Executive Recruitment | Belfast | Northern Ireland

Are cover letters still relevant to today’s job search ?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

I’m not sure if this is genuine but one of the most bizarre cover letters doing the rounds on Goggle at the moment reads as follows:
“ I refer to the recent death of the Technical Manager at your company and hereby apply for the replacement of the deceased Manager.
“Each time I apply for a job, I get a reply that there’s no vacancy but in this case I have caught you red-handed and you have no excuse…”

While this might be one way to get noticed, it’s not a Gilpin recommended cover letter format.

Indeed, cover letters are extremely important in the recruitment process but often get overlooked. Most candidates seem to use them as a means to simply say they are attaching their application and not what they will bring in terms of skills, expertise and experience.

To write a successful letter, be sure you’ve covered the following items before sending it to a potential employer:

  • Emphasise your experience and skills that are the most relevant to the needs of the organisation you’re addressing.
  • Keep cover letters to no more than one page in length, otherwise you run the risk of repeating much of what is in your application form.
  • Keep paragraphs to no more than five lines in length. This will make your letter more visually appealing and readable.
  • Omit salary, whether this is your present or desired salary, as this is something that should not be discussed until the offer and negotiation process has begun.
  • Omit personal data (e.g. age, marital status, number of children and interests.) These can be included in the CV or application if they are asked for, or if they relate directly to the position.
  • Do not include references, even as part of your CV. If a potential employer asks for references at a later stage, then you can provide them.

And the last, perhaps most important, piece of information to take away with you about cover letters today?

Steer clear of cover letters that mention recently deceased employees.

To discuss the interview process further with one of our consultants, please contact us on: +44 (0) 28 9076 9900.

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