Job searching in 2022? You may find yourself wondering if writing a cover letter is still necessary, and our answer? Absolutely. It is thought that at least 56% of employers still expect a cover letter to accompany a job application.

A cover letter shows prospective employers that you’re committed to the job and willing to put in the extra effort. It can set you apart from other candidates and help you stand out from the crowd.

We conducted a recent survey and found that 34% of candidates least like writing a cover letter in their job search. So, we’ve put together some tips to give you confidence in submitting a cover letter and make the process easier:

Research the company

Before writing a cover letter, you should take some time to dig a little deeper into the role you’re applying for and the company. You can then use this information to tailor your letter accordingly.

Some things you want to find out are:

  • What does the company do?
  • Who are their competitors? (this develops your understanding of the industry)
  • Who are their target audience?
  • What skills and experience do they value?
  • What does the role involve and how does this sit within the rest of the company?

Start with a header

Include all essential information about yourself, including name, phone number, email, and the date you’ve written the letter on. Most of this information should already be on your CV, but this saves the employer having to go between the two documents.

Write an impactful introduction

It’s essential to catch the employer’s attention from the very first paragraph. Most candidates start with a simple introduction, stating who they are, their interest in the role and previous work experience.

For example, “With over 10 years’ experience at my current company, I wish to apply for the role of Creative Director being advertised on your website.”

As this is quite generic and a common opening from candidates, you could get lost in the sea of cover letters the recruiter is receiving.

To really grab their attention, start off introducing yourself and your top 2-3 achievements (most relevant to the company or role). This is a great way to impress the employer and shine the light on yourself.

Why you’re suitable for the job

In your second paragraph, describe your professional skills and how you meet the role requirements. Read the job description and identify which of the responsibilities are of high importance for the employer. You’ll need to demonstrate how you meet these and why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

If you’re trying to change role, industry, or struggling to meet all requirements, think about skills and attributes that are transferable.

Try to be specific and give examples of your skills in action.

For example, a statement like “I’m a team player” is very vague.

A statement such as “In my previous role, I worked with a team of 10 on a project and ensured everyone was working towards the same goal. This project led to a 12% rise in sales in first 3 months of completion” is more specific and showcasing what you can do.

What you offer the company

Now is your opportunity to emphasise what you can do for the company and that you’ll be a good fit for their business. This is also a great time for you to state exactly why you want the job and why you’re passionate about working for them.

Again, don’t be too generic just for the sake of writing something. It’s very easy to look up the values of an organisation and simply say these align with your own values. Instead, be as specific as possible, giving example of something they’ve done or detailed knowledge of their culture.

Closing the letter

Wrap up your cover letter by thanking the employer for their time or consideration and include a call to action. This could be the opportunity to discuss further or arranging an interview.

At this point, you should also double check the length of your cover letter. Whilst it is important to cover all the information we’ve advised; you don’t want to put off an employer because it is too lengthy. Aim for half a side of A4 or at a maximum, one A4 page.

Finally, make sure you proofread your letter before sending. Having put so much effort into producing the perfect cover letter, you don’t want to be let down by any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. There are some great online tools such as Grammarly that can help you check, or maybe even ask a friend or family member to look.

Our final checklist

  • Have you done your research into the company?
  • Have you provided all essential information?
  • Does your introductory paragraph make an impact?
  • Have you detailed why you’re suitable for the job?
  • Do you state what you can offer the company?
  • Did you close the letter with a call to action?
  • Have you checked the length of your letter?
  • Have you proofread and checked for errors?

Why Advance TRS?

We offer an in-depth candidate management process supporting you through interview, remuneration negotiation, resignation, counteroffer and notice period. Our consultants go out of their way to keep you informed throughout every stage of the recruitment process.

View our latest jobs and find your next opportunity!

Celebrating the achievements of women in recruitment

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women and marks a call to action to accelerate women’s equality. Today, it is fighting to #BreakTheBias, advocating a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equal, and inclusive. So what is life like for women in recruitment?

We sit down with our Client Services Delivery Manager Louise to discuss her experiences and achievements as a woman in the recruitment industry. Her role involves headhunting experienced candidates and developing a good understanding of client companies and their industry, to best understand their assignments. She builds and nurtures strong relationships with our clients to swiftly source the best candidates.

