Graphics of Cover Letter And Resume Format For HR Applications

Cover Letter And Resume Format For HR Applications

People will give you all kinds of advice on what to include, and what not to include on your curriculum vitae or resume. What it comes down to is there is only one rule, if you’re not getting the interviews and call-backs that you think you should be, then make a change. Sometimes you’ll need to experiment to find exactly what it is you need to change, however I’ve included some general tips and a resume format for you to consider.

The cover letter

The cover letter in my view is the most important part of your application; it’s where you can make the job of the selection panel very easy – one way or another. Your cover letter is the sell, its where you directly respond to the selection criteria and let the selection panel know that you can do this job. I take my time reading through every application I receive for the selection panels I’ve been part of, however not everyone does this – you’ll find accounts of people involved in the recruitment process talking about 30 seconds per application. And even though I take my time to find the best candidate, you as candidates can really help me by directly responding to the selection criteria – it will also ensure those limit themselves to 30 seconds per application will get enough out of your application to make a decision.

When you’re writing your application or cover letter, and yes you need to write a different application letter for each application, the response you want to elicit from the reader is ‘selection criteria met…call back and arrange an interview’. So this is what my cover letter starts off like:

Brendan
Street
City
State

Date

Dear Frank Myers,

Please take the time to find the person’s name, if you can’t find it online then give the company and call and ask – make sure you get the correct spelling. This will differentiate you from many candidates straight away, and it took five minutes.

RE: Advertised vacancy for a (insert job title and any reference number they have)

I read with interest your advertisement for a (insert job title), and would like to lodge my application for that role. I have directly addressed the selection criteria below, and have attached my CV/resume (select either CV or resume) which outlines my employment experience relevant to this role, for your consideration.

Then I will copy and paste each of the individual selection criteria and respond to them with typically between one to three paragraphs each.

And then at the end of your application thank them for their time and consideration, something like this is what I use:

Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to talking to you more about this opportunity in the near future.

Regards

Brendan
Phone number
Email address

Hopefully that gives you some help with your cover letter, so lets move onto the format of your resume. So if the cover letter responds to the selection criteria, what is the resume for? The resume is to showcase the breadth or depth of your relevant experience. There will be aspects of the role you’re applying for which aren’t listed on the job description or advertisement, your resume will both help address these unknowns and also assist the panel see how your skill set might fit into the wider team. Here’s an example, my wife is an academic and typically teaches very large student numbers each semester and has done for most of her career. Now on the advertisements for the roles that my wife is qualified and has the experience for, the universities very rarely mention this somewhat important number – it frightens too many applicants away (I’ll talk more about this in a future post), but as she mentions these numbers on her application, she’s giving the selection panel some pretty relevant information and covering off aspects of the role that weren’t stated in the application.

The resume

The format I take with resume’s is to identify the key responsibilities of the role, and my key achievements. Typically I limit the key responsibilities to between five and seven, then two to three key achievements. The secret of the key achievements is to ensure they are quantifiable, that is they are measurable. Let’s take a look at one of the entries in my resume:

Assistant Director
April 2011 to December 2011

Key responsibilities

My key responsibility within this role has been the provision of high level strategic advice and strategies, based on identification and analysis of workforce issues and opportunities. Examples of my work include:

  • Development of a strategy to support and develop 200 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander pre-service teachers through higher education, and into roles within the Department.
  • Development and submission of two research proposals for funding through the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative.
  • Co-development with Director Workforce Strategy, Policy, and Capability of the initial proposal for the establishment of a scalable teacher supply pipeline.
  • Advice to colleagues on areas such as Occupational Health and Safety, HR Graduate Program, and the Community Development Employment Program

Key Achievements

  • Representing the Department on the Office of Women’s Policy Gender Equity Panel
  • Contributing directly to the establishment of the Human Resources Graduate Program, through advising and collaborating on the initial planning, and chairing the selection panel.

So this is the approach that I take when outlining the different roles I’ve had, for the most part the content will remain the same for each application, occasionally I might tweak some aspects with regard to the role I’m applying for – but really that’s what my cover letter is for.

So let’s take a look at the whole format:My Name
Email address
Residential address
Phone number
I also add in brackets on this line when my resume was last updated – which is always the date I put my application in, so it’s the 16 May 2014 as I write this so I would put the following (Current at 16 May 2014). What this does is communicates that I’ve actually taken the time to ensure my resume is up to date – I have received applications were the applicants CV was months out of date, it’s just sloppy and lazy to send applications like that.

Education

• Master of Applied Psychology (by research)
o Specified programme in Organizational Psychology
• Graduate Diploma of Social Science
o Sociology
• Bachelor of Social Science
o Psychology
o Gender Studies

The reason I put my qualifications right up front, is that most of the roles I apply for have educational requirements, so I like to get these right upfront so the recruiter or selection panel can see I met this requirement, and they keep reading.

Professional Experience

Before each role, I will put the name of the organization, and often a brief description of what they do. I’ve found this particularly important following moving one country to another, just because where you worked previously was a household name, doesn’t mean it will be in the next country – or even next state. If your previous employer was a market leader then tell them, if they are a subsidiary then say who the parent company is etc. Of course only ever provide information which is publicly available.

Assistant Director
April 2011 to December 2011

Key responsibilities

My key responsibility within this role has been the provision of high level strategic advice and strategies, based on identification and analysis of workforce issues and opportunities. Examples of my work include:

  • Development of a strategy to support and develop 200 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander pre-service teachers through higher education, and into roles within the Department.
  • Development and submission of two research proposals for funding through the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative.
  • Co-development with Director Workforce Strategy, Policy, and Capability of the initial proposal for the establishment of a scalable teacher supply pipeline.
  • Advice to colleagues on areas such as Occupational Health and Safety, HR Graduate Programme, and the Community Development Employment Program.

Key Achievements

  • Representing the Department on the Office of Women’s Policy Gender Equity Panel
  • Contributing directly to the establishment of the Human Resources Graduate Program, through advising and collaborating on the initial planning, and chairing the selection panel.

And that’s basically it, I don’t include hobbies – no one cares, and I want my resume to be direct and to the point.

Really there’s only one rule about your cover letter and resume, regardless of how wonderful and pretty you think they look, if they’re not getting you interviews then you need to change them. The best resume is the one that gets you the interview, that’s the bottom line.

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