Chapter 3
Job-seeking Correspondence
Prof. Jidafang www.jidafang.com
1 2 3 4 5 6
Cover Letter Resume Professional Portfolio Interview Appreciation Letter Reply to Job Offer Resignation Letter
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  1. Cover Letter
The cover letter should always be included when sending your resume or CV for a possible job interview. This letter of application serves the purpose or introducing you and asking for an interview. Here is an outline to writing a successful cover letter.
A guide to writing cover letters
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What is a cover letter?
In the past, when the job market was less competitive, a cover letter was often a simple formality that introduced your resume. Today, it is a vital instrument that "sells yourself" to the recruiter. In a job search, first impressions really do count and a cover letter is a powerful tool that can get you noticed. There are many kinds of job search letter. When discussing "cover letters", we are generally referring to letters which accompany resume in response to job advertisements. These guidelines will help you to write effective cover letters. The ideas can also be applied when writing networking, selfmarketing and thank you letters.
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An effective letter should: Gain the attention of the recruiter and persuade them to invite you for an interview Outline the main ways in which you meet the requirements of the job and can contribute to the company's business Draw attention to "something extra", making you stand out from the other applicants Demonstrate that you understand the job and the company's business Express your interest and energy.
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What Is the Best Way to Write A Cover letter?
There is no "perfect" cover letter. In fact, each cover letter should be unique, reflecting the job that is being applied for and the experience and personality of the writer. There are no rigid rules to follow, either. Unlike a resume, a cover letter can be extremely flexible, providing the perfect opportunity to draw attention to your assets.
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Do's & Don'ts
The "do's" of cover letter writing Do send a tailored cover letter with every job application that you make It can be useful to design a standard letter template模板, which you can then tailor to the requirements of each job application. View tips on tailoring a cover letter to a job advert提及 below. Do use the highest quality paper you can afford Use the same paper for your resumé, cover letter and envelope. Headed paper creates the strongest impression. Avoid folding your letter: today, it is likely to be scanned into an applicant database.
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Do follow a logical and professional structure for your letter Even if you are writing a high impact cover letter, your letter should still include your address and contact details, the recipient's address, the date, a greeting, an introductory paragraph, three to five paragraphs of text, a closing paragraph and a closing statement. Limit the letter to one page, if possible.
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Do research the name of the person to whom the letter should be addressed Names are often listed in business directories目录, which are available in libraries and the Trade and Development Council. You can also get them from the relevant secretary or receptionist. If you cannot find the person's name but know their gender, use "Sir" or "Madam". Never use "Sir/Madam". As a final option, you can use "The Recruitment Manager", assuming that you are writing to a manager who is currently recruiting. Always follow the instructions on the job advertisement.
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Do specify the position you are seeking ? use a "with reference" heading By adding a "RE: Finance Manager Job Vacancy" heading, you can avoid wasting space in the bulk of the letter. Do use a compelling引人注目opening statement to attract attention The opening statement is your first chance to create a positive impression. It would be a pity to waste it with a bland乏味statement. For example, the phrase ¨I have enclosed my resume in application for the above position〃 does not inspire the recruiter to read further.
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Attention-grabbing opening phrases
Idea 1 - Focus on employers needs: “As a seasoned marketing professional with significant experience in establishing high-end高档 leisure brands, I can significantly drive the growth of your recently launched Zeus Brand Sportswear." Idea 2 - Match what they have asked for: “I am excited to read from your advertisement that you are looking for high-calibre高素质 individuals with (XYZ) skills and (XYZ) qualifications. My experience and qualifications match these very closely and I have been seeking an opportunity just like this in which to make full use of my skills." Idea 3 - Make use of any connections “I recently spoke with (name of contact) regarding the position of (title of job). On their suggestion, I enclose my resume for your review.”
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Do consider using high impact tools and techniques to add interest Some specific techniques can help draw attention to your key selling points and assist you to stand out from the crowd.
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Do focus on the company and the things they would gain if they employed you A recruiting company is only interested in employing someone who will create profit-related results for them. You must show them exactly what you can do to help the company get results. Focus on examples of when you have: saved money, generated sales, improved efficiency, negotiated lower prices, helped someone else learn how to do things better, reduced waste or saved time, etc. Even the most junior person can add value. For example, a clerk might use her initiative and set up a schedule for her outdoor tasks. The schedule would increase efficiency and she might then spend more time on keeping the client database up-to-date, which would, in turn, translate into increased efficiency for the sales team.
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Do outline your relevant skills Highlight skills that are directly relevant to the requirements and include short descriptions of your achievements. Focus on the results you achieved rather than the methods you used. "Skills" are different from "duties". A duty is something that you are required to do (for example, recruitment). Skills are the actions that you have learned and which enable you to perform a duty (for example, interviewing skills, job advertisement writing skills and resumescreening skills).
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Do use powerful, active, energetic language Keep sentences short and to the point. Avoid over-polite or old-fashioned language, such as hitherto到目前为止, forthwith即刻, furthermore and moreover. Do demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the company Use language or words that are common within the industry you are applying to. You can also refer to company products or industry developments. Do your research before applying.
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Do close with a powerful final statement Express your expectation of interview and enthusiasm for the work. Leave no doubt that you know that you are right for the job. Do proof read obsessively One typing error is all that is needed to land your resume in the bin.
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The “don’ts” of Cover Letter Writing
Don't sign your name in coloured ink Don‘t discuss your emotions, feelings or sensitive issues (such as chronic慢性 illness) The employer is only interested in what you can do and how you would do it. If there are unusual circumstances to discuss, wait until the end of the interview. Don't mention your salary history unless this is specifically requested Determine how closely you meet the needs of the position before discussing your salary. Revealing salary details too early may bias the employer against you or undermine your negotiating power.
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Don't include any negative information of any kind Discussions of why you left your last job, how you were made redundant被解雇, why you did not like your last manager and difficulties you have experienced in your job search are inappropriate in cover letters. Focus only on positive, relevant experiences. Don't repeat words or phrases from your resume Your cover letter is a chance to add extra value and really draw the recruiter's attention to the ways in which you match the job. No-one will bother to read the same information twice. Don't use correction fluid No matter how subtly隐约 it is used, correction fluid always creates a bad impression.
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Writing Tips & Examples
Tips on tailoring a cover letter to a job advert
  1. Define the requirements of the job Read the job advert carefully. You want to identify: Essential requirements. These may include education, years of experience, type of experience, specific skills or knowledge. They will be described as "essential", "required", "must have" or "necessary". Preferred requirements. These may include language or technical skills, as well as experience. They will be described as: "preferred", "an asset" or "an advantage". Inferred推断requirements. These will not be referred to explicitly at all. But, by reading the advert carefully, you can often infer the "like to have" requirements of the recruiter. For example, if the advert describes the company as "dynamic and fast-paced", you can infer that they would prefer candidates who show energy and drive. 19

