Babylon Marketing

Ain't Nobody Got Time for Cover Letters?

I am always fascinated by the debate caused by readers’ comments on Linkedin posts. They inspire me to think of new topics of conversation and I am always pleasantly surprised how diverse your thoughts are.
This week I thought I’d discuss what some people may refer to as the ‘unsung hero’ of job applications and what others may regard as a waste of time.

Anybody applying for a new job has inevitably come across the cover letter and probably wondered whether they should or shouldn’t write one. This is widely disputed in the recruitment industry, with some recruiters ignoring the first page and heading straight to the candidates CV and others reading it intently.
Personally, I believe a cover letter is a much undervalued part of the resume package and whenever I come across a candidate who hasn’t bothered, I am immediately disappointed. I’d advise anybody to think of the cover letter as an additional platform to sell yourself, your suitability for the job and your personality. I have read many, many cover letters that are bland, careless and don’t tell me anything about the individual. Even better, is when it’s clear that the applicant hasn’t even read the job description because it is completely unrelated. To avoid this, you need to add substance.

Here are three things to consider;


The key to making your cover letter stand out is research; don’t just make the cover letter all about you, demonstrate your interest with the role and company you’re applying for. Start by showing that you have researched the company; why do you want to work there? Research the individual it is addressed to; do you have any common ground? Look at the organizations latest news; have they recently won an award, hired somebody new? Personalize and demonstrate this research and you’ll be at a much stronger advantage.
This may sound like a lot of work but all of this information is readily available to you through a simple search engine or a quick LinkedIn browse so you have no excuse. In terms of content, forget the fluff! Ideally I wouldn’t expect a cover letter to exceed four paragraphs – it needs to be concise and to the point.


Whenever I read a cover letter I want to cross reference your skills with those necessary for the role. Keep this in mind and be sure to have the job spec beside you when you are writing so you can pick out the key functions of the role and highlight your relevance to them. I commonly reference the importance of soft skills, and this section of the cover letter is another opportunity to sell yours.


Once you have done all of this, end with something positive and impactful. Remind me why, because of these reasons, you can absolutely add value to the team.
And if you’re reading this contemplating whether you need to send a cover letter along with your resume application, do yourself a favor… remember it’s better to over-impress when you’re trying to stand out in a fiercely competitive jobs market, so go that extra mile for a position you think you will enjoy in a company you’d really love to work for.

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