Professional Business Letter Templates, Cover Letters, CVs & Resumes

Thursday, 17 December 2015

How to Write a Cover Letter - 6 Tips for Writing a Strong Cover Letter

A cover letter is a short, conversational document the purpose of which is- narrating your resume in your own words, highlighting relevant skill set and contextualizing it for a specific job. It is that piece of information that can make you stand out from the crowd while applying for a job.
So how do you make sure that your cover letter makes an impression and that you are able to write something meaningful in few well-worded sentences?

Here are a few pointers on how to write a good cover letter:

1.    Have a strong opening: Don’t go for a generic opening statement- ‘I am applying for a certain job I saw in certain place.’ Start with something more impactful, something that showcases what excites you about this job and why you are the right candidate and best fit for this particular job. Chances are the hiring manager or recruiter is reading a stack of such, so you want to catch their attention.

2.    Do your research first: Before you start writing find out more about the job you want or the one you are applying for and the company as well. Things you could look for are what the company does, who are the competitors, its position in market, challenges the company is facing. This not only demonstrates your interest in company and the role but also gives you knowledge to tailor your cover letter.

3. Addressing your cover letter: Always address your letter to someone directly. If you're unsure of the right contact, search for the right person on social media/internet and don't be afraid to call the company to ask for a name.

4.  Letter format and presentation: Don’t exceed one page of text. Keep the format that of a standard business letter irrespective of whether you’re sending it as an attachment or in the body of the mail. Use a standard font like Arial or Times New Roman. Go through the letter multiple times and check for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors before hitting the send button.

5.  Emphasize your personal value: Recruiting managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems. Include why you would be an asset to the company, the unique things you have to offer and how they would benefit from having you on their team You can talk about how your how your experience or worldview will help you at the job, perhaps explain how you solved a similar problem in the past or share a relevant accomplishment.

6.  Show enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is essential as it conveys personality. Make it clear why you want the position as a lot of people today possess required skills. Hence the employers want someone who truly is interested in the job.


Your cover letter's often the very first impression a hiring manager, recruiter or HR professional has of you -- make sure it's the best it can possibly be.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Difference between a Resume, a CV and a Biodata

As a business student currently facing the placement season, I sometimes feel that people expect me to know a lot more than I actually do especially when it comes to resumes or CVs and applying to jobs. While that is true most of the times, there have been times where some very basic and simple questions have stunned me into silence. For instance, when asked the difference between a resume, a CV and a biodata, for the world of me I could not think of any differences! 
I am sure many of you too must have been in this spot where you were completely stumped because you had no answer. Somewhere deep inside you know these are different types of letters, but you just can’t articulate what it is. Well, there is quite a bit of difference among the three and this article is dedicated to ensure no one is ever in this spot again!

Resume vs CV vs BiodataResume: The word “resume” is French for “summary” or “summarized” and a resume is quite literally just that – a summary of one’s work experience, education and skills. A resume is generally about a page long. It is said that a resume helps in getting one till an interview while it is the C.V. that aids one through the interview. We will talk about the C.V. after this. Since a resume is short, one tends to highlight specific skills and experience that would be relevant to the job they are applying to.

C.V.: C.V. is short for curriculum vitae. It is a Latin word meaning “course of life”. While the resume was a terse description of one’s education, skills and experience, a C.V. is a more detailed description of the same. It is generally 2-3 pages long and can even be longer – there is no word or page limit for a C.V.

It essentially captures everything a person has undergone and achieved be it education (like courses taken, honours or awards won for excelling at a particular subject, research papers written) employment (positions held, projects undertaken, appreciation for excellent work received) or skills (highlighting particular skills or talent that would help in doing well in the job). A C.V. generally also includes personal information like parent’s name, date of birth, address etc.

While both C.V.s and resume are used for applying to new jobs or job switch, the C.V. is also used for academic purpose in European countries, especially the UK and in the USA as well. While the UK C.V.s are generally shorter and more like the resumes, in USA C.V.s are expected to be longer and more detailed. In India, resumes and C.V.s are essentially the same. They are used as synonyms. Both resumes and C.V.s are typically used to screen applicants for a potential job opening.

