If you are looking for the perfect job in London, you need to get your CV and cover letter sorted. In the UK way.
This article is a tailored guide to getting hired in London from someone who worked in the recruitment and management consulting field in the UK since 2008.
Let's start with the dreaded cover letter since for many job seekers, it is harder to write than a resume. And while for some jobs abroad it is optional, in the UK it can actually make the difference on landing you the first interview.
What's the main goal of a cover letter?
To grab the attention of the reader (the recruiter, employer or agency) and push them to give you a call.
By being original, fresh and disruptive.
It's your first and often only opportunity to connect with the employer, so don't waste their time using copied and pasted templates, use your words well to let them know you know them. In fact, the cover letter is more about them than you, and it's your chance to show them how badly and WHY you want to work for them.
Top Tips for Your Cover Letter:
1 Don't Copy - Be Original
The cover letter shouldn't state what's already obvious on the CV, this is a very common mistake. But remember, recruiters are really busy people, so don't waste time telling them twice the same things.
2 Storytelling is key
You must be familiar with this word: "storytelling", and the reason is that everyone likes a good story. Marketers are specialists in this, they use videos, photos and words to make you buy their products. In your cover letter, you have to do the same thing: sell yourself very well.
3 Do your research
If you are not applying through a website but sending a direct email, make sure you know the name of the recruiter (LinkedIn is a great place to stalk people's name and positions). And instead of using the obsolete and horrible ‘To whom it may concern’ formula, try and be a little more personal with a "Dear Mr / Mrs Smith" or if you can't find the name, use ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ which is way more personal and nicer.
Now, the UK Style CV!
Whether you are creating a new CV or adapting your existing CV from your home country, the following advice will help you design a CV in the appropriate UK format.
REMEMBER your finished CV should be no more than two pages of A4 paper in length. Be sure to use English (UK) for your spell check and not English (US).
What sections to include:
- Contact details: full name, UK address, mobile number and email (make sure you have a UK number and UK address before applying for any jobs in London)
- Personal profile: this is an optional section, but I find it incredibly useful to tell a bit about yourself and about the skills relevant to the job you are applying for. It should be no more than five lines long
- Education: you must include your most recent qualification first and then include all qualifications gained in the past in reverse chronological order, including dates, institution name and location, the name of the qualification and the result. If you studied abroad, you may also include the UK equivalent to your overseas qualification
- Employment: include all employment experience with your most recent first stating the dates you worked there, the name of the company and its location, your role and include a short description of your responsibilities
- Voluntary work experience: use the same format as in the employment section but describing all your voluntary experience
- Languages and additional skills: list all the languages you speak, including level (fluent, conversational, basic) and IT skills (eg Microsoft Word, Excel). If you have specific certifications related to any skills, add them here
- Interests: Unlike in Italy, British employers are keen to know how you spend your time outside the office to get to know you better, so add brief information about any interests and hobbies you might have
- References: even if this is your first job, it is good to find at least two referees and their contact details. They can be academic or maybe from a previous internship.
Ultimately, Your CV should:
- be quick and easy to read
- be well formatted
- evidence your skills and why you are the right candidate for that job
- include two referees
- be no longer than two A4 pages long.
Your CV should not:
- include a photograph (unless specifically requested)
- include your date of birth
- include your gender
- include your ethnic origin
- have any spelling or grammar mistakes.
Once your CV and cover letter are sparkling gorgeous, you can finally start sending them to the employers, but make sure to prepare for your job interview in London.
Now, go out there and get the job of your dreams!
Read more about London and working abroad:
- Why You Should Get a Summer Internship (or at the End of your Erasmus)
- Best Ways to find an Internship Online
- 7 Safest Places to Live in London
- The Magic CV Formula to Find an Internship Abroad (With Template)
- 7 Brutally Honest Truths About Your Internship Abroad!
- How to Find a Job in London as a Foreigner