Cover Letters: A Thing of the Past?

Call me old fashioned, but I consider the inclusion of a cover letter an important part of a candidate application. Sure, we are living in a fast paced, digital society where there is an app for virtually everything, but an application for a job should be approached with more care than ordering a pizza!

Depending on the position, an employer or Recruitment Consultant can receive literally hundreds of applications at any one time.  What makes your application stand out?  In many cases, a well worded cover letter can make the difference between being shortlisted for an interview and missing out all- together.   

 So, what makes a good cover letter?  Here a few suggestions to help you:

DO

  • Make sure you address your letter to the right person!  If there is a contact name on the ad, address your letter to this person. Please take the time to check the spelling.
  • Include a reference number or subject.  E.g. Ref:  Sales Manager – Vic / Tas
  • Express your interest in the position advertised!  This may sound obvious, but cover letters which are clearly written for another position are immediately discarded.  Put simply, if you are applying for a career in sales, don’t indicate that you wish to pursue a career in IT.
  • Explain why you believe you have the skills and experience that is required.  Select around 3 points that are critical to the role where you have the relevant experience.  E.g. “Through my position as Sales Manager with XYZ Company, I have successfully lead a team of sales professionals who consistently exceeded sales targets”.
  • Use the spelling and grammar check function!
  • Indicate your willingness to provide supporting information in an interview. “I would be happy to discuss my experience with you in greater detail during an interview”.
  • Thank the reader for his/her time in considering your application.

DON’T

  • State that you are ideal or perfect for the job.  YOU may think you are perfect for the role, but so may everyone else applying.
  • Give your life story.  You cover letter should only be a couple of paragraphs long, and not a re-iteration of your entire résumé.
  • Continually state what the position would offer you – focus instead on what you could contribute to the company.
  • Just repeat that you are interested in the position using the text box on the electronic job boards.  Not including a cover letter is a better option than just re-stating the obvious! 

In this increasingly competitive market, taking the time to submit a good cover letter is certainly a worthwhile investment in your future.  We look forward to reading your cover letter!

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