That’s the question we all want to know. Looking for work can be a full time job. It’s hard work, mentally taxing and very challenging when you’re spending hours going through different job vacancies. With the recent rumours that have been circulating within the job market, more and more of us are questioning – do we still need a cover letter? Are they still important? What’s their purpose now? Do recruiters even look at them still?
Well – whilst they’re still important in grabbing the recruiter’s attention, not everyone looks at them anymore. It’s becoming more common for recruiters and hiring managers to either skim over them or skip them entirely. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to write them. Even without reading them, recruiters will consider your application more highly than those without, some are even quick to disregard applications entirely that don’t bother with a cover letter.
Are traditional ways becoming ineffective?
With the current era becoming more modern and technology focused, cover letters can seem almost out-dated. Especially with job applications now taking place through recruitment websites, online applications and online forms.
The modern cover letter should focus on the company you’re applying for. Bring the attention away from yourself and onto your accomplishments instead. You want to let the business know what you can bring to them and what you can provide. You’re trying to show them what difference you can make to their company and this is why they should hire you. Let your attitude sparkle through the cover letter.
With the rising popularity of social media as a platform for recruitment, it isn’t unusual for cover letters and job vacancy interests to be sent via messages on these platforms. A great example of this is contacting hiring managers directly on their LinkedIn and dropping them an InMail containing your cover letter and letting your profile act as your CV. Don’t be afraid to do something different to keep up with the rapidly changing job market and stand out from the crowd.
Keep it short and sweet
A cover letter should be laid out like a sandwich:
- Your introduction
- The main details
- A short conclusion to round it all up
It’s important to keep it short as hiring managers and recruiters will be reading dozens, if not hundreds of applications. Your cover letter needs to be short enough to spend very little time reading, but attention grabbing enough for them to want to call you back for an interview.
Try to avoid over-used phrases such as “It is with great interest that I am writing to apply for the position of…” – they already know you’re applying through your application.
It’s best to read the company’s job description and pick key skills from there. Look for key buzz words that the company may be using and try incorporate them into your cover letter. This is particularly important for larger companies that may be using word search filters in their job applications to filter through any resumes that don’t have essential key traits that they’re searching for.
Don’t be afraid to put statistics into your cover letter, back your words up with numbers to show the results you’ve earned. Whether that’s your largest sale, the number of twitter followers you’ve accrued, or the subscribers you have on YouTube.
Make it personal
Even though it takes time to read every job specification and tailor a specific resume for that role, it helps build a connection between yourself and the business. Address the company or hiring manager by name if possible – it shows you’ve invested time reading up on the company and it helps engage with them. You’re no longer just a name on a piece of paper.
Keep it together
If you’re emailing it directly to the employer or hiring manager, it’s a great idea to put the cover letter in the direct body of the email instead of a separate attachment. They’re less likely to give it a quick read if they have to open two attachments instead of just the one CV attachment.
It sounds obvious, but it’s the small attention to detail that can make the difference between getting an interview. And there’s nothing worse than spotting a spelling error after you’ve sent the application.
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