The question on every jobseekers lips: “Is anyone reading my cover letter?” This is an ongoing debate amongst recruiters. We find out what popular vote says.

As early as 2009, an online hub for job search advice, reCareered, found 90% of hiring managers ignored cover letters, and 97% made a decision whether to interview or not based only on the CV; this based on a survey of over 2 000 HR representatives.

“Cover letters are rarely part of the decision – but when considered, they work against the candidate more often than for the candidate. The cover letter effectively decreases candidates’ interview chances. Candidates can increase their chances by spending time heavily customizing their CVs, and ignoring cover letters,” Phil Rosenberg, president of reCareered said.

However, a good percentage (53%) of hiring managers still prefer the good, old cover letter. So to make sure your cover letter is not going to waste, here are our tips for writing a cover letter that demands attention:

  • Always do some research about about the company so you answer the recruiter’s question of why you are interested in the position. Include something interesting about the employer or company, for example, a fact about the company’s goals or values

  • Highlight at least one strength of yours and expand on that. So, if for example you’re applying for a sales job, and your biggest strength is being a problem solver; you can further say: “Many employers struggle to understand young customers’ financial behaviour, as a young person myself, I understand what sale methods work best for young people.”

  • Double – triple check your letter for any typos. Forty-nine percent of hiring managers say they will automatically dismiss a resume or cover letter with spelling or grammatical errors. So send your letter to atleast five people to check for any spelling and grammatical errors.

Still having troubles with drafting a cover letter? Maybe this article on how to create a cover letter could help you out? Thankfully, a CV will be the least of your worries in the near future. Sign-up, and complete your assessment and profile to be on our database; and very soon employers will be able to download your JobStarter customised CV via your profile.

Image credit: B S K