With over 9 years’ recruitment experience, she has a proven track record in the sector. She understands the importance and impact of building strong relationships with client account representatives for the company.

When did you first consider pursuing this career?

Quite early on in my career, my employer suggested I transfer my original role into a more sales-based one. I found I really enjoyed the work, and it came quite naturally to me. This made me consider what I can achieve if I take this full-time.

I didn’t initially intend to go into the built environment sector, but after securing my first recruitment role in the industry I found it really interesting and enjoyed working with engineers. I’ve spent a long time working in a sales environment, I enjoy working with people and very target driven. This became something that I wanted to pursue further. So I then found a position at Advance TRS and the rest is history as they say!

What was your experience of entering the industry?

I was aware that I was entering quite a male-dominated role and sector, but I’ve never had any issues. I enjoy the competitive nature of recruitment and like the challenge of proving what I can do. I’ve never felt out of my depth, in fact, it’s helped pushed me to achieve more than I could think possible.

How important was diversity and inclusivity when you were job searching?

To be honest, I didn’t really consider it or find myself thinking about it, but in a way, I think this is a positive thing? I never felt like being a woman made things challenging or caused a barrier in creating a career for myself. I also feel like I make more of an impact. Yes, I am sometimes competing with men in the sector, but I’m able to prove that I am competent, provide value, ambitious and just as capable.

WomenInRecruitment, an initiative by APSCO, produced a report in Spring 2020 which found over two thirds of recruitment firms have more than 50% female representation and support staff level. Two-fifths have more than 50% female representation at recruitment/resourcer level.

The report also found that a third of recruitment firms have less than 5% female representation at board level. Whilst another third has between 21-50%.

What would you say is your greatest professional achievement so far?

I think there are a few accomplishments that I’m proud of. Firstly, when I achieved entry to the Millionaire’s Club, £1 million in billings in my time for Advance TRS. I was the first female to achieve this for the business so feel proud to be paving the way.

I also brought on board a new client to Advance TRS who have since become one of our top grossing clients. So this is quite an achievement. Finally, hiring during the pandemic and securing over 100 permanent hires for one client. Considering we were in lockdown and recruiting under very challenging circumstances, it was very rewarding to accomplish that.

How would you describe your experience of being a woman in your industry?

In general, I don’t feel there is much disparity. I have on occasion witnessed gender bias, with certain words and phrases used that wouldn’t have been said to a man. However, the industry overall is very understanding of equality and diversity. I don’t feel that being a woman has created any barriers or hindrances in my career. You just need to find your voice and have confidence in your abilities, back yourself!

Have you been given any advice that has helped shape your career?

One piece of advice I received regarding recruitment specifically is “ride the wave.” With the nature of recruitment there are highs and lows, but I was taught to just persevere and keep going. When things are going well it’s incredibly rewarding, so you’ve got to remind yourself of that when going through a low point.

Do you have any female role models that have encouraged you in your career?

A lot of the candidates I work with are very inspiring. I’ve supported a lot of women in getting a new opportunity, some in quite senior positions. When you’ve heard their story, their background and helped them through the process, it’s so rewarding to see them succeed. The dedication that some of these women have to their career and sector is amazing, and I feel so proud when they secure their next job.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women considering a career in your sector?

For a woman considering a career in the recruitment industry, be confident and don’t be afraid to speak up! Be your biggest supporter. In recruitment, you do have to be quite driven and versatile but have courage in your work. As the saying goes “She believed she could so she did.”

Why Advance TRS?

At Advance TRS, we believe everyone deserves the same opportunities, regardless of age, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. The diversity of our workforce is an essential part of our success. As such, we are committed to supporting contractors and staff to work in an environment that is free from discrimination and promotes equal opportunities for all.

We are a niche recruitment consultancy specialising in the provision of highly skilled technical professionals for the built environment. We provide permanent, contract and temporary recruitment solutions to both candidates and clients across several key technical sectors including rail, construction and water & environment services.

Since establishing in 2011, the company has shown remarkable growth, delivering MSPs and RPOs for some of the biggest businesses in the built environment. The team continue to work closely together to deliver honest, reliable solutions to clients and candidates.

