CVs and Cover Letters

CVs

First impressions count

  • Ensure your CV is formatted correctly and professionally.
  • Use the same font throughout your CV, and ensure it is appropriately sized.
  • Start off with your name, address, and email address; if you forget these you are making it more difficult for a potential employer to know who you are or even contact you again.

Don’t forget the details

  • Try to avoid just including a bullet point list of your experiences and qualifications, instead include as many details as possible about each of these experiences and qualifications.
  • When listing previous jobs/positions don’t forget to include what that job entailed and what responsibilities you had.
  • Tailor your CV depending on the role you are applying for; e.g. for hospital roles, include details of any clinical experience.
  • Don’t forget to include your work experience/summer placements, these help to show that you have been willing to experience a variety of workplace settings.
  • If your employment history contains any long gaps then provide some detail as to what you did during this time, even if it isn’t related to your career e.g. a year spent travelling.
  • However there is one important rule, always keep your CV under 3 pages long.
  • Referees
  • Don’t forget to include your referees! Try to have at least two referees where possible.
  • Most graduates tend to have one previous employer and one academic reference.
  • Always make sure that you have spoken to your referees and that they are happy to provide a reference for you, also inform them that they may soon be asked to complete a reference.

Cover Letters

The basics

  • Make sure that you know the job specification/description, and what they are looking for in a candidate, this information is often advertised along with the role.
  • Format the document as a standard letter, their address on the left and your address on the right.
  • If you don’t know who the cover letter is going to then use formal introduction such as “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Make a good start

  • Introduce yourself with your own current position, your career goals, and why you are applying for the position.
  • Include in your introduction what research you have done into the organisation, who you have spoken to, and if you have visited the organisation previously.
  • Sell yourself
  • Make sure to sell yourself with your key skills and experiences that are relevant to the role you are applying for.
  • Don’t be afraid to use examples from pharmacy placements, university, part-time work and extracurricular activities that you’ve undertaken.
  • If you don’t have a large wealth of experience in paid employment it can be useful to draw upon any voluntary experience you have.
  • The experiences you identify in your cover letter should also be on your CV, but do not copy and paste from one document to the other; reword each differently where possible.
  • Close with a summary
  • Much like any good presentation, summarise why you feel you are a good fit for the role, based on your skills and experience previously stated.
  • Include details on how and when you can be contacted with regards to arranging an interview and then make sure you are available when you say you will be available.
  • Sign off the letter professionally with “Yours sincerely” (to a specific person) or “Yours faithfully” (to an unnamed person), followed by your name.

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