It is a very specific letter, which describes your desire to win over the human resources officer and to make yourself so interesting that you get a chance to participate in another round of the recruitment process and in the interview. It also is possible to describe your professional goals, and/or to explain why you have decided to seek this or that particular position or why you have addressed that particular company. It is well known that experienced human resources officers are quite quick in assessing the curriculum vitae and the motivation letters during the initial recruitment process. They devote as little as half a minute to it and a universally styled motivation letter will not attract the attention of such human resources officers.
The presentation of your capabilities and of what you have on offer should be adjusted to fit the nature of the position, which you have been seeking, and to reflect your interest in the given organisation. Think of what you want to stress about yourself and about your qualities and expectations in half a page. If you lack experience in drafting motivation letters, just imagine the situation when you are sitting in your selected company and wish to introduce yourself briefly to the human resources specialist, and want to stress your assets and the reasons why he or she should re-read your curriculum vitae and invite you for the next round of the recruitment process for the given position. Your letter should explain briefly and clearly who you are and why it is particularly you who fits the given position. Make use of any information you can get hold of about the given position and the company. The motivation letter, unlike the curriculum vitae itself, will give your employer the chance to identify your capabilities in writing concise and meaningful sentences. You should pay the utmost attention to the text, and be careful of your grammar. If you apply for a position in a specific industry, make it a point to use professional terminology.
Make a brief and descriptive introduction. Try to capture the other person’s attention, if you have a quality to do that. It may be useful, for example, to underline your previous position which corresponds to the advertised job or relates closely to it.Body
Point out some specific items in your curriculum vitae which meet the most important criteria stressed by the employer. Do not write too much detail about them: their detailed description should be reserved for the curriculum vitae. A positive impression can be achieved by a reference to a creditworthy referee who has shown extraordinary satisfaction in your work.Conclusion
You may refer the human resources officer to enclosures to your e-mail or letter where they can study your curriculum vitae. It is good idea to insert such inviting sentence as: I shall be happy to discuss my experience and qualifications with you in person, should my letter be of interest to you. In the conclusion, do not forget to stress what exactly was so enchanting for you in respect of the company, why you want to work for it, and to participate – together with other staff – in achieving its common goals.
Do not forget to include your contact details (a mobile or any other telephone number, e-mail, address) at the end of your cover letter, even though it is part of the curriculum vitae. If you respond to an advertisement by post, the cover letter should definitely be signed in your own hand.
Cover letter – a must with a curriculum vitae.
As the document’s name indicates, a cover letter is a letter accompanying your curriculum vitae. Its simplest form contains a short line saying, for example, "Enclosed, please, find my curriculum vitae". However, such a simple form is not the most suitable one. It is a better idea to turn your cover letter into a proper motivation letter.
Properly composed curriculum vitae together with a well drafted motivation letter may do wonders for your application. Therefore, I recommend not to underestimate the synergic effect of both documents and to pay the utmost attention to the drafting of both of them.
A motivation letter, in the first place, should briefly introduce yourself. Give proper thought to how exactly you want to present yourself to your potential employer in two sentences; in other words, which basic information about yourself is the most important. An example: "My name is Jan Novák, I graduated from the Prague School of Economics, specialised in finance, and I am currently employed as the chief accountant in a company called..."
Immediately after such an introduction, you should explain which position you are seeking (if you are responding to an offer of a specific job) or why you have decided to send you curriculum vitae to that specific company (if you address your potential employer with a spontaneous request for available jobs).
Furthermore, specify your motivation for your response. In order to be able to describe properly your motivation in your letter, make sure you have given serious thought to why exactly you would like to hold a specific position or to work for a specific company, and why you should be given the relevant job.
Examples of the most frequent motivations:
Applicants very often apply fairly one-sided approaches when describing their motivation – they only talk about their incentives and fail to present any "benefits", which they could offer to the company. Nevertheless, a motivation letter represents an outstanding opportunity of how to stimulate your potential employer to invite you for a personal interview. Let the potential employer know why they should want to meet with you, face to face, make a detailed description of your achievements, communication capabilities, special skills, and – basically – anything that makes you different from the rest of the applicants.
In conclusion, make your curriculum vitae inviting to read and apply a suitable closing sentence to wind up the letter.
This procedure is also suitable if you submit your curriculum vitae to a placement agency or if sending your application via a web interface. Almost always the electronic forms of agencies and direct employees offer a box or space for comments, or an invitation or a direct option of attaching other documents, apart from your curriculum vitae. Any additional documents should always comprise a motivation letter.
