‘Do I really need a cover letter?” is a question that we get asked on almost a daily basis and the short answer is ‘yes’. It is true that many recruiters will not take the time to read through a lengthy cover letter, however, a succinct well-written cover letter is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and this is particularly important in today’s competitive job market.
Below are my top tips for writing a cover letter that a recruiter may well read:
Keep the cover letter brief
Recruiters are busy people and don’t have the time to read two pages of lengthy paragraphs. If you take the time to write a cover letter then keep it to 1 page in length and ensure that it is concise and punchy. Recruiters are not interested in canddiates who regurgitate everything on the company website – they already know all this!
Focus on the company and how you best match the role
The resume should be focused on you, the cover letter is the opportunity to get across to the recruiter why you would like to work for them and why you believe that you are a good fit for the role. This is an opportunity to briefly highlight relevant industry experience, key transferable skills and an alignment with values.
Ensure the cover letter is well-formatted
If you want a recruiter to read your cover letter, then include white space, some bold headings and key bullet-points to get across your main points.
Address it to the right person
It sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times when I worked in recruitment that I received letters addressed to another recruitment manager from a competitor firm – not an ideal start! I also received emails addressed to ‘Leach’ instead of ‘Leah’ which also wasn’t ideal! If you have spent hours preparing your application documents then ask a friend to complete a quick review to see if they can pick up any errors that you have overlooked.
Use the cover letter to explain gaps or unusual moves
The cover letter is the ideal format to explain gaps in your resume or to highlight reasons for a career change. If this isn’t obvious from the resume, then use the cover letter to explain. The cover letter is also the ideal format to explain any details in regard to elocation if you are applying for a role a long way from your current address. Recruiters will often discount candidates based on location (usually at the request of their clients) so take the time to explain that you are planning a move if you are applying for a role that is a long way from home.
If you need assistance with writing a tailored cover letter for your ideal role, then contact Leah Lambart at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a consultation with one of our highly experienced resume writers.