Managing the job hunt challenge - 5 CV and cover letter tips

Seb Morgan

Seb Morgan is a Careers Coach and Digital Content Writer for CV Genius, where he helps job seekers and professionals get more out of their careers. With over 7 years of experience in business and lifestyle journalism, he's written for a stack of careers-focused publications, and his expertise includes skill development, interview preparation, and CV and cover letter writing. Hailing from the West Midlands, Seb has since lived, worked, and studied in 4 countries across 2 continents. He speaks 4 languages and has survived job interviews in 3 of them. Reach him at or via LinkedIn.

Whether you're looking for a part-time job, a graduate role or job-hunting for work early in your career, practicing self-care during your job hunt is important. Fine tuning how you write your CV and cover letter can help you build confidence during your job search. Below, we'll share five effective CV and cover letter tips for a stress-free job hunt.

1. Identify your contact person

Addressing your job application to a named contact person gives it a personal touch and makes it more specific to the job.

It also makes things less intimidating. After all, writing for a person is more comfortable than writing for a faceless hiring department. Address the hiring manager using a formal greeting, such as 'Dear Mr/Ms/Mx [Last Name]' or 'Dear [Full Name].'

If you are unsure where to find their name, you can search online by entering 'site:[]' and the hiring manager's job title or department which may direct you to their contact information if it's publicly available.

Or just phone the company and ask who to direct your application — that might sound daunting but remember, you'll get extra brownie points for taking initiative and being forthcoming.

2. Learn by example

Boost your confidence by reading example CVs showcasing how to present your application by experience level. Some websites have libraries of situation-specific CV examples you can use to model your own job application. This approach will help you achieve the correct tone and structure.

Online forums are also a rich source of advice for creating compelling student and graduate job applications. Read past discussions on pages like TheStudentRoom or subreddits to read about how other students have advertised their skills and experience.

Depending on your personality type, pressure may cause you to shut down or forego opportunities because you feel overwhelmed. The truth is that your job does not define who you are. Neither is your identity defined by your ability to find or get a job. You are whole as a person, no matter what your job is or isn’t.

3. Specify your value to employers

Identifying what the company needs in your CV and cover letter demonstrates your understanding of the job you're applying for.

Before writing your application, review the job advert thoroughly to get a picture of the company's ideal candidate. Note which skills, qualifications, and responsibilities the advert mentions, such as:

  • experience using particular software, tools, or platforms

  • transferable skills

  • industry-specific skills

Prioritize any responsibilities that appear early in the job description or that appear more than once. Repetition indicates that a skill is particularly important to the employer.

Once you've determined what the employer's looking for, consider how you've demonstrated these abilities during your education and work experience and include examples in your CV.

4. Highlight your worth with a strong cover letter

At least 60% of companies ask for a cover letter, and even if they haven't made it a requirement, submitting one is a great way to demonstrate your work ethic and enthusiasm for the job.

If you're worried that writing a convincing cover letter will take too much time, try using an online cover letter builder to speed up the process.

Builders can help you instantly draft a professional, job-specific letter for your application by making use of your skills and experience — which you can then tweak to suit your specific needs.

5. Trust the process

Research and preparation are essential for landing your dream role, but it's important to remember that you can't control every aspect of the hiring process and not be disheartened if an employer doesn't reply to your application.

An employer might not reply to your application for various reasons. For example, their budget could have been frozen, or an internal candidate could have applied for the role. You could easily be successful in applying for a similar position.

If you don't get the job, ask for feedback on your application and express interest in future opportunities so they keep you in mind.

Here's an example of a respectful email sent by a student who didn't get called for an interview:

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I understand you've decided not to proceed with my application this time. Thank you all the same for considering my application. If you have any feedback, I'd love to hear how I can improve, and it would be much appreciated if you let me know about any upcoming opportunities.

Thanks again, and I hope to be in touch in the future.

The uncertainty is stressful, but remember that rejection or not hearing back from every company you apply to will be part of the process, regardless of your level of expertise. Don't be disheartened, and keep chasing opportunities as they open up. Maintain your drive and you will get started in your industry.

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