  2. Prioritise the requirements of the job Look at the job from the recruiter's point of view and assess which of the requirements are most important. This will help you prioritise the skills and experience that you put into the letter.
  3. Identify your relevant experience: Review your skills, experience, education and personal characteristics and pull out the elements that strongly match the requirements of the job. These are the aspects of your experience that you should aim to highlight in the cover letter. Any aspect of your experience that is not directly relevant to one of the top requirements should not be referred to in your cover letter as it will distract the recruiter from understanding exactly why you will be good in the job.
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  4. Add "something extra" Although you now have the basic content from which to structure your letter, you need to make it stand out from those from other applicants. The best way to do this is to personalise it. You can do this in a number of ways: You can illustrate your top-priority strengths with an anecdote or story regarding past achievements. You can identify an issue of high relevance to the company and demonstrate your knowledge of their business. You can directly relate one of your top strengths to the challenges faced by the company.
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An example of a standard cover letter format
standardcover.pdf
An example of a Fresh Graduate cover letter
graduate.pdf
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When to use a high impact approach?
The objective of any cover letter is to gain attention and persuade the reader to offer you an interview. Most job search situations benefit from a traditional, well-thought-out and tightly constructed letter, which follows normal business correspondence standards and norms. However, in some situations you may want to consider a more innovative approach, using techniques and styles that really stand out from the crowd.
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When to use a high impact approach: A high impact cover letter can help you get noticed, but it can also speed up your application's transit into the bin! There is always a risk that the recruiter will not like the style. The more innovative your letter, the higher the risk of rejection.
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To minimise this risk:
  1. Find out who will be screening your letter. An HR manager may respond more positively to a traditional approach. On the other hand, an artistic director may appreciate a more creative style.
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  2. Only use appropriate high impact tools, which clearly demonstrate the skills or attributes relevant to the job. For example: A business analyst might include a quote from a relevant business partner of the company to which he is applying. In this way, he demonstrates his ability to scan the business environment for suitable information. A graphic designer might include graphics. A sales representative might present his letter in the style of a sales proposal. A writer or publisher might include quotes, sections of prose or short extracts from his work. An advertising executive might present his application in the style of an advertisement concept storyboard. An accountant might structure his cover letter to include bullet points and headings, demonstrating his ability to present information clearly.
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  3. If you are not sure if a high impact approach is appropriate, don't take a risk. Focus on a wellconstructed traditional letter, which will always create a good impression.
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High impact tools and techniques

  1. Gimmicks噱头are innovative, attention-grabbing techniques. Examples could include presenting your letter in the style of an advertising storyboard or a sales proposal. Even more outlandish奇异approaches might include the delivery of your letter attached to a bottle of champagne. The risk of rejection when using gimmicks is very high. You should always research the company, job and recruiter thoroughly to ensure that this type of creative approach is appropriate.
  2. Technical tools, using bullet points, bold type, different fonts, italics, graphics, subheadings and underlining, can help add definition, as well as visual interest and emphasis. They can be used to break up large sections of text to make your letter more readable. Used carefully, technical tools can be used for cover letters in all occupation
 

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