While a cover letter is always required to get an office job in Hong Kong, case has been different in UK, but you are still advised to write one as it is a gesture of politeness to show your sincerity to the company you are applying for, and give hiring managers a chance to gauge your skills, experience and background.
What are employers in UK looking for?
Obviously, the meaning of hiring a position is to help the company solve its problem, that’s why applicants have to undergo screening procedures to make sure they are qualified for the job by having the appropriate skills, and also the personality that fits the job too.
Both HK and UK companies are seeking to stretch out for talents that have exceptional skills and experience that maximise the value of the position, but great differences have been discovered when it comes to their focuses and definition of skills, leading to a huge divergence of the employment cultures in both places.
Major differences between employers in HK and UK
Values VS Sales Target
According to an online survey conducted by Spear in January 2022, 87% hiring managers from among 150 companies in UK (with over 200 staff) believe that personality and personal values greatly influence the company as they are the keystones for bringing success to a positive corporate culture.
This can be explained by the Western business culture in UK where companies give priority to VALUES instead of Sales Target. UK people believe that the structure and composition of an organization is defined by its VALUES set beforehand, that all staff and the way how the company handles problems, including the hiring procedures and employment welfare, should adhere to these values.
Instead of focusing only on sales, setting up values can bring in same-thought talents and gives a frame to the development of the company when decisions about moral-judging are needed during economic turbulence and merge and acquisition. It also gives opportunities to employees to grow (self-development) with the company.
On the contrary, as affected by the business mentality of being an open market, companies in HK or even some other parts of Asia are characterized by sales-oriented or profit-incentive that hard skills, e.g. business communications, field experiences, academic background, etc. are more emphasized where self-development or personal sentiment are less mentioned.
Soft Abilities vs Hard Abilities
When we talk about business values, it means creating and nurturing an environment that embraces a set of well designed standards, rules and considerations. To ensure that you consent or stay well with such environment, hiring managers will have a set of prerequisites to make sure you have the qualities they want in the team.
Soft Abilities can be your personality, social skills, psychological statues, ideology or even hobbies and political stance that UK employers would love to know more. They should be the qualities that replicate their business values, and telling more of them in your Cover Letter / CV could give employers a picture of knowing what kind of person you are.
Hard Abilities are the capabilities required to possess for fulfilling the operation of the position. It could be the work experience of liaising with stakeholders, writing business emails, or conducting cold calls. Having these skills would not give you guarantee on getting the job, but to earn you a ticket to present yourself.
While sometimes Soft or Hard Abilities are hard to be clearly defined, you must study and analyse what the company is looking for and what you can offer before sending out any application.
Examples of abilities that UK employers are looking for:
How to plan your Cover Letter / CV?
So you now understand how the cultural thoughts in Hong Kong and UK lead to the different employment environment, you may strategically plan and write according to the business values, sector and job duties you are applying for.
Though job requirements and corporate cultures can be considered on a case-by-case basis, some elements can be enduring, and here are our suggestions for a general Cover Letter / CV structure to be used in UK:
If you want us to help checking or write up your Cover Letter, contact us via the below form.
Or if you want to know more about the UK culture or interested in our English Culture courses, you may opt in our events here.
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