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Applying for jobs

Cover letters dos and don’ts

Dos and Don’ts 

  • It’s a good idea to tailor your CV to the specific job you are after. 
  • Take in a list of questions you wish to ask them (five or so); that way, even if you get to the end of the interview and they seem to have covered everything, you can produce your list (just to make certain) and they will see that you have prepared in advance.  
  • Always be dressed smartly for your interview (you can never be too smart). 
  • Always greet your interviewer with a bright smile and introduce yourself. 
  • Put the interviewer at ease: friendly chatter on the way to the interview room helps to break down barriers, so try to start a conversation if you can. 
  • Be enthusiastic. 
  • Don’t say anything negative about yourself or your previous employers. 
  • Always be honest but not necessarily too modest. 
  • Don’t say anything that you can’t back up with evidence. 
  • Be prepared for competence-based interviews and always have examples in mind of previous experiences at work, i.e. if you are asked for an example of when you’ve had to deal with a difficult customer explain what happened, what you did, and what the outcome was.  
  • Talk about problems that you’ve solved for previous employers and past achievements at work and/or outside the workplace.  
  • Focus on what YOU have to offer the employer, not just on what they can offer you.
  • Watch your body language; maintain eye contact (but don’t stare), smile, and nod (to show you are listening).  
  • Don’t forget… if you really want the job, don’t be shy, let them know!