We all know that having a good CV/resume (with no mistakes, contains all the relevant information, is easy to read etc...) is important for getting an interview when applying for a job. But it is not the only factor which will decide whether you'll get a job interview.
The email you send with it (the job covering/cover letter) is as equally important in deciding whether you'll be selected as well. But why?
Normally when companies advertise a vacancy, they'll receive lots of CVs/resumes (possibly hundreds). If they had to read each CV/resume they received, it would take them a very long time. So to help them choose the best candidates quicker, they often use the job cover/covering email to decide whose CV/resume to read and whose not to.
And they can use the job covering/cover letter to make this decision, because apart from it saying what job the person is applying for, it is basically a summary of the most important information from the CV/resume.
So now that you know why having a good job covering/cover letter is important, what makes one?
For a job covering/cover letter to work, it needs to:
- Contain all the information which an employer is looking for. li>
- Contain information which is relevant for the job you are applying for. li>
- Match what you have written in your CV/resume (and this is important). li>
- Be structured so that it is both easy to read and the person can easily find the information they are looking for. li>
- Be short.
- Use professional sounding vocabulary and phrases. li>
So now that you know what makes one, have a look at the below example to see each of the above being used.
Exercise & Example:
The following covering/cover letter is from a candidate (Juan Cruz) who is applying for a sales executive position/job with a large multinational engineering company.
The words/phrases in bold in the covering letter are key words/phrases which are used in the quiz at the end.
I am writing in response to the advertisement for the position of a sales executive in the Madrid office of your company. I am confident that I would be an excellent candidate for both this position and for working within a company such as your own which has a reputation for excellence and innovation.
I am a highly motivated, diligent and committed individual, who throughout my 10 year career in sales has demonstrated the ability of being:
Goal-Orientated - Surpassing my annual sales targets every year of my professional career.
Adaptable - Having the ability to quickly learn and use new techniques, methodologies, strategies when selling a variety of different products.
Able to speak fluently in English - I have the Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English and use English on a daily basis in my current position.
I have extensive experience of working as a sales executive for two large multinational companies, Almagro Construction SA and Telefonica SA. During my time in Telefonica I have been responsible for several multi-million euro/dollar project negotiations that were conducted entirely in English and lead to Telefonica obtaining contracts that totalled a value of €61.3 million.
Please find attached a copy of my CV which expands on my experience and achievements.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss further the possibility of working for you in this position. I am available to do an interview when it is convenient for yourselves.
If you have any questions, I can be reached on either my mobile (0034 71761231) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
So now you have seen an example of a good covering letter/email, to make it easier to write your own, you will find a quiz below. This quiz uses the words/phrases which are in bold above to not only provide you with good professional English phrases/vocabulary that you can use in your own covering letter/email, but to make sure that you both understand why they are being used and that you use them correctly.
Below are 13 questions about the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use each word/phrase once. Click on the "Check answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.
When the answer is correct, this icon will appear next to the answer. Click on this for both extra information and a detailed explanation why this answer is correct.
Now that you understand the vocabulary and the structure, practise it by creating your own covering letter.