STAR model answers
Remember:- Link in your research
Reflection & Review
In pairs (15 mins)
• Spend 10 mins individually
• Review your current CV and cover letter
• Note down what changes you need to make to
• Swap with the person next to you. Spend 5
mins to discuss if they agree / have any
additional feedback
Practice application form (15 mins)
• On your own, using STAR model, provide 1
example each for the below competencies:– Being One Team
– Leading by example
– Putting Customers First
– Seizing responsibilities
– Creating a positive environment
Thank you. Stay in touch!
• Facebook
– Centrica Graduate and Summer Placement
• Twitter
– @Centricagrads
– #centricagrads
– #summeratcentrica
– #moneycantbuy
• LinkedIn