Got it Covered: How Cover Letters are Being Sidelined

20th April 2015
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Writing a great cover letter used to be considered as important and often as difficult as drafting the perfect CV, however now it appears that the trend for cover letters is waning as more candidates rely on quick-apply options and their LinkedIn profiles to provide all the information needed. We discuss the changes and whether cover letters are now a redundant medium.

Changing Trends

It used to be that crafting the perfect cover letter was one of the most important aspects of getting oneself noticed by recruiters and employers. Being able to sum up your work ethic, passion for the chosen industry and ambitions within a company all in a few sentences is hard but important work. However, with the multitude of quick-apply recruitment options targeted to social media and smartphone users, the age-old cover letter has become less and less popular amongst candidates.

Some companies request a cover letter and not providing one will probably not reflect well on a candidate, however if it is not requested it is unlikely that the modern candidate will even bother writing one.

Why are Cover Letters Less Prevalent?

From a recruiter’s perspective, sifting through cover letters can be a time-consuming process, particularly if they have not been tailor-written for the specific job for which the candidate is applying. One report reads that cover letters aren’t often read for this reason, and that the candidate’s focus should be placed on resumes instead.

Recruitment processes have changed in recent years with constant advances in online technology making it easy to tailor online application forms. This means that the questions asked during the online application process can often provide the same information a recruiter would receive from a cover letter.

Online recruitment agencies too, are often able to pre-empt the questions the employer would usually want to know from a cover letter, and therefore help ensure that they glean all the vital information in case one is not included.

Vital Statistics
If candidates are used to writing a cover letter to help explain their skills and aspirations for a position, they may be thrown off by the lack of interest currently shown in the medium by some. It is therefore important to invest time and effort into making your resume as informed as possible and working on your professional online profiles, such as LinkedIn in addition to perfecting your cover letter. Many recruiters look to LinkedIn for information, and it is often set out in a clearer way with specific notes on skills which can be quickly and easily viewed and recorded.

For some industries, having a portfolio readily available online or in print is a great way to circumvent the cover letter while still providing accurate representations of your work. We at RecruitmentRevolution.com have noticed a significant change in the number of cover letters we receive, and have also noticed more candidates relying heavily on platforms such as LinkedIn. But many clients still prefer those candidates who use their covering letter to demonstrate personality, why they should be considered for the role and what makes them stand out from the crowd.

" many clients still prefer those candidates who use their covering letter to demonstrate personality, why they should be considered for the role and what makes them stand out from the crowd. "