Back in 2004, author and columnist Zoë Foster-Blake applied for a job at Dolly in Australia, and wrote her cover letter from the point of view of a 14-year-old girl. She also put in a quote from publishing giant Rupert Murdoch that she made up. “It was risky,” Zoë admits. “It said something like, ‘She’s an amazing talent, oh, how I wish she would work for me.’ I remember thinking it would be seen as arrogant or, hopefully, they’d find it funny.” The letter got Zoë an interview … but not that job. Soon after, she was offered the Beauty Editor role at a major title, and off her career went.
Here’s a story that ends well — but it doesn’t all the time. Now let’s fast forward to 2018, and you’re reading this and wondering how you can get your career off the ground, or how to make your way to your dream job. We gathered main tips from industry leaders and hirers that will help you get your foot in the door. Good luck!
Tip #1: Don’t Be A Template
“I have read too many cover letters and CVs which reek of copy-paste material. I get it, for example engineers tend be less creative, so they usually recycle CV templates provided at career fairs or from University. As a first impression, it doesn’t fly. I usually tend to read more if the cover letter or the CV stands out a little more, in terms of formatting, or the way the person introduces themselves.
“Try to avoid going down the route of recycling a template cover letter or CV. Invest time into formatting and personalising the cover letter, but you don’t need to go overboard.
“When going into detail, instead of listing out your daily/weekly tasks, outline what sort of responsibilities were assigned to you, and what you have achieved in your career. This makes more sense to the hirer and gives them a better picture of your potential.”
— Md Faidzal Md Yusop, Engineering industry