What if the recruiters don’t read your covering letters?
Published: 26 Apr 2016
It’s becoming clear that the majority of recruiters don’t read covering letters any more. So what can a candidate do to stand out from the crowd? Stephanie Vozza of progressive business media brand Fast Company talked to Jobvite's Rachel Bitte and offers some advice and tips to make your voice heard in a competitive marketplace.
As you know, looking for work is a full-time job. Between networking online and in person, getting certifications, and customising each resume to the respective job leads, time is tight. In all the madness, you might hear a persistent rumour that employers and recruiters don’t read cover letters any more.
According to a survey of 1,400 by Jobvite, a recruiting software provider, nearly two-thirds of recruiters say a covering letter is not an important factor when they review applications.
Its demise is due to three things: speed, technology and volume. Most companies today utilise online recruiting, receiving tons of applications for every vacancy advert; often the software systems they use don’t even include a section for cover letter.
The pace at which companies need talent has also grown exponentially, so finding the right person quickly is very important. And traditionally, the cover letter has been a tool for you, as a candidate, to make an impact and demonstrate to the recruiters that you are right for the role.
So what can you do to stand out in the recruitment process where the average vacancy sees over 30 applications?
Rachel Bitte of Jobvite says there are four things you can do on your resume to make up for the loss of the letter:
- Add a summary. Located at the top of the resume, it should include two or three sentences that highlight what makes you different from other applicants. Your objective – i.e. the job you’re applying for - is obvious and doesn’t need to be stated. Who you are and what you have to offer is what the recruiters are looking for.
- Include personal information. This gives recruiters an idea of your personality. You might also make it clear you are willing to relocate.
- Highlight accomplishments. Under each role you have undertaken in your employment history, include bullet points providing concrete data about your major accomplishment and result. Make an impact, demonstrating your previous successes and performance.
- Provide your social media handles. Increasingly, recruiters and hiring managers will scan your social media presence, in order to get a sense of your personality and double check the consistency of your CV. Offer them a link to all your social media profile or blog…but only if you are vigilant and comfortable with what you’ve posted in these platforms.
Ultimately, no one is saying that covering letters are dead. There are still hiring managers that utilise them to get a better insight of the candidate and they are likely to be at small companies with lower hiring volume. At GlobalSportsJobs, we can help you craft a strong covering message to support your application. The key points are the same: keep it short and to the point, and tailor it depending on the role. Do not lose the recruiter’s attention in small chat and obvious information.
Through our Inside Track content hub, you can also read how to improve your digital presence. Here are some tips to optimise your LinkedIn profile for the sports industry and to harness the power of Twitter.
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