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A guide on how to write your job application and resume

Cover letter or application letter

Nowadays, most companies in Malaysia are able to accept applications by email. Some even accept only email applications.

Sending job applications by post is not the popular method anymore. But, whether writing your application cover later on a paper or as an email, you still need to know a few common rules or guidelines.

If you're printing out the cover letter to be posted, the content at the top should be your address, followed by the address of the employer. Then start with Dear Sir/Madam. This is just the standard way practised in Malaysia (and many other countries).

If you're writing the application as an email, just start with Dear Sir/Madam.

The content of the application should be short and concise. Recruiters or employers prefer not to read long application letters. It should contain two or three SHORT paragraphs with one or two sentences per paragraph. You can put in more information if you're absolutely sure it will be of interest to the recruiter.

Content of an application letter:

  1. The reason of sending the letter or email. Also mention the advertisement you are responding to.
  2. Tell your current position or job.
  3. Mention there is an enclosed/attached resume.
  4. Write a short paragraph stating that you are suitable for the advertised job.

Remember these:

  1. Keep it short. Don't bore the recruiter.
  2. Keep your tone formal and polite.
  3. Make sure it is free of spelling errors.

Sample job application letter. (Right click to save or click to view in browser)

Resume or CV(Curriculum Vitae)

In some countries, Resume and CV(Curriculum Vitae) are treated differently. CV is more professional and detailed, whereas Resume is for most other jobs. In other countries, including Malaysia, Resume and CV are treated the same.

Basically, a resume is a document for presenting your contact information, education history, employment history and some other information. All the information should be presented in a simple to read layout -- preferably in point form. Do not write long paragraphs -- just list the facts and data.

A complete resume should include these items:

  1. Photo and contact information (name, address, email, phone number).
  2. Long term objective of your career. Just one short paragraph will do.
  3. Employment history - List your past employments, with duration.
  4. Education history - List your schools, college or university, and also your results.
  5. Current and expected salary.
  6. Other skills and abilities.
  7. Other activities like sports, hobbies or social activities.
  8. References - Just mention that references are available upon request. Make sure you really have a list of about 2 to 5 persons who are willing to act as a reference.

It is important to keep a soft copy of your resume and update the information regularly. When you attach your resume to be sent out, it can be a file in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat format. Do not use any uncommon file format.