By Kenneth Beare, About.com Guide
Understanding your potential employer can help you get the job you are looking for. This section focuses on developing interviewing skills that will help you prepare for a job interview in an English speaking country.
The Personnel Department
The personnel department is responsible for hiring the best possible candidate for an open position. Often hundreds of applicants apply for an open position. In order to save time, the personnel department often uses a number of methods to select applicants who they would like to interview. Your cover letter and resume must be perfect in order to ensure that you will not be looked over because of a minor mistake. This unit focuses on the various documents required for a successful job application, as well as interviewing techniques and appropriate vocabulary to use in your resume, cover letter and during the job interview itself.
Finding a Job
There are many ways to find a job. One of the most common is looking through the positions offered section of your local newspaper. Here is an example of a typical job posting:
Due to the enormous success of Jeans and Co., we have a number of job openings for shop assistants and local management positions.
Successful candidates will have a high school degree with at least 3 years working experience and two current references. Desired qualifications include basic computer skills. Key responsibilities will include operating cash-registers and providing customers with any help they may need.
Successful candidates will have a college degree in business administration and management experience. Desired qualifications include management experience in retail and thorough knowledge of Microsoft's Office Suite. Responsibilities will include management of local branches with up to 10 employees. Willingness to move frequently also a plus.
If you wish to apply for one of the above vacancies, please send a resume and cover letter to our personnel manager at:
Jeans and Co.
254 Main Street
Seattle, WA 98502
The Cover Letter
The cover letter introduces your resume or CV when applying for a job interview. There a few important things that need to be included in the cover letter. Most importantly, the cover letter should point out why you are particularly suited to the position. The best way to do this is to take the job posting and point out the highlights in your resume that exactly match the desired qualifications. Here is an outline to writing a successful cover letter. To the right of the letter, look for important notes concerning the layout of the letter signaled by a number in parenthesis ().
35 Green Road (1)
Spokane, WA 87954
April 19, 200_
Mr Frank Peterson, Personnel Manager (2)
Jeans and Co.
254 Main Street
Seattle, WA 98502
Dear Mr. Trimm: (3)
(4) I am writing to you in response to your advertisement for a local branch manager, which appeared in the Seattle Times on Sunday, June 15. As you can see from my enclosed resume, my experience and qualifications match this position's requirements.
(5) My current position managing the local branch of a national shoe retailers has provided the opportunity to work in a high-pressure, team environment, where it is essential to be able to work closely with my colleagues in order to meet sales deadlines.
In addition to my responsibilities as manager, I also developed time management tools for staff using Access and Excel from Microsoft's Office Suite.
Peter Townsled (7)
1 - Begin your cover letter by placing your address first, followed by the address of the company you are writing to.
2 - Use complete title and address; don't abbreviate.
3 - Always make an effort to write directly to the person in charge of hiring.
4 - Opening paragraph - Use this paragraph to specify which job you are applying for, or, if you are writing to inquire whether a job position is open question the availability of an opening.
5 - Middle paragraph(s) - This section should be used to highlight your work experience which most closely matches the desired job requirements presented in the job opening advertisement. Do not simply restate what is contained in your resume. Notice how the example makes a special effort to show why the writer is especially suited to the job position opening posted above.
6 - Closing paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to ensure action on the part of the reader. One possibility is to ask for an interview appointment time. Make it easy for the personnel department to contact you by providing your telephone number and email address.
7 - Always sign letters. "enclosure" indicates that you are enclosing your resume.