While all interviews and interviewers are different, there are some common interview questions that are asked to find out more about the candidate and how they deal with certain situations. We’ve compiled a list of some of those questions and guidance on how to confidently answer them.

Tell me about yourself

Some interviewers will start the conversation by giving a little insight into the business and will then most likely ask you to tell them a little bit about yourself.

Give them a quick summary of who you are and what you have been doing and some insight on any experience you’ve had which is relevant to the job. It’s a great point in the interview to mention your top achievements and to say why you think you’d be perfect for the role.

The interviewer won’t want to hear your life story or about your family history here. Make sure to talk about experience relevant to the position instead. 

Why are you looking to leave your current role

Make sure you are honest about why you’re looking for work, but try not to talk too negatively about your current employer. Try focusing on something like you are looking for new challenges, possibly even highlighting aspects of the job you are interviewing for which aren’t available with your current employer.

Tell me about a tricky situation you have dealt with and how you solved it

When being asked this kind of question, the interviewers want to find out more about your negotiating skills or potential clashes with colleagues. The best way to approach these type of interview questions is to explain the situation, how you resolved it and what the outcome was.

Try to steer clear of describing a situation where you caused conflict as this might give them the wrong impression.

What are your weaknesses

Being asked this question can be quite daunting, but don’t let it scare you. We previously dedicated a blog to this question that you may find useful.

Talk about something you know isn’t your strongest point but which you are working on. Picking something that you can get training on and willing to develop will be the kind of answer the interviewer is looking for.

What are your career goals?

When answering these interview questions, it’s important to differentiate between your long-term and short-term career goals. Your long-term goals may be wider, overarching achievements that you would like to accomplish in the future. Whereas your short-term goals should be smaller, actionable objectives that may improve relevant skills or performance.

The salary question

Don’t undersell yourself here or say to the interviewer that you’re happy to take whatever they think will be best.

A lot of job adverts will include a salary band and if this isn’t the case, you can take a look at similar roles and get a good idea of an appropriate salary from those. There may also be some room for negotiation between you and the employer, so bare this in mind.

You can then justify what you are asking for by mentioning relevant knowledge and experience you will bring to the team.

Do you have any questions

Avoid asking about working hours and holidays here but instead, ask something about the business. Something you might have read about and you’d like to find out more. Maybe there is a new product or service they are launching which you can ask about. This shows the interviewer that you have done your research on the company. 

You could also ask what goals and objectives the company has over the next, 3, 5, 10 years etc. This will indicate your interest in their mission and longer-term commitment to the business.

Are you looking to take the next step in your career? 

Advance TRS is growing quickly and we are always looking for ambitious, driven people to join the team. Find out more about our current opportunities or for a detailed and confidential conversation, contact our Talent Acquisition Manager Jess.

Having a personal statement on your CV is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to prospective employers. It should be a short paragraph, around 5-6 lines, detailing your attributes, what you can offer the company, and your career goals.

We’ve put together some top tips on writing your personal statement:

What should you include?

You should think about the following points:

• A statement about who are you
• What you currently do? (if applicable)
• What are your career goals/what are you searching for?
• Your value to the company

As employers will only spend a short time reviewing your CV, it’s important to highlight your potential straight away.

Why you should vary your personal statement:

If you have time, it would be beneficial to adapt your personal statement each job you apply for. This allows you to make it as relevant as possible to the role you are applying for. Make sure you do your research on the specific requirements the employer is asking for, both for the job and personal skills. This shows potential employers that you understand the requirements for the role.

Employers may also use applicant tracking systems that analyse your CV for keywords and phrases. Having these included in your personal statement, increases your chances of being seen and progressed in the application stage.

Remember, your personal statement gives you a chance to sell yourself in one paragraph. The rest of your CV is your work experience and your qualifications, so this gives you the opportunity to add that personal touch.

How to structure your statement:

State who you are – Begin your statement by detailing who you are, your qualities and where you are in your career. Use of buzzwords can capture the attention of potential employers and help you stand out from the crowd.

