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A cover letter is typically used when applying for a job vacancy to introduce yourself to the recruitment company or the company  Human Resources department, to express your interest in the vacancy.  It is an add on to accompany your CV/Resume to increase your chances with the job application.

Essentially, you are looking to capture the attention of the hiring manager.

What is ideally included in a Cover Letter?

  • Firstly, you want to introduce yourself, so the cover letter gives you an opportunity to provide an introduction, explain who you are and the vacancy you are applying for and most importantly why you are interested in the position and the skills you have to match the criteria set in the job advertisement.
  • This is where you add a summary of your qualifications, skills etc and accomplishments that highlight you as a strong candidate for the position. You want to show the hiring manager how your skills align to their vacancy.
  • Always show enthusiasm. A well written cover letter demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job and company.  You can personalize this with some research you have done on the Company and why you ideally would like to work there.
  • Address any gaps or unique circumstances. Maybe you have a gap in your employment history with a valid reason that needs and explanation, and a cover letter allows an opportunity to raise this. You want to provide context and make the reader understand your background better.
  • Communication and writing skills. Being able to write an effective covering letter shows your ability to communicate professionally.  Employers often look at strong written communication skills – please take note of spelling and grammar too! Tools like Grammarly can assist you here.
  • Attention to detail – if you write an effective cover letter it shows you have taken time and effort and that always leaves a lasting good impression. And that of course is what you want the reader to remember you and make you and your CV stand out in the crowd.

Example of a Cover Letter

Please find example of Cover letter – courtesy of Zhureena Basadien of ATZ Consulting.
(Click on wording of cover letter and it will download in the background)

What are all aspects of the job search?

A convincing and compelling cover letter is crucial when applying for a job. It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself, highlight your qualifications, and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you write a compelling cover letter:

1. Header and contact information

At the top of your cover letter, include your name, address, phone number, and email address. Beneath that, have the date and the recipient’s contact information, such as their name, job title, company name, and address.

2. Salutation

Address the letter to the specific person who will be reviewing your application. If the job posting doesn’t mention a name, research who the hiring manager or relevant person is. Using “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [Company Name] Recruiter” is also acceptable if you can’t find a specific name.

3. Introduction paragraph

Start your letter with a strong opening that grabs the reader’s attention. State the position you’re applying for and how you learned about it. Express your enthusiasm for the role and briefly mention why you are interested in the company or organisation.

4. Body paragraphs

In the following one or two paragraphs, highlight your relevant skills, qualifications, and experiences. Connect them to the requirements and responsibilities mentioned in the job description. Provide specific examples to support your claims and demonstrate your competence. Use action verbs to describe your achievements and responsibilities in previous roles. Focus on what you can bring to the company and how your skills align with their needs.

5. Show your knowledge of the company

Research the company and include a sentence demonstrating your understanding of its goals, values, and recent achievements. This shows that you’ve taken the time to learn about them and are genuinely interested in working for them.

6. Address potential concerns

If you have any employment gaps, career changes, or other potential concerns, briefly positively address them. Explain how these experiences have helped you grow, develop new skills, or gain a unique perspective that can benefit the company.

7. Closing paragraph

Conclude your letter by reiterating your interest in the position and expressing your eagerness to discuss your qualifications further. Please mention that you have attached your resume or CV for their review. Thank the reader for their time and consideration.

8. Complimentary close and signature

Use a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your full name. If you’re sending a digital copy, you can type your name. If you’re sending a physical copy, leave space for your handwritten signature above your typed name.

9. Proofread and edit

Review your cover letter for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. Read it aloud to ensure it flows smoothly and makes sense. Consider asking a friend or mentor to review it, as a fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes you might have missed.

10. Formatting

Keep the letter concise, ideally fitting on one page. Use a professional font and a clean, readable format. Align your text to the left and use standard margins. Use bullet points or subheadings to break up long paragraphs and make them easier to read.

 

Remember, your cover letter should be tailored to each specific job application. Customise it for the company and position you’re applying to, showcasing your relevant skills and experiences. By following these guidelines, you can write a convincing and compelling cover letter that increases your chances of landing an interview.

