COVER YOUR TRACKS WITH A COVERING LETTER

Good morning! A dear friend says that she doesn’t want to learn grammar, but she does want to learn English and that she finds my Wednesday articles on tenses very difficult (she was kind enough, not to say ‘boring’). Is that so? Ouch! I’m hurt.

Nah! Jokes apart, I can understand that grammar does become a bit tedious (dull). But we’ll have to do some grammar, isn’t it? Nevertheless, I promise, I’ll try and make it as easy and lucid (clear) as possible.

So did you understand Friday’s article (the teacher in me is now ‘rattled’ [over anxious])?

Let me explain it further, to make your language comprehensible to people you must use the simplest of words; failing which your listener will just ‘hear’ and not ‘listen’. You will be like a radio playing some unintelligible (incomprehensible) music and the person listening to you will be sleeping with her eyes wide open!! Doesn’t sound like a good idea, now does it?

To keep the attention of the person hooked to you, while you are talking to her (ok him too. How can I forget my own rules on gender bias), you must not use:

1. Biased Language — words that betray (show) a bias for particular community, gender country…so on and so forth.

2.  Inflated Language — do not use words to impress people. Use smaller, simpler, widely used words. For instance, why say ‘incarcerated’ when ‘jailed’ can communicate the same. Also, expressions like ‘how wonderful’, ‘so sweet’ should be used sparingly. On many occasions, people don’t even realise the context in which they are using such expressions. Like: ‘How wonderful’ is used for something as simple as finding a lost pen and also for something as important as getting a promotion. ‘Fantabulous’ is used for getting the tickets for a movie you wanted to see for long and also for getting a parking place.

3. Euphemisms — Words with a positive feel. A mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

For example, ‘To pass away’ is a euphemism for ‘to die.’

Another example: A guest comes and asks his host, “I want to visit the water closet.” The host finds the demand ‘very strange’, but all the same he takes the guest to show him his ‘tanki’ (water tank).

Now, in real, ‘water closet’ means ‘toilet’. So you can well imagine, what’ll happen after that!

4. Clichés — Repeated, overused, exhausted words and phrases do away with them.

Examples: It’s raining cats and dogs; better late than never; looking fresh as daisy.

I believe, now it’s crystal clear, hence, I can rest in peace (oops! that was a Cliché).

Some of you have been asking me how to draft a covering letter. Let’s get on with it then:

What is a covering letter?

– Covering letter is a document that accompanies your resume. It is a kind of interaction between you and the interviewer, where in you are essentially ‘formally’ talking and giving details of yourself.

Remember, Covering Letter is a very important document, simply because when you apply for a job, there will be hundreds of people with similar qualifications and thus similar resumes, but what distinguishes you from them is your ‘covering letter’ and how you portray (show) yourself in it. It also, very often, ensures a call for the interview.

A covering letter always has to be modified to the requirement of a particular organisation. You cannot photocopy the same covering letter and attach it to your resume to be given to ten different companies.

Introduce yourself – discuss ‘very briefly’ about your qualifications, your interests….

Answer questions like – Why are you applying at ‘this’ particular company? How will you prove to be an asset to the company? Why should the company call you for an interview? How will your experience/qualifications benefit the company?

Show that you have knowledge of the company.

Though it is not a good idea to be pompous (snobbish), yet if you do not mention your achievements, who else will? So feel at ease when elaborating upon your accomplishments.

Do keep in mind that a covering letter is different from a resume and must be drafted on a separate sheet of paper.

It should carry complete sentences and paragraphs.

No spelling mistakes, no grammar mistakes.

Use a good quality paper to draft a covering letter.

Do not be shoddy (careless) while folding the letter.

Warning: Your Covering Letter is not a grocery list. Therefore, do not adopt the attitude (approach) of getting it over and done with it (ending it in a hurry). Bear in mind that you will have to have the luck of a devil (very lucky) to be called for an interview, if the Covering Letter has mistakes in it, and that my dears will be pretty calamitous (sorry again. I think ‘tragic’ is simpler word to use here.)!

Shall talk more about covering letters and resumes in the coming articles…

Work for you:
Draft a covering letter.
Chao…be happy.

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