Example: As an experienced project manager, I have over 10 years of experience across the rail industry. I am a reliable and well-organised manager, bringing a variety of expertise and knowledge to the table

Communicate your value – The second section should state why you are suitable for the role and what value you bring to the company. This is your chance to highlight any key achievements relevant to the position and distinct qualities.

Example: In my current role, my determination and proactive approach resulted in several successful completions of important projects. The combination of my time management, communication and decision-making skills ensured maximum productivity of each project and of those involved.

Detail your career goals – In the final part of your statement, you should explain what your career goals are and why you’re applying for this role.

Example: I am now coming to the end of my current role and am seeking a new challenge. I’m looking for a position which will allow me to contribute my skills and experience, whilst increasing my current knowledge.

Advance TRS

For more helpful tips and job search advice check out our website. We have various Advance Advice articles that cover all aspects of job hunting.

If you are looking for a new career in the built environment, contact us today on 01483 361 061. Alternatively, contact us via email at We have plenty of permanent and contract roles across all our sectors. Our recruiters are here to help!

As 2021 draws to a close, the Advance TRS team have been reflecting on what has been another memorable year. Whilst Covid-19 has still created challenges, the markets have continued to flourish, and the team remained motivated in providing an excellent service to clients and candidates.

Celebrating our 10 year anniversary has allowed the team to look back on our incredible growth and look forward to exciting times ahead. In the final part of our 3-part blog series, we discuss this with Founder and Managing Director Andy Ridout.

Where do you want the company to be in the next few months/years?

Andy: In the immediate future we just want to re-engage with clients face to face, rather than via zoom or teams. Whilst these tools have been a saving grace in the last 2 years, there’s nothing better than sitting down together and sharing thoughts, ambitions etc. Personal interaction has always been a key driver for the business, so we can’t wait to get back out there.

In the next 12-18 months we’re hoping to see things improve even further with the pandemic. We’ll remain understanding of our clients wants and needs to help them stabilise in a post-pandemic world. Understandably our clients are catching up on project that had been delayed during Covid. However, we’re on hand to help deliver suitable candidates and provide support.

Longer term, we want to expand on what we’re already doing. We’ve got a great team, with expertise and knowledge in their sectors, and an established client base. We plan on improving the communication we have with our clients and keeping them up to date with what we’re doing, the services we’re providing etc. It would also be nice to see us expanding into other markets such as renewables, power and nuclear.

What are the plans for South Coast (& other locations)?

Andy: The south coast have been smashing their targets, outperforming in every area. They are doing such a fantastic job, that we can speed up our plans of growth for the office. We hope to enter the new year with additional staff there, and in the rest of the business. Bringing with them a host of knowledge and experience to expand and strengthen the teams.

We’re also looking to open a new office in London and aiming for a greater presence in the area. The opportunity to attract a different portfolio of recruitment consultants and clients will help take the company to new heights!

So, why join Advance TRS?

Since establishing, our team have managed to deliver year-on-year growth and organic expansion of services, sectors, staff and offices. This is a track record we are very proud of and are keen to continue.

Looking forward to 2022 it’s looking to be an exciting and challenging year. Our team are motivated and driven to support the growth of the business. All whilst maintaining our values and delivering exceptional service to our clients and candidates.

To join our team, just click the link below and apply today!

Despite the challenges of 2021, the Advance TRS team have had some big celebrations as the company reached an incredible 10-year milestone. From its humble beginnings in 2011, Advance TRS has shown remarkable growth. It has gone from a £0 to a £25m turnover business, delivering MSPs and RPOs for some of the biggest businesses in the built environment. To this day the team work closely with clients and candidates to provide honest, reliable, and top-quality recruitment solutions.

In the second part of our blog series, we sit down with Andy, Founder and Group Managing Director, to discuss the company today and what makes Advance TRS different.

Where is the business currently?

Andy: Right now, we are very established. Each sector has developed a strong client base and recognised recruiters that have a deep understanding of their sectors, from both the client and candidates. They have learnt what the clients expectations and requirements are, plus what a candidate wants, and needs. We offer a professional service and expert advice to our clients. With this critical client base, we can operate fantastic recruitment solutions.