 

And remember to have a look at our blog on how to compile a compelling resume:
https://www.icb.org.za/how-to-write-a-professional-resume/

 

And look at how you can prepare for that interview:

https://www.icb.org.za/art-of-effective-interview-responses/

 

Sources:
https://novoresume.com/career-blog/how-to-write-a-cover-letter-guide

CVThe job interview is the perfect opportunity to showcase your skills in the interview and convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate.

However, promoting and demonstrating your skills can be challenging, especially if you need help approaching them. In this blog, we’ll discuss some tips and strategies that you can use to promote and demonstrate your skills during a job interview effectively.

1. Research the company and the job requirements

Before attending the interview, thoroughly research the company and the job requirements. This will help you to understand the company culture, mission, and vision, as well as the specific skills and qualities required for the job. Knowing this information will allow you to tailor your responses during the interview to align with the company’s values and requirements.

2. Prepare specific examples

It’s one thing to claim you have a particular skill, but it’s another to demonstrate it with concrete examples. Think of specific situations in your experience where you have utilised the skill the company is looking for. Be prepared to talk about what you did, how you did it, and the positive results achieved. By doing so, you will be able to show the interviewer that you have the necessary skills and experience to excel in the role.

3. Use the STAR method

When providing examples of your skills, you must structure your answers effectively. One effective method is the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Start by describing the situation or problem, then explain the task you were given, followed by the action you took and, finally, the results you achieved. Using this method, you’ll be able to communicate your skills clearly and structured.

4. Highlight your unique qualities

In addition to your technical skills, it’s also important to highlight the unique qualities that make you stand out as a candidate. For example, you might have strong communication skills, be a team player, or have a positive attitude. Highlighting these qualities can make you more memorable and demonstrate that you would fit the company culture well.

5. Be confident but humble

Confidence is critical during a job interview, but balancing confidence and humility is essential. Avoid coming across as arrogant or overly boastful about your skills. Instead, be confident in your abilities, humble, and willing to learn and grow. This is essential when you want to showcase your potential and abilities during an interview.

 

In conclusion, promoting and showcasing your skills during a job interview requires preparation, structure, and confidence. By researching the company, preparing specific examples, using the STAR method, highlighting your unique qualities, and striking a balance between confidence and humility, you’ll be able to effectively showcase your skills and increase your chances of landing the job.

For more tips on how to prepare yourself for an interview, have a look at our other blogs on career preparation.

Sources:

https://www.indeed

 

Securing a new job opportunity often begins with a crucial step: the interview. The interview is your chance to showcase your skills, experiences, and suitability for the position. To maximise your chances of success, it’s essential to prepare well and master the art of answering interview questions effectively. This blog post will explore some valuable strategies to help you excel in your next interview and have the correct interview responses.

Understand the Job Requirements

Before attending an interview, carefully review the job description and requirements. Identify the key skills, qualifications, and attributes sought by the employer. Understanding these expectations allows you to tailor your responses to highlight relevant experiences and demonstrate how you meet their needs.

Practice Common Interview Questions and Responses

While it’s impossible to predict every question you’ll be asked, many interview questions tend to be commonly asked across industries. Take the time to research and practice answering questions related to your field. Prepare concise and impactful interview responses that showcase your abilities and achievements. This will boost your confidence and ensure you are well-prepared to tackle similar questions during the interview.

Use the STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Employing the STAR method can be highly effective when responding to behavioural or situational questions requiring specific examples. Begin by describing the context or situation, outline the task or challenge you faced, explain the actions you took to address it and conclude by discussing the positive results or outcomes. This structured approach helps you provide a clear and concise response while highlighting your problem-solving abilities and achievements.

Showcase Relevant Experiences

Employers are keen to learn about your past experiences and how they align with the role you are applying for. Use real-life examples from previous jobs, internships, or academic projects to support your answers whenever possible. Focus on experiences directly related to the skills and competencies required for the position. This approach demonstrates your ability to transfer your knowledge and expertise to the new role.

Demonstrate Good Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial during an interview. Speak clearly and confidently, ensuring that your answers are concise and to the point. Avoid rambling or providing excessive details. Listen attentively to the interviewer; if you need clarification, ask for it before responding. Practice active listening and engage in a dialogue, demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively.

Highlight Your Unique Selling Points

Consider what sets you apart from other candidates and emphasise these unique selling points during the interview. This could be a particular skill, a specialised certification, or a unique perspective gained from a diverse background. Articulate how these strengths make you a valuable asset to the company and how they align with their needs.

