Is cover letter really crucial in today's job market?
Posted on 11th Mar 2015

Permanent Placement - Is Cover letter really crucial in today's job market?


Job search can be understandably very demanding in itself and the whole process should be handled with due diligence, to make sure you secure that dream job. So, you have edited your CV to a highly presentable standard, searched for your dream job and finally your consultant called to inform you of a perfect fit for you, you have researched the organisation and position and couldn't agree more.

Now, the moment to present yourself in a brief [or not so brief] manner with the aim of leaving the hiring manager wanting more. In these days of information overload where everyone seem to appreciate 'less is more' concept, what is essential to include in your covering letter and what should you leave out?

Below are some useful tips to consider when drafting a cover letter:

1. Size matters: 

A cover letter should not be more than ONE A4 page long. This should be written in carefully selected font and size. We recommend basic professional looking fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman or Garamond. The font should be 10-12 size. This should be sufficient to offer a detailed, yet relevant and concise introduction to why you should be considered for the role.

2. Quality in presentation: 

This is probably the hiring manager's first introduction to you and it is crucial to present yourself in a positive image. Make sure you Spell check your work to ensure there are no grammatical errors in your cover letter.

3. Structure:

We recommend your cover letter to be written in four main paragraphs, with each paragraph offering a concise and relevant information. 

Paragraph one: This should include why you are sending the application, information about the job such as job reference, job title, where you saw the job advertised, details of your recruitment consultant or anyone who might have referred you to the position. 

Paragraph two: This is where you highlight the relevant skills you have as described as required or preffered in the job description, with concise examples of how you acquired these skills. 

Paragraph three: Here is where you highlight why you are suitably qualified for the role, emphasising on how you can make a difference to the organisation

Paragraph four: Your final paragraph should state why you are very keen to work for that organisation in the role you are pplying for, why you would be a great fit, your availability to meet up for possible interview. Close the cover letter off with “Yours Sincerely” and your name. 

4. Content:

Address your cover letter directly to the recruiting manager and lead off with a strong opening sentence. A good example would look like this; ‘I would like to be considered for the role of ...’ Also in the opening paragraph include information on where you found the job advertised, a recruitment consultant or anyone else who may have referred or recommended you to the role.

5. Mode of presentation:

If you are sending out your application in the post, ensure your cover letter is the first letter to be seen once the mail gets opened. If you are sending this via electronic mail, ensure the cover letter is the main body of the email, not an attachment. It is important that your cover letter is the first thing the hiring manager sees and because of this, it is important to make a good first impression.

Would you hire you?

Remember a typed up cover letter using a clear, easy to read font is much better than something which a recruiting manager can’t make head or tail of. Be concise, informative and engaging. Once written, read your cover letter back and ask yourself, “Would I hire this person?"

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