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7 Reasons Why a Good Cover Letter is Gold

Elizabeth Jarque - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Here at Viridity business is booming and we’re recruiting again. As the Viridity HR Manager I am constantly surprised at the lack of preparation given to the candidate CVs and Cover Letters that we receive.

Considering the fact that these two documents will probably be the first and only opportunity for the candidate to introduce themselves and make a memorable (positive) impression, why are candidates so careless and essentially lazy?

For example, despite the fact that our recent job advertisement specifically requested a CV and Cover letter, only 50% of applications included a Cover letter. 

Hence this blog post on the importance of taking the time to construct a Cover Letter and CV that specifically addresses the critical criteria found in the Job advert.

Why? Let me give you 7 reasons

1. First impressions stick

The Cover letter is the potential employer’s first introduction to the candidate. First impressions are very hard to change which works in the candidate’s favour when the Cover Letter is a good one. It also means that the interview is more likely to open on a pre-existing positive impression, making it easier for both parties to move forward on how they benefit each other.

2. Not including a Cover Letter is also communicating something about the candidate to the prospective employer

So, there’s no Cover Letter. Often this means that myself and other HR Managers don’t even look at the CV, particularly if there are other promising candidates. Why not? Already the candidate has communicated to me that: 

  • the candidate is lazy, 
  • shows lack of attention to the details of the Job Advert, 
  • A new role isn’t really a priority or, 
  • Has no idea know to write a Cover Letter. 

Is Viridity really interested in a staff member with any of the above?

3. A well-constructed Cover Letter tells a story

A critical part of finding the right candidate is ensuring a good cultural fit. Will this person fit into the culture that Viridity has created? A CV rarely provides this insight. But a Cover letter should tell a story, revealing the individual personality behind all the skills and accomplishments. It’s also a great place to explain the candidate’s motives for applying – for example, why are they job searching with only 7 months in their current role?  This is also the perfect opportunity to score brownie points by making reference to what Viridity does and why they would like to work for us.

4. Convinces the employer that you should be in the ‘A’ pile

A good Cover Letter should address the Job criteria using the STAR formula, and when it does, bingo, I’m hooked. We’ll certainly be giving this person a call. Why? Because any candidate can tell you how efficient, hardworking, innovative and dedicated they are. But why should I be inclined to believe them? The STAR formula proves it. 

Don’t know what the STAR structure is? Look it up, it’s an excellent tool.

5. Demonstrates communication skills & other essential criteria

When a candidate takes the time to prepare an individual Cover Letter for each application, it demonstrates the following:

  • Excellent communication skills (You try to encapsulate who you are and why you are the person for a job in less than 1 page )
  • Critical and analytical thinking in determining from the Job advert the key skills and characteristics Viridity are looking for.
  • Commitment, focus and hard work.

6. A generic Cover Letter and CV are blatantly obvious

It’s false economy to email the same CV and Cover letter to prospective employers. During Job Skills’ workshops that I occasionally facilitate, there are often job seekers who proudly tell me that they have applied for over 100 jobs and haven’t received a single response! And they’re surprised. Obviously, it’s a no brainer – poor communication skills coupled with laziness in not bothering to formulate a winning application addressing key criteria. 

7. And finally, why is a good cover letter gold? 

Why? Because they’re as rare and as valuable as gold. When I read one, I remember the candidate for all the right reasons and will certainly put them in the A pile…even perhaps before I’ve looked at their CV.

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