What’s more important: having a strong CV or a well-written cover letter? The answer is Both! Cover letters are equally crucial as CVs as an effective cover letter can get your CV noticed, and a well-written CV will make you eligible for an interview!
If you’re familiar with my past, you’ll be aware that I got into the field of CV writing cover letters, CV writing, and so by accident when I was employed in the media industry as the editor’s assistant in an online magazine. In the past, I had to seek out applicants (as anything else), and then I was extremely disappointed by the volume of applications being submitted for us that I made the decision to create a company on my own and assist individuals in this area. It occurred seven years ago, and it is true that nothing has changed to this day.
A few days ago, I published a job ad for a writer on a freelance basis. Within 48 hours of posting, I received 27 responses. Of those who fought to be my attention, there were former journalists, communication professionals, experienced copywriters, and even PR professionals. However, most of the applicants were terrible. I could list the number of good applications in five fingers!
The 22 other applicants had made three costly errors in their cover letters which are common to all job applicants, and disqualifying candidates from entering the race:
COSTLY MISTAKE 1. A few cover letters can be way too long
Did I mention that I had to review TWENTY-SEVEN applicants? It’s true that 27 is a little comparison in comparison to an average employer today who must sort through around 70 applications for every job they advertise (in actuality, I was talking to the owner of a company in the past year who had to pick one secretary for his small company among 400 candidates! ).
Employers are busy, and the most they would like to do is to go through the resume (or email) that goes endlessly, particularly when they have a lot to go through. Try to limit your cover letter to three-quarters of a page of A4 (or roughly four paragraphs), and you’ll be good to go.
COSTLY MISTAKE 2. Certain cover letters may be way too small.
While too long cover letters are an issue that could make you lose your job, an application letter that is too short can also be expensive because it clearly demonstrates that you’re not interested in the job or did not read the job description in detail (otherwise you’d have plenty to say, wouldn’t? ).
In the event that an employer takes time to describe the criteria for hiring in the job description, the burden for you is to show that you’ve got the skills required for the position, and your cover letter gives you the ideal opportunity to prove this. Do not waste space by writing a simple sentence like “I would like to apply for the above role – please see my attached CV” Instead, focus on the most important points in the job description and draw upon examples from your CV to show your skills, before directing your employer to the remainder of your resume for more specifics.
COSTLY MISTAKE Number 3 Some cover letters are not specific.
Of the three mistakes the 22 applicants committed for this specific job, the most damaging of all was the one that included a cover letter that appeared… general (*sharp breathing*)! Cover letters that are generic can be extremely problematic for employers. In fact, it’s almost an insult! If you consider the matter, and if, as an employer, have been able to spend a considerable amount of time contemplating what I’m seeking and expressing this clearly in an advertisement, the most you as a job applicant give me the same attention to detail and write a cover letter that is directed to me!
Generic cover letters state many negative things about job seekers – they indicate that the candidate is a shrewd entrepreneur who prefers shortcuts to their life and is a frequent job seeker who applies for any or all jobs and would not be in the company for very long. However, perhaps most importantly is that it depicts an unmotivated and lazy person who doesn’t have the time to write 500 to 600 personal words to land an interview. What right-thinking employer would hire someone with that kind of attitude? There aren’t many!
When you next apply for a position, you should think carefully about your cover letter. Make sure that it is persuasive and your resume because costly errors can prolong your search for a job indefinitely.