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Hong Kong Cover Letter Writing Guide

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in Hong Kong needs more than just the obvious Hong Kong CV or Hong Kong resume with Hong Kong cover letter writing and translation - it requires thorough preparation. You will experience problems that probably did not even cross your mind when you decided to apply for work in Hong Kong.

Do not take too lightly the huge influence the Hong Kong cover letter can have on the results of your adventure! For example, you will experience the unusual immigration rules and practices, strange job application procedures, weird selection trends and new management culture.

Your Hong Kong cover letter is the very first thing an employer will see. You have to show that you are flexible, culturally sensitive, able to adapt to new circumstances and cultures and that you possess some commitment and motivation (for the job, not the location!). Use a cover letter as an introduction. It should accompany your CV or resume, whether e-mailed, posted on a job site, mailed or hand-delivered to an employer.  As a document that personally introduces you and your CV, it is best to limit it to one page.

Take the time to research the employer's organization and customize your Hong Kong cover letter to fit the position. If possible, personalize each letter with a real person’s name and title. If the name of the recipient is unknown, address the letter to “Human Resources Manager”.

Even when applying to a blind ad or box number you can use the ad information to personalize a cover letter. Such personalization would increase the retention of your application.

Place the name of the recipient, their title, company name and address in the left-hand corner. Usually, write names in the following order: the last name first, middle name second and the first name last.

The purpose of your cover letter is to make sure that the recipient will read your CV

A human or a piece of software scans job applications in seconds. In both cases, the reader is checking if your skills and experience match the criteria detailed in a job ad

Your first step in writing a cover letter should be to go through the job ad and underline the keywords used by the employer/recruiter. As long as you can back up your claims, try to use these words in your cover letter and CV.

When applying for employment in Hong Kong, you may use either English or Chinese, depending on the company and your fluency. Stick to one language once chosen. However, you need to accept that not knowing the Chinese will put you at a real disadvantage from the local job seekers. Many employers consider the basic knowledge of Chinese as necessary to cope with daily office life and life outside work.

If you are submitting an English version only, it is helpful to duplicate in Chinese your name, contact address and company names, unless you are certain that the recipient of your cover letter and CV is an English speaker.

The cover letter should not repeat your CV. A personalized, targeted, well-written cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart, grab the employer's interest, and draw them in for a closer look at your CV.

Often the cover letter is more relevant to employers than the accompanying CV because CVs refer mainly to the past time with exception of your present job. Employers are interested mostly in the future of the company they work for. Therefore, your letter should refer to your present and future plans, showing your prospective employers what you want to do now and what you will do for them in the future, rather than your achievements.

Explain, using simple language, your motivation and why you are the right person for the job. Emphasize what you can do for your potential employer, not why their company would be good for your career. Exploit facts about the company collected through research of public information sources, references or insider contacts.

Begin your Hong Kong cover letter with your name, nationality and contact information including your address, phone/fax and e-mail address. Employers and recruiters are often keeping on file cover letters and CVs for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain valid in the long term. A daytime phone number with an international access code and e-mail address are most important.

Hong Kong cover letter usually contains three to four paragraphs. Write in a short and professional style using action words. Be concise and get to the point as quickly as possible. Break any paragraph, which is longer than seven lines, into a short easily understandable one.

The opening paragraph should state the purpose for writing, the position you applying for, the employer’s job reference number and that you are confident you are suited to the role. Try to grab the employer’s interest with the first sentence of this paragraph.

A second paragraph should tell the reader why he or she should be interested in you. Try to depict how you in particular can add value to the workplace.

You could use the third paragraph to highlight one or two career achievements relevant to the job. It is important to illustrate your qualifications as they relate to the requirements of the position.

Close your cover letter, by expressing willingness to explain your application in more detail during a personal interview. If the opening was unadvertised and the CV is unsolicited, indicate that you will follow up in a few days.

Send your cover letter together with your CV. Send no other attachments such as diplomas or testimonials, unless the prospective employer requested them - if so, sent only copies.

Use the same font and style as your CV. We recommend using a font that is easy to read such as 11 points Arial as well as A4 white paper for hard copies of your cover letter.

Some large multinational companies use their own job application forms instead of cover letters and CVs. So, pay attention to the open questions that try to establish your social and transferable skills. Never leave any blank spaces.

In recent years it becomes increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or Facebook social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with current CV/resume. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the CV/resume you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your CV/resume.
However, you should manage your online presence. Eliminate any photos and statements that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. Online CV/resume should not include sensitive information as they could show a lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.

Check the spelling and grammar of your Hong Kong cover letter. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and usage errors in English or other language or if you need help in organizing your cover letter, send it to a professional for assistance.

Remember that your CV/resume must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your CV writing or resume writing instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use CV samples and CV templates, resume samples and resume templates.

Most recruiters expect to receive a cover letter together with your CV or resume. So, prepare a cover letter convincing the reader why you are the best candidate for the interview using cover letter writing tips.

Other Hong Kong Cover Letter Info

If your Hong Kong cover letter and Hong Kong CV are ready, email them to the prospective employers selected during a job search in Hong Kong.

When you receive an invitation to the Hong Kong job interview, you may apply for a Hong Kong visa and Hong Kong work permit. Then prepare yourself for the Hong Kong job interview and take a look at the Hong Kong dress code because how you dress is one of the most important attributes in being hired.

Check the job interview dos & don'ts, job interview tips and other job search skills pages. Find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, cover letter, visa & work permit, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your Hong Kong cover letter.