ENG301 Business Communication Spring 2014 Current and Past Final Term Papers

NG301 - Business Communication FAQs By


Question: I’ve invested a lot of time in my CV but I don’t want to ruin it all with a bad cover
letter, what are the common mistakes people make when writing their cover letter?
Answer: We are all aware of the impact that first impressions can make (i.e. positive or
negative) and job seekers should not under estimate the power of an effective cover letter and
the vital importance in preparing a suitably tailored one. A cover letter is the initial “stepping
stone to job success”. The overall purpose of a typical cover letter is to introduce yourself,
highlight key skills/experience/interest that complements your CV. It should generate sufficient
interest to a prospective employer to proceed to read the CV. The Recruitment, Selection and
ultimate appointment of any position is a step-by-step logical process in that candidates should
typically do well at each stage to successfully progress to the next – i.e. from the initial
screening (cover letter and CV/Application Form), comprehensive screening (interview,
psychometric testing etc) through to actual final selection. Remember, that in an ever
increasing competitive marketplace, Job Seekers may be vying for vacancies against
tens/hundreds or more of other candidates. Job Seekers should put 100% effort into every
stage of the selection process (which often varies from job-to-job and from company-to-
company); endeavor to clearly distinguish them apart from the crowd and make
screening/selection as easy as possible for the recruiter/employer. Some of the common cover
letter mistakes encountered (and to be avoided) include:- Too long/detailed, too short or
absent. Illegible handwriting, spelling mistakes, uneasy to follow/understand.
Impolite/somewhat arrogant language. Lack of reference to the job in question. Not stating
reason for job interest and personal statement of suitability. Irrelevant information about self
to the job in question. Unprofessional/ casual/inappropriate language. Duplication of
information already contained within CV Highlighting lack of experience in certain areas. One
statement only letters – i.e. “please find attached my CV for your perusal”. Unsigned letters.
Question: Should I discuss my CV in the cover letter?
Answer: Yes, but in summary only and in highlighting your suitability based on the factual
information contained within the job advertisement and/or job description.– i.e.
qualifications/skills, experience, accomplishments etc. The Cover letter is designed to ‘wet the


employer’s appetite’, so to speak, and is not intended as a replacement or duplication of a
person’s CV. It should interest the employer so that they read the CV in full. Anticipate any
negative questions an employer may ask and try to answer positively within the cover letter.
For example, if you are lacking a particular industry experience, address other aspects of your
background that might complement or compensate. Perhaps you have worked in a similar role
across diverse industries, just not this particular one; you should indicate your proven versatility
and the value this would bring to the role. If you are lacking particular management experience
in an employment capacity but have all other relevant experience ie you may have gained
management experience from a leisure / interest capacity or voluntary experience, this can be
stated. The cover letter is an opportunity to display your personal attitude, motivation,
potential suitability for the role/company and availability and to give the employer/recruiter a
positive impression of your potential suitability.
Question: Should my cover letter differ when applying online or applying via email? and
what personal details should I include?
Answer: Include contact details; name, address and contact daytime number. All other
information should be specific to your suitability to do the job well and fit the company. Cover
letters contents for the same job should not be different whether applying on line or otherwise.
You should attach cover letter with CV when sending via email OR use cover letter in main body
of email and attach CV.
Question: Is there a standard layout my cover letter should follow?
Answer: As a general guideline, one page max with two to three concise and courteous
paragraphs as follows:- Introduction – reason for writing. Refer to the job and where you saw it
advertised. Quote the job reference as letter title. Main Part – What you have to offer, why you
are interested, and why you applied? This may vary from job to job. Conclusion – Next steps –
attach CV, and indicate your interest/availability/flexibility in being called for interview to
discuss job and your suitability further.

Question: Does one cover letter cover all applications or should it be tailored?
Answer: Usually not - cover letters should be tailored for each job applied for as it may
require a different emphasis on certain and varying aspects of your career which could

undoubtedly vary from job to job. Your CV will always remain the same but the cover letter is
your opportunity to highlight what, in particular, you can bring to the position and company.
Many job seekers find the cover letter the most difficult task in applying for jobs in trying to link
their backgrounds with the job/company in question.
Question: Does my cover letter have to be typed?
Answer: Cover letters do not have to be typed but we would recommend doing so;
particularly if handwriting is poor or somewhat unclear. The last thing any applicant should aim
to achieve is to make life difficult for a prospective employer and create a negative impression.
This may somewhat affect your opportunity for progression / overall success which could have
been avoided. If you do type your cover letter ensure you sign it before submitting. Remember,
for anyone applying for a role that involves secretarial/report writing work, the cover letter and
CV presentation may give an overall impression of work ethic/style/quality; in advance of any
interview.
Question: Please give some heading which could be used in writing an effective resume?
Answer: Typical CVs may include some or all of the following headings: Personal/Contact
Information --name --address --phone number(s) --email Academic Background --postgraduate
work --graduate work/degree(s), major/minors, thesis/dissertation titles, honors --
undergraduate degree(s), majors/minors, honors Professional Licenses/Certifications
Academic/Teaching Experience --courses taught, courses introduced --innovation in teaching --
teaching evaluations Technical and Specialized Skills Related/Other Experience --other work
experience Professional/Academic Honors and Awards Professional Development --
conferences/workshops attended, other activities Research/Scholarly Activities --journal
articles --conference proceedings --books --chapters in books --magazine articles --papers
presented/workshops --ezine articles --work currently under submission --work in progress
Grants Service --academic --professional --community Academic/Research Interests
Affiliations/Memberships Foreign Language Abilities/Skills Consulting Volunteer Work
References
Question: You don't always need to send a cover letter with your resume when applying
for a job.

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Answer: FALSE. Unless an employer specifically states in a classified ad or job posting not
to send a cover letter, you should always send a cover letter -– no matter the method of
delivery, even when you are faxing or emailing your resume. Cover letters serve a vital purpose
in the job search process and serve to focus your qualifications and skills for the job at hand as
well as opening a window to your personality.
Question: What is the difference between CV and Resume?
Answer: Vitas and resumes both have similar purposes -– as marketing documents that
provide key information about your skills, experiences, education, and personal qualities that
show you as the ideal candidate. Where a resume and a curriculum vitae differ is their use,
format, and length. A curriculum vitae -– often called a CV or vita -- tends to be used more for
scientific and teaching positions than a resume. Thus, vitas tend to provide great detail about
academic and research experiences. Where resumes tend toward brevity, vitas lean toward
completeness. Unlike resumes, there is no set format to vitas. While vitas do not have the one-
page rule of resumes, you need to walk the line between providing a good quality of depth to
showcase your qualifications and attract potential employer interest and providing too much
information thus appearing verbose and turning off potential employer interest.