Stay Positive and Be Authentic

Maintain a positive and enthusiastic demeanour throughout the interview process. Be genuine and authentic, allowing your personality to shine through. Show your passion for the role and willingness to contribute to the organisation’s success. Employers evaluate your qualifications and determine if you will be a good fit for their team and company culture.

Conclusion

Mastering the art of answering interview questions effectively is a valuable skill that can significantly increase your chances of securing your dream job. By thoroughly understanding the job requirements, practising common interview questions and their responses, using the STAR method, showcasing relevant experiences, demonstrating good communication skills, highlighting your unique selling points, and staying positive and authentic, you can leave a lasting impression on interviewers. Remember, preparation and confidence are key to acing your next interview. Good luck!

Examples of interview questions and possible responses

1. Tell me about yourself.

“I have a strong background in marketing with five years of experience in digital marketing agencies. I specialise in social media marketing and have managed successful campaigns for several well-known brands. I’m a data-driven marketer who thrives on analysing campaign performance and optimising strategies for maximum results.”

2. Can you describe a situation where you faced a challenge and how you overcame it?

(Using the STAR method): “In my previous role, we faced a significant budget cut, which meant we had to find creative ways to maintain our marketing efforts. The situation was challenging, but I took it as an opportunity to leverage our existing resources more efficiently. I analysed our marketing channels, identified the ones that yielded the highest ROI, and focused our efforts on those. Additionally, I negotiated better deals with vendors, implemented cost-saving measures, and collaborated with the team to develop innovative low-cost campaigns. As a result, we maintained our marketing presence and achieved a 20% increase in conversions within six months.”

3. How do you handle tight deadlines and multiple priorities?

“I thrive in fast-paced environments and have developed effective time management skills to handle tight deadlines and multiple priorities. I prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance, create a schedule, and break down larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks. I also communicate with stakeholders to manage expectations and ensure everyone is aligned on project timelines. Additionally, I stay organised using project management tools and regularly reassess priorities to adapt to changing circumstances. This approach has allowed me to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work consistently.”

4. Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult team member or client.

“I thrive in fast-paced environments and have developed effective time management skills to handle tight deadlines and multiple priorities. I prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance, create a schedule, and break down larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks. I also communicate with stakeholders to manage expectations and ensure everyone is aligned on project timelines. Additionally, I stay organised using project management tools and regularly reassess priorities to adapt to changing circumstances. This approach has allowed me to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work consistently.”

5. Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult team member or client.

(Using the STAR method): “In my previous role, I had to collaborate with a difficult client who was often demanding and resistant to changes. I focused on building rapport and understanding their concerns to manage the situation effectively. I listened to their feedback, addressed their pain points, and consistently communicated our progress and results. By demonstrating transparency, patience, and empathy, I gained their trust and turned the relationship into a more collaborative and productive one. Ultimately, we successfully launched the project, exceeding their expectations and receiving positive feedback.”

 

Remember, these are just examples, and it’s essential to personalise your answers based on your own experiences and achievements. Practice these responses and tailor them to match your unique qualifications and the job requirements you’re applying for.

 

Need more tips for preparing yourself for the job market, make sure to have a look here.

 

Sources:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mastering-art-answering-interview-questions-tips-success-naseem

 

Your resume is your first opportunity to make a lasting impression on a potential employer. A well-crafted and professional resume can significantly increase your chances of landing an interview and ultimately securing your dream job. In this blog post, we will guide you through writing a professional resume that effectively highlights your skills, experience, and qualifications.

Start with a Solid Foundation

Begin by gathering all the necessary information, such as your contact details, education history, work experience, certifications, and relevant skills. Having these details organised and readily available will streamline the resume-writing process.

Choose the Right Format

There are several resume formats, including chronological, functional, and combination. The most common chronological format presents your work history in reverse chronological order. Select the layout that best suits your experience and the position you’re applying for.

Craft an Engaging Header

At the top of your resume, include your name, contact information (phone number and email address), and a link to your professional online profile, such as LinkedIn. Make sure the header stands out and is easy to read.

Write a Convincing Summary Statement

Your summary statement is a brief paragraph summarising your professional background, skills, and career goals. Tailor this section to align with the job you’re applying for, emphasising how your qualifications make you a strong fit for the role.

