Topic 3 How to write CV and cover letters, tips on job applications, validation process of previous degrees

In this unit we will see what they are and how to write CVs, cover letters and job applications, as well as the differences between them and tips for their preparation.

We will also look at the process for the validation of both university and non-university qualifications.
  • The curriculum is a tool to sell ourselves, it serves as a business card. It is therefore very important the quality of it and the image we project through it.
  • It provides us with a first contact with the company or organisations where we wish to work and should therefore attract the attention and interest of the person reading it.

Human resources professionals and managers handle large quantities of CVs and have little time. They select by elimination and are sensitive to first impressions. So:

  • More important than getting everything right, it is important not to make any serious mistakes in your CV that will rule out your application.
  • Rather than telling everything about yourself, you need to tailor your CV to both the position you are applying for and the organisation you are applying to.
  • Truth: Don’t lie, you will be eliminated from the selection process as soon as that lie comes out, and it will, in the interview.
  • Brief: Be concise. The complete CV should be 1-2 pages at the most. Save the details and explanations for the interview. Words should be understandable and concrete. Use short, simple sentences. Paragraphs should be short, easy to read and deal with a single topic.
  • Formal: The tone should be formal. It is advisable to avoid ambiguities and negative connotations.
  • Understandable: The use of acronyms should be kept to a minimum and it is preferable to write the full name that corresponds to the acronym. It is advisable not to use ellipses or the word etcetera. Do not overuse technical terms that make your CV incomprehensible to a person who is not an expert in your field.
  • No mistakes: No spelling or typing mistakes. A CV with spelling mistakes will sell you very badly, review it several times and ask someone to read it carefully before sending it.

Your CV should contain the following information. Of course, its content is not rigid and will depend on your profile and the points you want to highlight.

  • Your personal and contact details (name, age, complete address, e-mail, etc)
  • Your professional goal: With a short sentence you can show that you are clear about your career objective and that you have thought about it. Try to match your objective with the position you are applying for.
  • Your educational background: This consists of the essential education and training relevant to the job you are applying for and any relevant additional training.
  • Your professional experience: This section is the essential part of your CV and is the one most valued by employers. Give it the time it deserves. If your professional experience is important, you will give more relevance to this section by putting it before the academic background.
  • References: are not a fundamental factor of your Curriculum Vitae, therefore, they should only be included if they can contribute something positive and if requested by the offer to which your Curriculum Vitae refers.
  • Languages
  • Computer skills
  • The cover letter is a document or piece of writing that accompanies the CV you send to a specific job advertisement or to a company offering your services spontaneously.
  • Its function is to introduce yourself and briefly introduce your candidacy. Its purpose is to highlight specific details of your CV, showing why it is worth reading it with all the attention it deserves.
  • The cover letter should lead to the CV, and the CV to the job interview.
  • Letter in response to a specific job advertisement: Accompanies a CV sent to a company in response to a specific job advertisement. It must necessarily refer to the advertisement in question, pointing out its reference. Highlight why your application is interesting.
  • Self-candidature letter: Accompanies a CV that is sent to a company spontaneously, so that it will consider you for future selections. It should state what motivated you to apply and what you can bring to the company.

The wording of your cover letter follows the same advice as the wording of your CV.

We insist that your cover letter be:

  • Short: It is not about writing another CV. Your cover letter should be no longer than one page. About four short, single-themed paragraphs is ideal. The recruiter will appreciate your ability to summarise.
  • Formal: Do not address the addressee as you are on a first-name basis. Be careful with: “you”, “your company”… Use a cordial and respectful tone, but avoid servility: do not beg.
  • Details of the sender: name and surname, address, postcode and town.
  • Details of the recipient: the letter must be addressed to the person who will evaluate its contents.
  • Greeting: The greeting must be formal. The gender of the addressee should also be taken into account.
  • Introduction: Always specify the reason for the letter.
  • Core: It is important to carefully take up the elements of the function to be carried out and the profile sought. Highlight the strengths (education, experience, personal skills, etc.) that make you the ideal candidate for this position.
  • Conclusion: Express what is expected of the addressee: to be admitted to the selection process, to arrange a personal interview, to obtain a favourable response… Specify your availability and the easiest way to contact you.
  • Farewell: it must be coherent with the greeting. Therefore, it should be formal, respectful and neutral.
  • Signature: it must contain your handwritten signature and, below it, your name and surname.

A job application is a form through which an application for a job is submitted, and is used by employers as a means of getting to know the candidate’s job profile. The use of these forms provides interviewers with a way of getting to know candidates better.

  • When: They are currently available on company websites and are completed online, although occasionally there will be a physical form to hand in.
  • How: It is advisable that they are completed in order and with attention to detail. It is important to check the content before submission to ensure that all fields are completed correctly and that there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Practice with a sample form: if you are filling in a job application for the first time, you can fill in one beforehand, which is not the one you are going to submit.
  • Dress professionally if you are going to the company: the first thing the recruiter will evaluate when he/she sees your application is the first impression you give him/her in person.
  • Write clearly: make sure that the recruiter can understand your answers, so that they are clear and concise.
  • Make sure the content is accurate: it is a good idea to double-check the information submitted, as the data will allow the employer to assess your skills and follow up with you, should they want to interview or hire you.

Recognition of Foreign Qualifications