Tailored Cover & Resume advice that will get you employed

Many young people meander around after university trying to find the right career path. For some, the decision to follow a particular career will be clear and the decision is informed through academia, work experience and wider influences from family & friends. However, the majority of young people will be daunted by the entire experience and will require valuable guidance. WorkPanda is here to provide youngsters with the information they need to make the right career choices.We believe the Cover Letter & Resume are two of the most important documents needed when securing a permanent job (along with an effective LinkedIn profile of course). Over the past 5 years, we’ve reviewed hundreds of Cover Letters & Resume; however, today we would like to give you our top tips on what makes an effective Cover Letter & Resume.

Cover Letter

The content of your cover letter should be split into clear sections. Start by clearly defining each section at the outset. Here is how we would format your cover letter:

Introduction – Introducing yourself, your current education/employment status and a motivation statement for why you are applying for the role/position. For example, I am currently employed as a Project Manager within the Buildings Division, based in the United Arab Emirates since October 2014. Prior to this, I was delivering residential housing projects within the Affordable Housing and Regeneration team across South East England, based in the United Kingdom. In total, I have been employed with 'xxx' for 3 years. My passion and commitment towards corporate strategy are strong and I now hope to develop this by seeking a role where I can combine my skills, knowledge and passion for Entrepreneurship within a strategic/business development setting.

Education/Academic – Explain how your education background can help add value to the employer. Both cognates/non-cognates need to show how they can apply what they have developed during university in the real working world. Try to focus on competency-based skills time management, teamwork, project management etc. Align this to the requirements of the role/position.

Work Experience/Employment – Discuss how you’ve applied your knowledge and skills to the working world. Explain how you can apply this to the role at hand, and where you can add value to the employers business. Having the ability to understand the employer, and how you can add value to their business will often single you out from the competition. Young people often don’t understand the aspirations of the employer; as such the cover letter becomes generic. For example, “I have successfully driven, managed and delivered numerous high-value client projects. My performance, both academically and professionally, is consistently strong, aligned with the company’s values, and in compliance with professional standards.

‘The sales pitch’ – Identify exactly the type of skill/knowledge you can bring to the business by using examples. Keep it factual and align this to the business core values and long term strategy. If you can align your personal values with the aspirations of the business, be sure that you will get the attention of the reader. Often I read cover letters which are generic and don’t bring out the real potential of the candidate.

Closing line- This will conclude your cover letter encompassing everything that has been discussed. You could potentially end it with “…I am fully mobile across the globe and would be grateful for any opportunity to further develop myself within a challenging and diverse setting. I want a chance to showcase my ability, passion and ideas at a global level and I’m hoping the business can offer me this. Please let me know if you require any further information from me. I look forward to hearing from you”.

Overall, we believe that structure, choice of words and aligning your skills & personal qualities against the aspirations of the employers is the most important aspect of your cover letter.


We’ve read hundreds of resume, if not thousands. We won't delve into the detail but there are 2 key areas which you should focus your efforts: Presentation– Make sure your resume looks aesthetically pleasing; often people try to cover the white spaces trying to cram information which has little or no relevance.

  1. Clear sections Employment, Education, Professional Qualifications, Awards/Achievements, Publications, Volunteering
  2. Put yourself in the recruiter’s position - can you pick out all the key/relevant information in 30 seconds? If not, ditch the design and work on creating something that works. I went through 100 designs for over 12 months.
  3. Use headings, bold, italics, indent to emphasise positions, roles, points etc.

Content– Make sure the content is clear, easy to digest and is factual. Often people include information has no relevance. Look at the job description and than tailor your content. Don't use your resume to brainstorm everything you've done in your life.

  1. Ditch the long-winded paragraphs and shorten down your content to clear bullet points which are based on facts. Recruiters will know who's thought about their resume/design and who have not.
  2. The use and choice of words are very important. You can easily substitute words to help draw the reader’s attention. Start within a one-liner – “…Shyam was seconded into ‘x’ to help support and deliver a range of construction projects”. In the first line, you’ve opened up exactly what you did. Then go on to say… what you did and the value you created. Content should be driven by the value or benefit you created and also the skills you developed.
  3. Value-driven content – if it doesn’t hold any merit don’t include it.
  4. Get your personality down on paper – your resume and cover letter is your marketing collateral… make it count. A thorough and robust resume will entitle you to get through to the next stage of the screening process.
  5. Drive the content of your resume towards the role and company you are applying for. You can have multiple resumes; no one said you need one! By tailoring your approach you are more entitled to show the recruiter that you understand the position/role.

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