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Everyone should realise the importance of a clear and well-written resumé—and most people do. However, some indi...
Everyone should realise the importance of a clear and well-written resumé—and most people do. However, some individuals don’t realize that the cover letter that accompanies a CV is equally, if not more, important.
I make the above observation from personal experience. Over the years I’ve had plenty of contact with job applications: I’ve worked within a recruitment firm, been responsible for the staffing of my own teams, and taken on freelancers from online job boards to assist with projects. In every case, the cover letter has had just as much influence on whether people make it to the next stage of the process as the CV.
Why? Well, here are some reasons:
1. The quality of the cover letter instantly reveals how much attention a candidate has paid to their application. Recruiters can spot “boiler plate” cover letters a mile off, and they often indicate that a candidate is just indiscriminately applying for loads of positions. When I worked in recruitment, cover letters of this nature often resulted in us not even looking at the CVs beneath.
2. A good cover letter provides candidates with a good opportunity to make a positive first impression. People who specifically respond to points in a job advert or posting and concisely emphasise relevant experience put themselves instantly ahead of the pack.
3. Some recruiters, especially those on online freelance boards, hide specific cover letter requests in the job details to catch out those who aren’t paying attention.
One common tactic is to request that people include a certain phrase in their cover letter. Applicants who clearly haven’t read the advert properly have their CVs summarily rejected.
So, if you’re applying for jobs—either full-time positions or freelance assignments—take the time to craft a quality cover letter for each one. In the long run you will save time, because you’ll probably land some work sooner than you would have done otherwise.