- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive voice (e.g. "Bones are liked by dogs") where you can use the active voice ("Dogs like bones").
- Never use jargon if you can think of an everyday equivalent.
There is a lot of emphasis put by careers services on constructing the perfect CV. While your CV is undoubtedly very important for chronicling your qualifications and employment history, the bullet point structure and the highly restrictive employers' preference for one A4 side limits your room for revealing much about your personality and character. Here is where the cover letter comes to the rescue. The cover letter should be one side of A4 prose that draws on and enhances qualities you have referenced in your CV that make you a strong candidate. It is your chance to grab the attention of your employer and make yourself stand out as being both professionally able and having a likeable personality. Wherever possible, address your prospective employer by name as opposed to the blandness of 'Dear Sir/Madam'. The rest of your CV should follow this basic structure: FIRST PARAGRAPH - State the job you are looking for, where you found out about the job and when you will be available to start work. SECOND PARAGRAPH - What attracts you to the role? Why are you interested in this field? THIRD PARAGRAPH - Summarise the strengths you have, particularly drawing on examples used in your CV, that make you the ideal candidate FINAL PARAGRAPH - This is your opportunity to make a last strong impression, so make sure you reaffirm your passion and suitability for the role. If necessary, include in this paragraph any dates that you will not be available for interview. Make sure you remember to thank the employer and include the sentiment that you 'look forward to hearing from them soon.' End with 'Yours sincerely' if you opened the letter with a name, and 'Yours faithfully' if you opened it with Dear Sir/Madam. While it is important to express enthusiasm and character in your cover letter, remember it is not an opportunity for you to display your extensive knowledge of the English language. It is probable that your prospective employer is incredibly busy, so will therefore not want to waste half an hour attempting to decipher what you have written. Be concise and avoid being too floral with language. Stick to George Orwell's rules for good writing: