Little girl dressed as a business woman with a folder

You’ve recognised the need to update your CV, you’ve been thinking long and hard about the type of work you would like to move in to and you are all set to express the very best of yourself formally in an awesome job application. Then like Amanda, you tack on a brief cover letter that’s pretty much the same as the one you send to every prospective employer.

But you don’t rate an interview. Why?

Your cover letter is your very first opportunity to create a good impression.

Regardless of whether you are sending in a hard copy of your application or an electronic version the same as tens or even hundreds of other applicants you have to survive

the first cull. It can take as little as ten seconds for your application to be rejected.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) these days is asking for a resume and a ‘one-page pitch’ explaining why you deserve the job. If applicants are unable to communicate their worth on one page then the argument is that they can’t communicate well enough to work in that office. Follow this link for more detail on this. Note that I use the terms CV and resume interchangeably.

The rest of the selection process is the same; you will still have to address selection criteria in an interview. The purpose is to simplify and streamline the process to the interview stage.

It would seem highly likely that other employers will follow suit. So get used to the idea of expressing your strengths and worth completely yet simply. Imagine telling a friend or family member why you should be chosen in as little as one minute.

Your cover letter should contain arguments not repeated in your resume.

Try writing a list of key words or two to three word phrases expressing your unique worth, then expand each into a single sentence. Use straight forward language and avoid jargon. Read it aloud either to yourself or someone you trust to give you honest and constructive feedback.

Of course the cover letter for each position you are applying for should be tailored specifically for that position.

What do you think? I’d be interested to hear about your experiences. What worked for you, or what would you do differently?

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