Let experts tell you how to further improve your curriculum vitae.
Have you been involved in a trading position over the past five years and now you are seeking a position in marketing? Explain in your CV (e.g., in the part dealing with professional goals) why you have decided to do so, so that the human resources officers do not get the impression that you made a mistake or that you have spammed them.
Many companies apply a so-called "run-up" plan to new sales people, which would respect a gradual improvement of your sales results in the context of a step-by-step introduction process and building up of your commercial opportunities.
Unless such conditions have been duly agreed upon, you may be unpleasantly surprised by the speed in which you are expected to deliver sales results. If, e.g., an absence of product training and process of adaptation in the company is added, it may well happen that you will "succumb" to pressure exerted upon you.
Just imagine that you have applied for the position of a "Key Account Manager". Many sales people see it as an advantage (judging, at least, from the title of the position) that they will be in charge of expanding cooperation with existing customers. So far, so good. But when joining their employment, they will find out that – yes, they will be responsible for maintaining key clients, but that they must recruit them first...
As long as this fact is duly revealed in the job description, everything is all right but unfortunately I have come across many cases during my practice that a company, in an effort to entice high-quality applicants, intentionally picks an over-exaggerated title for the position and keeps the job description secretive during interviews, claiming that "details will be provided after starting the job".
Therefore, it is advisable to have the job description explained in as much detail as possible before signing the employment contract, in order to prevent any future disappointment.Client portfolio
In particular, sales people with previous practical experience possess portfolios of personal contacts in various companies with whom they cooperated in their previous employments. All beginnings are difficult so it goes without saying that you will attempt to look for your clients where you have your contacts. It is recommended that any such intention should be discussed as part of your interview. Experience shows that it may be a major de-motivating factor if such matters are not agreed beforehand, you are assigned unknown clients after starting with the company where you are supposed to start "from scratch"–while having been requested to pass your own contacts to another colleague of yours who deals with "your" customers.Programme of adaptation and initial training
Each company has its own unique know-how. If you are supposed to become a successful representative of any such company, you must be in the know about all important areas. They include, in particular, product training, information about price offers, delivery terms and conditions, auxiliary services, and so on. We can come across such a situation, in particular in small firms, that they do not have a standardised process of adaptation in place. A new sales person is thus "thrown in the deep end" and it is up to them to show how they will cope. If combined with excessively busy colleagues, unavailable supervisors or a "non-cooperating" corporate culture, we have a problem. Although we are more than happy to learn new things, there is simply no way how to do this. Your potential to sell anything is down to a minimum.
Therefore, it is proper to have also this area included in the introductory negotiations about joining the company. You should ask how, by whom and when you will be trained in respect of products, use of price calculators, internal information systems, etc.
Certainly one of the first questions you will encounter when getting ready for an interview will concern "…what am I supposed to wear?" Even though managers of Internet firms wearing worn jeans and T-shirts will argue the opposite, it is still valid that in employment, and specially when seeking a job, you should not commit the sin of wearing informal attire.The first impression – five seconds may make the difference
The rules governing interpersonal communication are now more lenient than before, and therefore also the dress code has been fairly liberalised. In spite of this, do not forget – sinning against a formal style of dress does not pay off. E.g., short sleeves, which used to be considered a taboo, are now accepted, at least in part. However, if you decide to seek a new and possibly a better paid job wearing a pink jacket dating back to the golden era of private enterprise, a tie sporting Mickey Mouse or Snow White, short trousers revealing white dotted red socks in worn down patent shoes, then it is almost certain that your chances of getting such a new job will drop rapidly.
You mostly meet with unknown people at interviews and so you only have five seconds to present yourself as best as possible to your potential new boss. Generally speaking, it applies to dress codes for business meetings (including interviews!) that too much of a good thing may prove simply too much! Two patterns will do: If you wear a jacket with a pattern and a tie with a pattern, then put on an exclusively plain shirt, preferably white or light blue. Ladies, too, should refrain from any fashion excesses; it is not recommended to wear close-fitting dresses, which do not allow you to sit down, plunging necklines, too much jewellery or evening makeup. One more piece of advice for ladies: a ladder may spoil your stockings at any time, so it is a good idea to carry an extra paid in your handbag; it may save the day for you in an emergency.
