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Importance of a Cover Letter

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Selyuu, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Selyuu

    Selyuu New Member

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    Hi all!

    Just a quick question. Should I have a Cover Letter attached to my CV? I'll be applying for entry-level, 1st line, help desk support in IT.

    If yes, should I try to customise each letter to each application? Or create a more rounded letter that I can recycle?

    Thank you!
     
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    What I tend to do when I am sending out my CV is just attach it to an email, mention the job reference, availability and salary expectations, then call the recruiters up and speak to them, talk to them as soon as you have sent your CV so that you are fresh in their minds when they read your CV (hopefully with you on the phone at the time).

    Cover letters usually just end up in the bin, the CV goes on their db and is searched by key words more often than not.
     
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  3. Juelz

    Juelz Gigabyte Poster

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    Well I can only speak from non-IT related jobs that I have applied for, so it may be different, but I generally add my cover-letter in my email letting them know I am interested in the job and why I am applying for that specific position and why I think its the perfect job for me. Most the info they want should be on your CV anyway but I dont see a cover letter putting them off.. surely it must do more harm than good?. Good luck
     
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  4. Selyuu

    Selyuu New Member

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    Thank you for that! I really like that approach. Shows a proactive side and initiative. Especially since most, if not all, my current applications on job sites are with recruitment agencies rather than the employer directly.

    If you don't mind me probing a little, what are some of the things you say/ask/mention when on the phone to them? Also, I've never thought to put my salary expectations on there. I always assumed that was for those with a wealth of experience that were looking for senior positions or a discussion that was left until further down the recruitment process. I'd love to know your thoughts on this!

    Thank you for your reply! That's what I assumed too, can't be that bad to have a cover letter included, unless the writing is atrocious.

    I thought I'd start off with fairly generic cover letter and try add some flair and spice to help make it my own. I would then use this to attach to my CV, editing the essentials such as name, address, positions, company name, etc to align with the position I'm applying for.
     
  5. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    I always use a covering letter for external job applications but not internal. Internal the proof is in the pudding. They can checkout my glittering internal scores and appraisals, all that jazz. Best of luck, Jim
     
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  6. cBooM

    cBooM Bit Poster

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    I dont really understand where you look for jobs :) because, in my experience, when I look for jobs on recruitment websites (indeed, reed, monster, totaljobs, etc) there are mostly HR agencies and you have to apply on the website, not writing emails personally ..
     
  7. MDCasey

    MDCasey New Member

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    The key thing about cover letters is that they go a long, long way toward proving your interest in a job. A hiring manager will definitely look at it, and they will quickly pick out whether you've customized it for their company (which you should), and decide within the first paragraph whether you're someone who truly understands the job you're applying for. Cover letters are great for identifying candidates who don't understand the job. Most importantly, unlike in a resume/CV, a cover letter makes it obvious when you've customized your application for that particular employer. This shows you care.

    It's a pain, no doubt. I have a pretty standard cover letter that I only edit a few lines of if I'm submitting an application quickly or "just to cover my bases." But if I care, I spend quite a bit of time customizing and tweaking the letter, using relevant language and relaying experiences the hiring manager will appreciate. Worry less about the format (many sites now just have a little text box you have to paste it into; other job posts say to email your cover letter in the body of an email -- it's a little different each time), and more about how you present yourself. Write it as if you were actually talking to the recruiter.

    Whatever you do, if you submit a cover letter you can safely assume these things:
    • If you don't submit a letter at all, you will be up against candidates who did. Why choose to put yourself at a disadvantage?
    • A recruiter will read the first few sentences, and perhaps skim the rest. That doesn't mean it's not important, just that the first part is EXTRA important.
    • If you customize a letter for that company, clearly stating the hiring manager's name, the position, and the company's name, it will be obvious and, perhaps a bit unfairly, it will score you bonus points.
    • If you don't customize it, it will be obvious that you didn't.
    • A cover letter is the only place you can express you personality. This does NOT mean make it pink and crack jokes. It does mean to show your enthusiasm, your personal experiences in previous positions, and your knowledge about the role
     
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  8. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Actually as a hiring manager I have never been forwarded a covering letter from a candidate, it's always been the CV from the agency and that's it.

    The covering letter in my opinion is for the agent and only that, it's also why I don't tend to write war and peace on my email and instead just phone the agent up 5 minutes after sending out my CV.

    Let's be fair here, agents get hundreds of emails from prospective candidates per role, most of them just go in to the DB and are word scraped to find out if you have the required skill set, calling the agent as soon as they receive your CV and talking to them get's them on to you there and then rather than them having to trawl through 500 covering letters.

    In the 15+ years of working in IT the most I have written in an email is.

    Dear x,

    Please consider me for the above role, my current position is that I am on x weeks notice\ available in 2 weeks.
    My expected rate\salary is x.

    Regards,


    Five minutes after sending that I call the agent up and have a chat.

    I have had experience of working in a recruitment company before (many years ago and it no longer exists) so I have worked with the resourcer and agent and I can tell you they are on tight deadlines to get numbers across to the client, whether they are the right people for the role is the thing.
     
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  9. Martay

    Martay Bit Poster

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    Just out of interest, who do you know to ask for when you call the number and what sorts of things do you talk about?
     
  10. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    It's generally in the job advert, I ask about the role, tell them a little bit about me etc. I have to admit that I have been in my current role now for over 4 years so it's been a while but as a contractor I used to look for work every 6 - 18 months.
     
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    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).

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