Biodata: Biodata stands for “biographical data” and is an Indian concept especially used especially during marriage proposal talks. It includes anything and everything under the sun about the applicant – starting from personal information like age, gender, height, weight, religion etc, to education, employment, salary etc. While biodata is often used for application for Government jobs, it is not popular in the international circle where personal information about the candidate is not required.

Well, I hope this article cleared the eternal confusion of Resume vs CV vs Biodata!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Fresher’s Job Application Letter Format

If you are fresh out of university and looking for your first job, start with short listing the companies you wish to apply to and the kind of work you want to do. Once you are through with that, it’s time to write your job application letters.

As a fresher, you don’t have much work experience to show, so it’s important you highlight your academic achievements and any leadership roles you took up as part of the university club or the societies you were part of.

Always remember, your employer is basically looking for something which will convince him that you can deliver results when under pressure. So if you were the captain of your school basketball team, make sure you talk about it.

Here is a sample job application letter sample for a fresh graduate.

Mark Frontnote,
Graduate Program in Computer Science,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

To,
The Talent HRBP
Qualcomm Inc

San Diego,

California, United States


Dear Talent BPHR

I am writing this email in response to your university campus recruitment drive planned at MIT.

My name is Mark Frontnote and I am a student of the Master’s Program in Computer Science at MIT. I am in my final trimester at the university and I am recipient of the prestigious XYZ Scholarship. You can refer to some of my research publications on the university website here.

I am passionate about the advances happening in the field of connected devices and the Internet of Things and I think pursuing a career with Qualcomm will allow me to work with the best minds in the area and continue my research while contributing to the success of the organisation.   

Apart from academic interests, I work with the Environmental Sciences department for spreading awareness about the environmental impacts of Oil Exploration in the African continent. I am also an active member of the Toastmasters Club at MIT and play with the university soccer team.

I request you to kindly reserve a slot for me to interview with your organisation during your upcoming university drive.

I can be contacted at the below mentioned coordinates.

Warm Regards!

Mark Frontnote.
Student, Graduate Program in Computer Science
MIT
Email | Mobile | LinkedIn


While you practice writing your application letters, make sure you have drafted a winningresume and cover letter. Browse more resources on this site and you the comment section below if you want to share your experiences of landing your first job.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Job Application Letter Format

The quality of your job application letter more or less determines your chances of landing the interview call. Seasoned recruiters can scan through you job application letter and can easily figure out if you are a genuine candidate and if you really posses those credentials required for the job.

Job applications are written in block format and are generally emailed along with your resume and cover letter. A job application letter differs from your cover letter by describing your specific interest in the profile and the organisation and also how you found out about this position.

A good sample of a job application letter for the post of the Chief Accountant is given below. If you are a fresher and looking for your first job the contents of the letter change and you should refer to the Fresher’s Job Application Letter.


David Webb,
34111 Milton St
Fremont, CA 94555
United States.

To,
The Recruitment Manager,
Smithson and Associates,
1050 S Van Ness Ave,
San Francisco, CA 94110

United States.

Dear Recruitment Manager

I am writing this email in response to the vacancies posted by your organisation on Linkedin.com.

My name is David Webb and I am a Chartered Accountant with seven years of experience in handing corporate finance, internal audits and treasury roles. I am currently employed at Shaw & Co. as Associate Accountant, Corporate finance.

During my tenure I have lead a team of 5 junior accountants and consistently achieved 100% compliance with internal and external audit guidelines.

I request you to consider my candidature for the post of Chief Accountant at Smithson and Associates. I have attached my Resume and Cover Letter with this email for your perusal.

I can be contacted at the below mentioned coordinates.

Warm Regards!

David Webb
Chartered Accountant

The above sample will give you an idea on how to draft your job application letter and use it to give a brief introduction about yourself. More should be followed in with a well formatted resume and a convincing cover letter.


Do write in your suggestions and share this template with your friends and colleagues by using the sharing options below. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Block Format for Business Letters

The style and format for writing business letters has evolved over the past several decades and has adjusted itself to more or less the corporate culture of its times. The most commonly followed and universally accepted business letter format of the present times is the Block format of writing business letters.

