CV & Cover Letter
The dreaded CV is the best and worst thing that can affect your self-esteem – you’re basically putting your soul on a piece of paper and hoping that someone finds you worthy of a job. So why would you want to present yourself as anything other than absolutely fantastic?
A CV with spelling mistakes and grammatical say all the wrong things about you and it may even negate the positive things you list about yourself. For example, you could say you pay attention to detail, but your potential employer will know that’s not true when you’ve spelt several words wrong!
And let’s not forget the cover letter. This may be more important than the CV, because this is more likely to be read by a potential employer. As well as checking your spelling and grammar, it’s also important to remember that the tone of your writing will also be heavily scrutinised. You only have one or two paragraphs to make a good impression – the last thing you want is to fall flat on your face because the tone of your letter was too casual.
I know it feels stupid to address a letter to someone with a cordial tone that you would reserve for the Queen, but it’s better to be too formal than too informal.
A well-written CV and cover letter can tell people a lot about you, and one with a demonstration of killer writing skills will boast that you are intelligent and experienced.
It goes without saying that emails are usually the first contact to be made with an employer. The importance of tone has already been brought up, so let’s talk about structure of letters and email – there’s a big difference between writing to your friends and writing to someone you don’t know. If you don’t address it correctly you will give the wrong impression.
Here’s an example; as part of my journalism module I had to pitch article ideas to different publications. Before sending out emails, I did my research on a magazine and identified the best person to pitch an idea to (this would vary on the size of the publication).
Usually the website or magazine would include the name and contact details of the editors or the features editors. This was how I knew to address my emails to a “Mr James White” at the local newspaper.
This may not seem like an important detail, but it actually spoke volumes about my interest in pitching to this publication – if I had addressed it to “Dear Sir/Madam” it would have suggested that I didn’t care enough about the local paper to do find out who I would be writing to.
This particular skill resulted in me getting an article published on their website. It can pay to know who you’re writing to.
Writing Improves Your Overall Communication Skills
Once you become adept at putting your thoughts coherently on paper, you get better at putting your thoughts into word and will never be tongue-tied again. Imagine getting an interview after your CV and cover letter thoroughly impressed your potential employer. Then you go in and impress them with your articulation and coherent ideas. You’re hired!
Improving The Quality Of Your Work
Whatever your job is, I can guarantee it will involve writing of some kind; emails, project proposals, sales pitches or market reports. Everything you write for your employers and your clients is an example of your dedication to do your best by them. Sub-par writing skills lets your employers, your clients and yourself down. It implies that you’re giving your work all your attention let alone putting all your efforts into doing the best job you possibly can.
If your excellent writing skills were fundamental to you getting your job, then you should do your best to maintain them.
There is no shame in trying to improve on your current skills; in fact it’s probably the most basic thing you can do to expand your skills. Do you have any writing tips that you feel have been helpful to you?
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As a writer and an English student, Sara’s work is always under scrutiny for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and wrongly used punctuation. As a result, her friends have often accused her of being a Grammar Nazi. This doesn’t stop them from asking her to check their work for them.