The pandemic, the general election and Brexit have all had a knock-on effect to the recruitment market. This has been challenging at times, however, we have not let this slow us down. We stayed motivated and worked hard, no matter what the circumstances. The markets are recovering well and now picking up pace on projects or programmes that had been delayed during the challenging period. This creates a greater need for us to deliver suitable candidates and help catch up on any delays.

The future is looking very exciting for Advance TRS! We’re expanding geographically and aiming for a greater presence in London. This would give us the opportunity to attract a different portfolio of recruitment consultants. We can offer a greater service, with even more experience and knowledgeable people.

What makes Advance TRS different?

Andy: Despite being a SME business we are running two successful offices and looking to open a third. We are committed to delivering our service in a responsible, safe, and sustainable way. From our environmental footprint to site-based health and safety, and from legal compliance to giving back to local communities, our attention to detail and dedication to delivering a quality service rings true throughout everything we do.

From the beginning, staff wellbeing and company values have been highly important to me. I’ve tried to nurture a close office culture, where colleagues work together and look out for each other. It is a culture we work hard to protect and continue, so finding the right people for the company is just as important as finding the right people for the job. By collaborating in a friendly, open office, we work together to deliver the best possible service for our customers.

Advancing those less fortunate has also been a central motivator for me and the Advance TRS team. To date, our staff have raised over £65,000 for charities, completing an incredible array of personal challenges to raise money and awareness for those less fortunate.

So, why join Advance?

As a rapidly growing recruitment business, we have fantastic opportunities for career development. We pride ourselves on rewarding success and promoting from within. However, we are always looking for new talent to further strengthen and expand our teams.

Working with our experienced training and development team, you’ll develop your skills and abilities even further to ensure you reach your maximum potential in your role. We also have a company intranet, with online training courses available for your own progress.

As recruiters, we really understand that talented and motivated staff is the key to any successful business. Check out our website to find out more and contact us today!

Do you need an up-to-date CV? Remember your CV represents you to your future employer. Your employer wants to know why they should hire you and not any of the other applicants. So, how do you make your CV and experience stand out? Here are some top tips from our team that you need to think about when writing your CV.

Register on our website to get access to free CV template downloads, and other helpful resources. 


When structuring your CV, remember employers see lots of applications for each role, so if yours doesn’t make the right information easily accessible it will go straight to the bottom of the pile. The simpler it looks, the easier it is to read.

  • Invest time to tailor your personal summary specifically for the job you are applying for. This is your primary opportunity to highlight your strengths and previous successes
  • Follow on from this with your qualifications
  • Keep the font to one standard type and size
  • Don’t begin each sentence with ‘I’. Unfortunately, it is not the way to create a compelling CV
  • Keep your education and job history in chronological order. It makes sense to put the most recent achievement or job at the top of the list as this is what the employer is interested in

Be truthful

Noting down truthful experience is essential. If you feel that you have to add in an experience you haven’t completed, this job is not for you! Note down all experience you think is related to the job you are wanting to apply for and you will find the perfect employer who wants to invest in you.

Employment history

Keep this short and sweet. Employers don’t need to know every job you’ve had throughout your life. If you think, on average, 50 people apply for every job on the market. If those 50 people all have 8 paged CVs, the employer will quickly become disinterested in reading through all of that information. Save the long explanations of your employment for your interview. Just note the job role, the company and the dates you worked there and add a little bit more information on what you’ve done in your most recent roles.

Check, check and check again – no typos!

Checking your spelling and grammar is essential. You might want to ask someone to look over your work as well as using spell check and looking up any words you’re unsure of!

Why not check out some brilliant spelling and grammar checkers to improve your writing? We particularly like Grammarly.

Make your CV role specific

Make sure you tailor your CV to suit the job you’re applying for. It’s very tempting to try to cut corners with a generic ‘one size fits all’ CV, but it is unlikely you’ll get away with it. Always read the role’s exact requirements and re-word your CV accordingly. This will involve you doing your research so you know exactly what the employer is looking for, it may take a bit of effort, but if it puts you one step closer to your dream job so it’s well worth it!

Once you are convinced that your CV meets all the job criteria and portrays you in the best possible way you are ready to search and apply!

Take a look at our Advance Advice for more help with CVs, interview preparation, and all things relating to your job search!