Apart from the Block Format there are also two more formats namely the Modified Block Format and the Semi-Block Format. But we recommend that you follow the block format of business letters unless specified otherwise by your organisation.

Business Letter Format – The Block Format
The block format is the simplest format to follow and specifies that all the content of the business letter should be left aligned and justified. Note that you don’t indent at all in the block format or block style. Have a look at the following sample business letter to understand the different elements of the block format of business letters.


2130 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130                                                  I – Return Address
United States
Single space
June 21, 2015                                                                II – Current Date
Two to three spaces
Mrs. Katie Ross                                                             
The Admissions Dept, Rockefeller College
61 Nassau St                                                                  III – Inside Address
Princeton, NJ 08542
United States
Double space
Dear Mrs Katie Ross:                                                     IV – Salutation
Double space
Subject: Application for scholarship                                V – Subject Line       
Double space
I write to you to know the status of my application for admission into the prestigious fellowship program at Rockefeller College....................
Double space
The details of my application are as follows................... VI - Body 
Double space
Please update me with the status as soon as possible. I have also enclosed a copy of my application for reference......
Double space
Sincerely yours,                                                              VII – Closing

                       Four to five spaces for signature           VIII – Signature


Jonathan Webb                                                              IX – Printed Name
Student
Double space
Enclosures (2)
1.    Application Letter
2.    Application Form                                                       X - Enclosures
Double space
Reference Initials                                                           XI – Reference Initials



Margins and Paper: A Business Letter is always written on a standard 8”x 11”A4 size paper with 1” to 1.5” margin on the each side of the paper. Official letters are printed on a bond paper of good quality. The font has to a standard font out of Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman or Verdana. 

I – Return Address: The address of the sender is written without the name of the sender. There is no heading or any indent and the address line starts on the left.

II – Current Date: The date is written after a single space starting with the month eg. January 10, 2015 or starting with the day followed by the month eg. 10 January, 2015. The comma is always placed before the year.

Refer to the sample above for line spacing mentioned in italics wherever applicable.
Business Letter Format in Block Style

III – Inside Address: The address of the recipient with the Name and designation of the recipient. If you are not sure of the designation it’s better to leave it blank. Note that both the return address and the inside address do not have any commas or full stops.

IV – Salutation: The salutation starts with a Dear followed by Mr. / Mrs. / Miss followed by full name and ends with a colon. Some organisation prefer to leave out the word dear and simply address the recipient with Mr./ Mrs/ Miss. A doctor should be addressed as Dr.

V – Subject Line: The subject line is very important and should be as concise as possible yet give the full context of the letter. Read more about how to write a professional business letter to get this right. The above sample is a type application letter.

VI – Body: The main content of the letter is written mainly in three to four paragraphs. The first paragraph is the introduction followed by the details and third and fourth paragraphs are action points and conclusion respectively. Double line spaces are left after each paragraph. The body changes as per the different types of business letters and needs to be modified accordingly.

VII – Closing: The closing of the letter is used to establish your position with respect to the recipient. It tells the reader that you have finished and is usually written as ‘Sincerely yours’ or ‘Thanking you’. Notice that only the first letter is capitalised and not each letter. Keep this short to two to three words.

VIII – Signature: This is where you sign. Leave enough space of four to five lines so that you signature is just above your printed name.

IX – Printed Name: Your printed name along with your designation. Again there are no commas or full stops in here too.

X – Enclosure/s: If there is only one enclosure mention it in front of the word <Enclosure:>. If you have more than one enclosures the mention the number of enclosures other than the letter itself in the brackets as shown above. Then write the document names and reference numbers of each enclosure in a ordered list below it.

XI – Reference Initials: (Optional) if you have marked cc or bcc to any other department mention it here.

This is about it! Congratulations! You can now draft those perfect professional business letters in the block format. However it’s always good to have a look at some business letter templates or application letters and understand the process of drafting good quality business letters.

Found this article useful or feel there is something we left out? Let us know through the comments section below.


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