Many applicants may assume recruiters read resumes and cover letters to find what skills and experiences you can bring to a vacancy. In reality they don’t! It’s far more efficient to eliminate you than it is to shortlist. Often there are hundreds of CV’s for one role. The recruiter will compare the selection criteria with your CV, skimming it fast, searching for elimination points. It is much harder to read a text for “inclusion” or “suitability”.
This is where cover letters come in. To make it easy for the recruiter, the cover letter is a sales pitch; highlight why you should be shortlisted for further consideration.
I have read tens of thousands of cover letters and most fail to impress – let alone contain the information I need. I discussed this recently with a very seasoned HR Manager for an international shipping firm and she said “I struggle to read them” Why? “Because they typically contain unimportant information.”
A cover letter needs to mirror the selection criteria. But before you do that, start with the negative: What you don’t have, why you may not be suitable. If there is a reason, you can’t hide it anyway. Then you write ‘however’ and you list 3 – 5 reasons why you are suitable. That’s what the recruiter is looking for!
So, next time you advertise, make it easy for yourself as a recruiter. Request the candidates to list in the cover letter:
Also, do not ask them to attach it, you have to click on the attachment and open it to read it. Ask them to put the cover letter straight into the email message. It will make your screening so much easier and faster. Time is money for all of us.
See also: How to spot CV fraud
To receive my next blog just click Subscribe
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.