You’ve just finished writing your CV and ready to send it to prospective employers, but what is your CV really saying about you? Before eagerly submitting any job applications, we’ve put together some tips on reviewing your CV.

Personal Statement

This can be tricky to get right, but is also one of the most important areas of your CV. It is your opportunity to sell yourself to your employer and let them know who you are. Within this section you want to include your attributes, what you can offer to the company, and your career goals/what you’re searching for. We recommend that this is roughly 5-6 sentences long, save your detailed information for the interview stages.

It is also important to tailor your CV/personal statement to each role you apply for. This will show employers that you have put care into your application and understand the requirements for the role. Employers may also use applicant tracking systems that analyse your CV for keywords and phrases. This will look for words/phrases that match the job description or what the employer has instructed the system to look for. Having these included on your CV, increases your chances of being seen and progressed in the application stage.

Employment History

So that employers can get a better understanding of what you can bring to the role, fill your employment history with the skills you used whilst in this job. You can also include any achievements and positive outcomes within your existing roles.

Having a detailed section of previous responsibilities and achievements should be positively received by employers and help you stand out from other applicants. They will be keen to understand your transferable skills and how these will benefit them.

Hobbies/Key Achievements

Whilst it may be tempting to fill your CV with your hobbies and interests, you should think carefully about how this will be received by the employer. We’d suggest only including hobbies or interests that relate to the role you’re applying for or offer intriguing information about yourself. Don’t list interests just for the sake of it.

If you’re struggling with ideas on hobbies or interests, you could have a section for your key achievements. Have you taken part in a charity run? Gained any qualifications? Been promoted to a senior level? Your achievements could be both personal or professional, minor or major, as long as they portray you in a positive light and add value to your CV.

Key Skills

Have you thought about additional skills that could help your CV shine? There are plenty of courses online that are either free or only require a small fee to be. New certifications can then be added to your CV. This will show potential employers that you are proactive and take your personal development seriously.

For more tips and CV advice, take a look at our website and Advance Advice articles. We cover everything from interview preparation and CV writing to top tips for your job search.

Advance TRS were delighted to attend the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) Scottish Section meeting again this year, held in Glasgow at the Marriott Hotel.

As leading suppliers of specialist rail signalling engineers to both the London Underground and Network Rail networks, Advance TRS have been a key partner and member of IRSE since establishing in 2011.

“The annual Glasgow meeting always proves to be a great event, which is well attended by many professionals engaged in or associated with railway signalling and telecommunications, train control and traffic management professions.” Explains Specialist Recruitment Consultant – Signalling, Josh Hill.

“The IRSE continue to play a vital role in attracting, developing and retaining skilled engineers and technicians Technical Meetings and events across the country and internationally.”

Andy Mellors, Managing Director of South Western Railway, provided a keynote address in conjunction with IMechE prior to the main event, examining the economic and wider societal benefits that the rail industry delivers, and also discussing the current challenges facing the industry, the engineering profession and the institutions.

This was followed by an evening of networking, dinner and drinks. It’s always a pleasure to be in the same room as so many industry professionals, meeting new people, seeing old faces and talking about the future of the Railway!

Each year, there is an opportunity available for everyone to be able to donate money to the charity Railway Children. This year was no exception. Again, the astounding generosity of attendees raised a total of £3,100!

Railway Children is an international children’s charity, with outreach teams operating out of the UK, India and East Africa. Donations help to fund street teams that seek out children living in squalid conditions on the streets, where the charity’s team of experts can meet the child’s immediate needs and attempt to reintegrate them back into normality.

Since establishing in 2011, giving back to those less fortunate and advancing others has been a central motivator for founder Andy Ridout and the growing Advance TRS team. In previous years, Andy has personally championed the charity at different industry events, including IRSE dinners.

With over 200 signalling professionals currently working across London Underground on Europe’s largest rail signalling project, 4 lines Modernisation, Advance TRS is a leading recruitment specialist in rail signalling partnering key organisations, to provide them with skilled candidates to deliver signalling programmes aimed at increasing safety, capacity, reliability and performance across the rail network.

Click here to view the hottest rail signalling jobs and apply! Alternatively contact our team of expert recruiters directly by calling 01483 361061.