Think before you hit SEND!

Think before you hit SEND!

By Leanne Atkins

We see more and more people making basic mistakes when applying for vacancies and it’s costing them a job. Essentially, if you can’t follow basic instructions, I don’t think you’ll be able to follow an employer’s either, so I won’t call you about that job you’ve applied for. Sorry, but I won’t. I will move on to the applicants who have followed the instructions as they’ve listened/read/understood and taken the time necessary, showing they are serious about their application.

Here’s a typical daily example:-

Job advert reads:

Please apply with your CV and cover letter/email stating why you think you’re suitable for the advertised role/

The response:

Applicant sends over a CV with no cover letter at all. Not even an inclination of which job they’re applying for. No subject. Just a CV. Not even a sign off with their name on the email. Blankety blank.

Spot the mistake?  Now as recruiters we have many skills and sometimes we do have to read minds to a certain extent, but we don’t have a crystal ball. Not one that works anyway.

I could go on and on about how not to do things, but let’s concentrate on some tips to help yourself:-


  • Start the letter with the job title/reference number you are applying for. This will be on the advert somewhere! This could go in the subject line of an email.
  • When writing your cover letter, ensure you’ve read what the employer is looking for within the job advert. Look at the skills, experience, qualifications and personal qualities required.
  • Explain in your letter where you have had that relevant experience or have those skills and qualities.
  • The letter/email doesn’t need to be long. One or two paragraphs is usually enough to highlight what you need to. Keep it to the point. Don’t waffle.
  • If the job is in a different geographical location to that shown on your CV, state why you are applying, eg that you are moving to the area.
  • If there is a large gap on your CV of employment and it’s not stated why on your CV, then explain the gap in your cover letter.
  • Finish your letter with a note of thanks and your full name. If it’s not on your CV (and it should be) then include the best telephone number you can be contacted on.

Hopefully this will help you. If you need help with your CV take a look at the tips on our website: here and here





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