What is the future of the cover letter?
The cover letter has always been a staple requirement for every job application, but now, as the recruitment process moves more and more into the digital world, the question has to arise – do we need the cover letter anymore?
CK Technical opened up this debate to include members of our LinkedIn group to get their viewpoint and here is what they had to say:
High Volume Recruitment Specialist
RIP Cover Letter. In a loose labour market, the cover letter is facing extinction. As an agency recruiter, the emphasis was always to look at the CV first and create our own profile based on that. As an internal recruiter who uses online application methods, there is a facility to upload supporting evidence, but most hiring managers will shortlist on CV alone. I can see some value if you are applying for a role which entails a change of career and it’s your only way of selling yourself, but in a loose market with multiple applications, a strong CV is where the focus needs to be
Microbiology Technician at 2 Sisters Food Group
I am currently working but looking for a change and every recruiter and his lapdog wants a ‘cover letter’ or ‘personal statement’. From the employee’s standpoint, they are alive and well!
First impressions are still important, and you will still find the occasional job advert that does ask for supporting information, so there is still a need to sell yourself outside of the traditional CV, but those positions tend to be the exception to the rule. If you are sending your CV cold then you will need to support it with an eye catching introduction as you can guarantee that the end contact will have already received their fair share on unsolicited CVs. Imagination and creativity are the key as far as I am concerned. When I was looking for my first internal role I constructed a visual cover letter that was simply made up of images promoting my suitability and it got a very positive response.
The cover letter and the traditional CV has been around since 1842 and has hardly evolved at all, whilst the methods employers use to search and select candidates has adapted and improved with technology. I feel invention and creativity is the way forward. Forget about the black and white approach, ask how else can you sell yourself? I have had digital cover notes and CVs that tell the story utilising graphics and sounds. These are the ones that stand out and due to their innovative and creative approach quickly get forwarded on for other people to view. Albeit they require much more effort and an element of technical know how, but surely it is about time the whole process woke up to the 21st Century.
I think the cover letter is essential as you can use it to highlight your experience vs the experience required for the role advertised, as the employer already knows then where you will excel and fit into the role before they even look at your CV and gives them an easy life.
It seems there is still very much a need for the cover letter but the top tips include:
- Be innovative and creative with your approach
- Use it as an opportunity to sell skills, experience or any other information you feel will help sell you to the recruiter, or the employer.