Highlight Your Work Experience

List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. Include the company name, job title, employment dates, and a concise description of your responsibilities and accomplishments in each role. Focus on quantifiable achievements and use action verbs to make your bullet points impactful.

Showcase Your Education

Include your educational background, starting with your most recent degree. Mention the institution’s name, degree earned, major (if applicable), and graduation date. If you have relevant certifications or additional training, include them in this section.

Spotlight Your Skills

Create a dedicated section to showcase your relevant skills. Include hard skills (technical abilities) and soft skills (communication, leadership, problem-solving). Tailor the skills section to match the job description’s requirements, using keywords that resonate with the employer.

Add an Extra Touch with Additional Sections

Consider including additional sections to strengthen your resume. For example, you could include a projects section to showcase relevant projects you’ve completed, a languages section if you are multilingual, or a professional affiliations section to demonstrate your involvement in industry-related organisations.

Pay Attention to Design and Formatting

Ensure your resume has a clean and professional design. Use a consistent font throughout, such as Arial or Calibri, and stick to a font size between 10 and 12 points: Utilise bullet points, headings, and subheadings to enhance readability. Proofread your resume carefully for any grammatical or typographical errors.

Tailor for Each Job Application

Customise your resume for each job application to highlight the most relevant skills and experiences. Analyse the job description, identify keywords, and incorporate them into your resume. This demonstrates your suitability for the role and shows that you have taken the time to understand the employer’s needs.

Conclusion

Writing a professional resume is a crucial step in securing job interviews. By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a compelling resume that effectively showcases your qualifications and increases your chances of landing your desired job. Remember to tailor your resume for each application and keep it concise, well-organized, and visually appealing. With a strong resume, you’ll be well on your way to impressing employers and securing exciting career opportunities.

An example of a professional resume

John Smith

123 Main Street, Anytown, Postcode Phone: (012) 123-4567 | Email: johnsmith@email.com | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/johnsmith

Summary:

Highly motivated and results-driven marketing professional with 5+ years of experience developing and executing successful digital marketing campaigns. Proven track record of driving brand awareness, increasing online visibility, and generating leads. Strong analytical skills and expertise in SEO, SEM, and social media marketing. Seeking a marketing manager position to leverage my skills and contribute to the growth of an innovative organisation.

Work Experience:

  • Digital Marketing Manager | XYZ Company | Anytown, Post code| 2018 – Present
    • Develop and implement comprehensive digital marketing strategies to increase brand visibility and drive customer engagement.
    • Manage a team of 5 marketing specialists and oversee all aspects of digital marketing campaigns, including SEO, SEM, email marketing, and social media.
    • Analyse campaign performance metrics using Google Analytics and make data-driven recommendations to optimise marketing efforts.
    • Increased website traffic by 40% and achieved a 25% growth in lead generation through targeted SEO and content marketing initiatives.
    • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to create and launch successful product launches and promotional campaigns.
  • Marketing Specialist | ABC Agency | Anytown, Postcode | 2015 – 2018
    • Managed multiple client accounts and executed digital marketing campaigns, including PPC advertising, social media, and email marketing.
    • Conducted in-depth market research and competitor analysis to identify growth opportunities and develop effective marketing strategies.
    • Implemented A/B testing methodologies to optimise landing pages and increase conversion rates.
    • Successfully increased social media following by 50% and improved email open rates by 30% through targeted audience segmentation and engaging content.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing | Anytown University | Anytown, Country | 2015
    • Relevant Coursework: Marketing Strategy, Consumer Behaviour, Digital Marketing, Market Research

 Skills:

  • Digital Marketing: SEO, SEM, PPC Advertising, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing
  • Analytical Tools: Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Hootsuite
  • Content Management Systems: WordPress, Joomla
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Team leadership and collaboration

 Certifications:

  • Google Ads Certification
  • HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

Remember, this is just an example, and you should tailor your resume to your experience, skills, and the specific job you’re applying for.

Sources:

https://www.jobseeker.com/en/resume

 

Been searching for a job and now the moment of truth, an interview date has been set!

What now?!

Interviews can be nerve-wrecking, but with preparation and practice, you can improve your interview skills and increase your chances of success.

