The Cover Letter. Worth the bother or not?

detailsThis week I received the best cover letter to a CV I’ve ever had. And as I’ve recruited for years, I feel pretty qualified to say that.

And it made me think. Of all the CV’s I get, how many do cover letters (when I say cover letters I mean emailed docs that come with the CV) with their application, how many are readable, how many add (or detract) from their CV & indeed, should you bother?

I’ll start by saying I will happily read & send & place candidates that send CV’s with no cover letter. It’s absolutely not crucial, as long as the employer doesn’t request one. But if I wasn’t the dreaded recruiter & I was an employer, I’d always ask for one as it really does sort the CV’s out. Spellings / grammar, can go haywire on letters – CV’s sometimes are frozen in time & don’t get adapted often so usually they tend towards the perfect. Letters are off the cuff, shot off for speed & to tick the box of ‘Cover letter essential’ on ads.

The amount of letters I get applying for the wrong job is astonishing. That’s unforgiveable. Check if you’re applying for quite a few & check again!

A big no no is also writing a cover letter that clearly shows you haven’t read the ad. And those that apply that are wholly unsuitable for the job vex me. If you do a letter for a job ad that specifies an essential skillset (e.g. driving license / accountancy qualification) you’re probably wasting your time as the key is in the word essential & no amount of good communication can get round that.

I also can’t lie – generic cover letters that give away nothing at all relevant to you, your application or the job you’re supposed to really want, leave me stone cold. I understand it’s hard to be unique when you just want a job, but if that’s the case, see my earlier comments: don’t bother doing one then!

Just be careful your cover letter adds interest & doesn’t turn off the reader. Getting your CV noticed is hard enough I know!

Passion & attitude & clear, keen interest is hard to get across in a few lines, but this candidate did it. His letter wasn’t jokey or unprofessional but it made me smile! He’d researched (we’re taking 3-4 mins here guys – not a PowerPoint presentation) he genuinely was interested in the product & was able to picture himself working with & in that environment. And most importantly it stood out amongst all other CV’s. I saw him last week & he’s going to interview Friday & if he doesn’t get the job….that takes nothing away from the effort, the brilliance & the singularity of a smashing cover letter.

Oh. And I told him my thoughts. And he was thrilled. He’ll continue to put effort in & if I don’t place him, he’ll get ahead of the rest of the pack of CV’s that apply next time too.

I’m Roseanne Stockton & I successfully run Nu-Recruit Career Consultants – I place permanent & temporary candidates of the very best quality into great local employers & jobs in Liverpool, Chester & Wirral. In a no-fuss, no nonsense way.

And I love what I do.

Call me if you think my experience will help you get the best candidate for your job! And please feel free comment on my Blog…..

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