The higher in the corporate hierarchy, the more classical, higher-quality, and conservative your clothes should be. Bank directors still wear grey suits to this day, including a waistcoat and white or blue shirt complete with a suitable tie. Consultants can afford to wear lighter jackets in the grey or beige, and/or fashionable khaki. Employees of computer firms need not fear any negative response if they turn up in more casual attire. The cost of good-quality clothes is not cheap in the majority of cases but it pays to invest in them. Whoever wants to get promoted should also indicate their aspirations by adapting their look, that is, by wearing appropriate clothes.Each colour offers a specific message
Colours speak with their own language. A blue colour indicates reliability and respectability; therefore it is worn by lawyers, executive directors or bankers. Before you invest in any new attire, try to seek advice from experts on colours who can help you find those colours which suit you best, and also their appropriate combinations. A wardrobe fitted out with deliberation will also let you combine various items so that you do not have to wear identical clothes all the time.
In order to ensure success prior to each election process, get ready carefully for such an interview. We definitely recommend not to underestimate due preparation because – at times – a minor detail may decide about the success or failure during such a recruitment process.
Not later than in the evening before the interview, make sure what position you have applied for in the company and do not forget to study the profile of the firm (at least on its web site). Find out information about products, services, the corporate culture, etc., and also about the person who will conduct the interview – his or her position on the organisational chart or the position held by such person. Accordingly, you can anticipate questions, which you may be asked.
Furthermore, check the address of the venue of the interview and identify the easiest way to the headquarters of the company. It is important to plan your journey properly and to come in time to the meeting. Ideally, 5-10 minutes prior to the time of the interview. You will have enough time to get used to the new environment. As soon as you enter the reception, be pleasant – you never know who is going to decide about hiring you.
Always switch off your mobile telephone. If you forget it and your mobile phone should ring, say you are sorry and switch off the phone immediately. You are definitely not expected to take the call and/or settle your affairs in the course of the interview.
The interview itself does not only concern an explanation of your curriculum vitae, therefore, it is not correct to only repeat information as quoted in your curriculum vitae. In order to simplify its structure, the curriculum vitae should be divided into three main spheres, namely: education, professional experience, out of work activities (interests, hobbies).
Get ready all documents and information which you will need during the interview. Consider your clothes which you will present yourself in at the interview. General recommendation has it that men should wear a suit while ladies should wear a formal dress. Such a presentation at the first meeting does not mean that the applicant should dress like that every day but your suitable clothes indicate from the very first moment that you wish to show interest and that you have duly prepared for the interview.
Be positive and natural during the entire meeting. Give a brief explanation of your curriculum vitae with special attention paid to your professional as well as leisure activities. It is important to show interest in the offered position and in the company itself, in case the company makes a good impression on you.
During the interview, avoid questions about your salary, do not attempt to conduct the discussion and keep your answers at a professional level. Listen without interrupting, do not use jargon or colloquial language, answer any question in a matter-of-fact and precise manner, do not slander either your previous or current employers.
When invited, ask questions about the areas which interest you – but always have ready an explanation as to why you are interested in that particular question.
At the end of the interview, it is proper to thank the interviewer for the time they devoted to you, and to ask about the future course of the recruitment process. Some applicants also send an e-mail thanking for the interview and confirming their interest in the continuation of the recruitment process. Such a gesture is usually appreciated; however, I recommend reserving an e-mail only to cases where you are really interested in the given position.
Do not let yourself get discouraged by a possible failure. Take an unsuccessful interview as preparation for the subsequent one and try to learn from your previous mistakes.
You can count with questions regarding your knowledge and existing experience. However, it is quite possible that also the following questions may be asked during an interview:What do you know about this company?
Do find out which industry the company is involved in, what it deals in, who its clients are, who its owners are, where it has its branches, etc. Most information is usually to be found on the company web site.How did you get your previous job and why do you leave it?
No room for personal development, desire for new experience and knowledge represent acceptable reasons. Of course, it depends on your specific situation.What work have you found most interesting so far?
Be open, however, do not list only the simplest and time least consuming activities.Describe your best qualities / successes achieved so far?
Do not hesitate to say positive things about yourself, you are "selling" yourself to your future employer and he or she wants quality goods.What are your weaknesses, and/or failures?
Be specific, and – if possible – add immediately a description of the ways of how you coped with it, how you resolved your failure and learned your lesson from it.What pay would you expect?
Do find out the usual salary paid for the position which you are seeking, and try to take it into consideration.Can you give us any references?
Do not let yourself be taken aback by such a question and always have a list of referees ready, and/or contacts to people in your previous job who could give you references.
Most of us have already heard various "horror" stories from job interviews – about applicants making telephone calls, having a snack, combing their hair, etc., during an interview. Of course, we should not make such mistakes. On the other hand, we tend to overlook some other "minor" mistakes, which may deprive us of a new job. What are they?