Here are some interview skills and advice to help you prepare for your next job interview:

  1. Research the company: Before the interview, research the company and the position you are interviewing This will help you understand the company’s mision, culture and values and prepare you to answer questions about why you want to work there.
  2. Practice your responses: Practice answering common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” This will help you feel more confident and prepared during the interview.
  3. Dress appropriately: Dress professionally for the interview, even if the company has a casual dress code. This shows you take the interview seriously and are respectful of the company’s culture.
  4. Be on time: Arrive early to the interview to allow time for unexpected delays. Being on time shows that you are reliable and punctual.
  5. Make eye contact and show enthusiasm. During the interview, make eye contact with the interviewer and show enthusiasm for the position and the company
  6. Ask questions: Prepare questions to ask the interview about the company, the position, and the culture. This shows that you are interested in the company and have done your research
  7. Don’t ask about salary at first: Only discuss salary expectations once the interviewer asks. Make sure you have prepared questions about the company, the job, the future bosses expectation and not ask about salary first.
  8. Follow up – After the interview, send a thank you email to the interviewer to express your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position.

By following these interview skills and advice, you can improve your chances of success and make a positive impression on the interview. Remember, preparation and practice are key to a successful job interview.

No interview as yet?

Have you got a profile on a Job portal or LinkedIn yet?

https://www.icb.org.za/what-are-job-por…how-do-they-help/

Qualifications do definitely set you apart from other candidates, have a look at this video how ICB can help.

And contact us here to start your journey with the ICB.

 

Inspiration:

https://ung.edu/career-services/online-career-resources/interview-well/tips-for-a-successful-interview.php

 

Job portals are websites or online platforms that connect job seekers with potential employers. These portals allow job seekers to search for job vacancies, submit their resume’s or CV’s, and apply for jobsEmployers can also use job portals to post job vacancies and receive applications from interested parties.

Examples of job portals.

  1. Indeed – One of the largest job search engines, with millions of job listings worldwide.
  2. LinkedIn – A professional networking site that also features job listings and allows employers to post job
  3. Glassdoor – A platform that provides job listings, company reviews, and salary information – https://www.glassdoor.com
  4. PNet – A job portal that features job listings from various industries and allows job seekers to filter their search by location, job type and company.
  5. Career Junction – A job portal that features job listings from various indusstires and allows job seekers to filter their search by location, job type and company.
  6. Careers24 – A job portal that features job listings from various industries and allows job seekers to filter their search by location, job type and company.
  7. Company inhouse portals – Most companies have websites with a tab that says vacancies or job portal. This way you can search for jobs listed within the organization or alternatively in some cases upload your CV for company to have on record.

These are just a few examples of the many job portals available online.  When searching for job portals, it’s important to consider factors such as the industry or location you’re interested in, the type of job you’re look for, and the features offered by the portal.

How do the various portals work?

The various portals are online and connect job seekers with potential employers.  The platform/s provide a range of features to help job seekers find employment opportunities that match their skills and experience, and to help employers find suitable candidates for their job vacancies.

A brief overview how they work for Job seekers:

  1. Create a profile: Job seekers can create a profile on the job portal and provide details about their education, work experience and skills.
  2. Search for jobs: Job seekers can search for jobs based on various criteria such as job title, industry and salary range.
  3. Apply for jobs: Once a job seeker finds a job that matches their skills and experience, they can apply for the job by submitting their CV.
  4. Most online job portals charge NO fee for job seekers.

A brief overview how they work for employers:

  1. Post a job: Employers can create a job posting on the job portal and provide details about the job requirements, qualifications, and skills required.
  2. Receive applications: Once a job posting is live, employers can receive applications from job seekers who are interest in the job.
  3. Manage applications: Employers can review applications and shortlist candidates for further consideration
  4. Communicate with candidates: Employers can communicate with candidates through the job portal platform and schedule interviews with shortlisted candidates.
  5. Job portals vary in the cost for employers to post adverts and manage applications.

Overall, these job portals act as a bridge between job seekers and employers, providing a platform for both parties to connect and find suitable employment opportunities.  

What are various job titles in the Finance world?

Use your time confetti to better your lifestyle and get a credible qualification

Want to know a bit more about the above listed job profiles in the Finance world? Have a look here and make sure to read the latests blogs on what you can expect of a typical day for each job by following this link.