A Word to the Wise

When you are applying for jobs, never underestimate how important it is to read the advert properly.  One of our consultants has recently advertised a role and in the advert they have requested a covering letter outlining why you are a good candidate for the job – and yet in the last 7 days, not a single applicant has provided anything other than the standard covering email automatically generated by the job board.  The request for a covering letter doesn’t mean ‘send the standard automatically generated email indicating that you are applying for xxx job’ – that’s sort of a given.  Tell us why you are applying, and why you think you would be a good candidate.

Looking through the applicants we can’t help thinking that any one of these candidates could have enhanced their application simply by reading the advert properly, and in fact on this occasion it is our client that has asked for the covering letter, in order to provide them with some means of assessing the communication skills of any standout applicants.

Why bother providing a covering letter, you might wonder, if no one else is going to bother?  Well, that’s your first reason, and the others are outlined below…

  1. Most candidates won’t bother.  Immediately, you are the only candidate that has read the instructions properly, giving you a massive advantage over the competition just by taking a few moments of your time to compose a short email.
  2. To explain things – many of the applicants we’ve had don’t appear to live anywhere near our client’s midlands-based offices, so it would be useful to find out why they would consider moving there (or at least demonstrate that they have read the advert and understand where the job is based)
  3. To demonstrate enthusiasm.  Imagine having to read through twenty dreary applications for the same role, and then reading one that is full of enthusiasm – which candidate do you think we’ll want to pick up the phone to call, and which one do you think our clients would like to meet?

Read the advert in full, and if you genuinely think the job is a good fit for you, take a few moments and explain why.  Make sure your CV demonstrates that you have the skills the employer is looking for, and send off a strong application instead of a weak one.  Ultimately this is much more likely to result in you getting an interview than sending out fifty weak applications.