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CVs and letters of application


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Sizing Up Serviceability - The Little Things That Add Up to Big Dollars
An Information Multi-Millionaire
Socialising in business
The manager
CVs and letters of application
The interview
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IT and Human Interaction

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CVs and letters of application

1. Lead-in

Consider the following questions:

  1. What information do you think you have to give in a curriculum vitae?
  2. What is the role of the letter of application?
  3. To what extent do the CV and the letter of application represent oneís suitability for a certain position?
  4. What aspects referring to your private life are of real interest to your potential employer?
  5. What personal quality do you consider to recommend you as a potential reliable employee?


The most common contents of a CV include:

Personal Details

Skills and Career Summary

Key Achievements


Career History

Don't forget: The ultimate test of YOUR CV is whether it meets the needs of the person making the buying decision, and whether YOU feel comfortable with its content and style.


a) Look at the structure of a CV.




Date of birth:


Marital status:





(you can mention your employment periods either in ascending or in descending order; you may want to mention outstanding achievements during each period)


(mention any training courses or periods of part-time employment that you consider relevant)


(mention your favourite pastime activities, organisations or associations that you may belong to especially if they are in a field relevant to the position you are applying for)


(give two or three names of persons who have known you for some time and can recommend you for the job)

b) Consider the following advice on writing a letter of application (also called covering letter).

The letter of application introduces you and your CV to a recruitment consultant or potential employer. Such a letter should contain three distinct parts:

Introduction and statement of source

Statement of relevance to role advertised


Introduction and Statement of Source

The first section should clearly state the source of the advertisement, ie the newspaper name, Internet or other source, the date that it was advertised, the job number and reference number, if provided.

Examples of the first paragraph in a letter of application are:

'I am writing to express my interest in applying for the role of Sales Manager, advertised in The Times on 13 May, 2000, Reference number MX/67845.'


'Following our recent conversation, I am writing to express my interest in the position of Architect that was advertised on your Internet site on 13 February, 2000.'

The purpose of this first paragraph is to clearly put you in the running for the job you have applied for. Busy recruiters recruit a number of positions with similar titles at the same time, and advertise these on similar dates. The first paragraph should give you a fighting chance for the job by at least getting your application into the right pile.

Statement of Relevance to Advertised Role

The second section of your letter of application should clarify why you are an appropriate candidate for this particular job. In preparing to write the second section, you should read the advertisement clearly and identify the selection criteria articulated in the advertisement. You should also be guided by conversations that you have had with recruitment consultants or company recruiters, so that you clearly understand what they think is important in the role. They often give you extra clues that are not in the advertised media. How you express this section is up to you. For example, you might be more comfortable with the succinct:

'I believe I am ideally suited to this role because I have over 15 years experience in sales, tertiary qualifications, managed accounts in excess of £10,000 etc, etc'

or you may prefer bullet-point form, for example:

'I believe I am ideally suited to this role because:

I have 15 years experience in sales

I have tertiary qualifications in sales and marketing

I have managed accounts well in excess of £10,000'

Concluding Section

In concluding your letter, express your interest in the job and provide any particular contact details that may be unique, for example:

'I look forward to discussing this application with you in the near future. I can be contacted on XXX or alternatively, XXX during work hours.'

Another example might be:

'I look forward to discussing this application with you in greater detail in the near future and will be available for interview at a mutually convenient time.'


3. Writing

3.1. Using the models above, write a CV and a letter of application in response to the following job advertisement:

Research Executive / Executive Assistant

We are currently looking for researchers to join MORI's Social Research Institute.

  • To fill these roles you will need the following skills & experience:
  • An understanding of issues facing the public sector and their relevance to SRI's work
  • An ability to work on a wide range of research projects under the supervision of a project manager
  • First class report writing skills
  • An understanding of the demands of working in commercial environment
  • An ability to work on a number of different projects simultaneously and to prioritise a demanding workload

A Research Executive is generally expected to have at least 1-2 years' relevant research experience, while those with less experience generally join at the Executive Assistant level.

To find out more about our work, visit the Social Research Institute.

If you're interested in this vacancy, please send your CV and your letter of application to

Deborah Poole

Human Resources Administrator

MORI House

79-81 Borough Road





3. Fill in the blanks in the following text with the words and phrases given below:

ago among hygiene suppliers brand

styling sales market field worldwide

kind leading since consistent continuously

its foundation over 126 years our company has put focus on customer oriented product development.

The Schwarzkopf & Henkel division is one of the largest of its in the world and its -name products business is expanding. With our cosmetic products we achieved of 2085 million Euro (2001) in 150 countries . We hold market positions in all of the international segments of our strategic business units. Our company stands for brand-name products in the of hair colorants, hair and care, toiletries, skin care, oral and fragrances. The Schwarzkopf Professional hairdressing unit is the worldís four leading of hair salon products.


3. Look up the following phrasal verbs. Fill in the blanks in the sentences below with the required tense form of the suitable phrasal verb.

break in break off break out break through break with

look after look for look forward to look into look out

The meeting was interrupted when the secretary to say that the building was on fire.

  1. They negotiations weeks ago because of the financial crisis.
  2. The value of our shares fell dramatically when the scandal about the merger .
  3. The new management had almost no difficulty in the lines of competition.
  4. We are deeply sorry, but we had to our allies after more than one flaw were identified in the contract.
  5. We are very disappointed to find out that our MD is always his own interests only.
  6. Our company an experienced production manager.
  7. In conclusion, we for your reply.
  8. We will have to the possibility of hiring more PR assistants.
  9. If you donít you may end up in bankruptcy.

4. Language focus: The tense system: Present Perfect Continuous

4.1. The tense system: Present Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Continuous/ Progressive

Form: to be (in the present perfect) + verb + ing:

He has been writing for two hours. Has he been writing?/ Yes, he has. No, he hasnít.

It indicates:

an action or situation in progress (and not the completion of that action): I have been reading the book.

Temporary actions or situations: Iíve been living in London (for two years).

Actions in the recent past we know about because of a present evidence: You are wet. You have been walking in the rain.

Actions indicating Ďhow longí something has been going on: How long have you been playing chess?

If you want to emphasize a situation in progress and not its completion present perfect progressive can be used with verbs like: see, hear, look, taste, smell, want, realize, remember: Iíve been wanting to meet you for ages.


If you want to emphasize the completion of the action, present perfect is used: Iíve always wanted a good computer.

there are verbs that suggest an action in progress by their meaning: live, rain, sit, study, wait, work (they can be used both with the present perfect simple and the present perfect progressive, with little difference in meaning): He has worked/ has been working in this office for two years.

4. Choose the correct form of the verb in the following sentences:

  1. This morning our secretary has written/has been writing more than twenty letters to our suppliers.
  2. I have been applying/have applied for various jobs since September.
  3. They have been trying/have tried to attract them into a profitable partnership for a very long time, but with little success.
  4. Our production manager has made/has been making the same mistake again.
  5. How many times have you brought up/have you been bringing up the issue of working overtime in a production meeting?
  6. Sales figures have improved/have been improving lately.
  7. He has answered/has been answering the phone since 10 oíclock. Thatís why he is so tired.
  8. We havenít seen/havenít been seeing our partner since the end of July.
  9. The candidate hasnít said/hasnít been saying a word about his qualifications yet.
  10. Why havenít we thought/havenít we been thinking of this solution earlier? It could have saved us.

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