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Why is it important to include a cover email with your CV?

In today’s unprecedented and competitive jobs market, it’s advisable you take every advantage you can. Including a cover email with your application will give you that advantage.

You’ve probably spent a few evenings and weekends searching for a new job. You may have spent time tailoring your CV to match the requirements. And, now you are expected to write a cover email.

You might think all the information is on your CV. However, some valuable information is missing and doesn’t naturally have a place on your CV.

I often still called it a cover letter.  However, today’s it’s likely to be an email with your CV attached.

What is a Cover Letter?

Firstly, let’s start by explaining what a cover email (or letter) is. And, secondly, explain what information goes into a cover email. 

A cover letter (or email) is another page attached to your CV.  It gives you several additional opportunities to introduce yourself. 

There are certain pieces of information that go on a cover letter, that don’t naturally have a place on your CV.

What do you include in a cover email?

  • Job Reference
  • Where you saw the advert
  • Who you are and a brief introduction
  • The essential criteria you match
  • Reasons for being interested in the job
  • Reasons for being interested in the company
  • Availability for an interview and to start work, and notice period
  • Closing statement

Here are 5 reasons why you should include cover letter:

#1 Another opportunity to tailor your application

Often a tailored CV needs to be two-pages max. Therefore, it’s challenging to include everything on your CV.  Having another page can be highly valuable to build a compelling case that you are the right candidate.

A Cover email and CV are your opportunity to make that all-important first impression. We all know how first impressions count and it’s the same with a cover letter.

It instantly demonstrates you’ve taken the time and put in some extra effort. You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. I know it’s a little cliché.  However, it’s an opportunity you do not want to waste.

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#2 Opportunity to Highlight relevant skills

The main purpose of your Cover email is to include additional information to build up a compelling case.  So, it’s important you take time to highlight and demonstrate your match to the job.

What you are doing is essentially making the recruiters job will easy.  You are making it easy for the recruiter to say yes! 

A well-crafted letter or email can ‘tick’ all the requirements on one page.  This will get your application short-listed potentially before they’ve read your CV.

Taking time to highlight your skills, knowledge, and experience, also demonstrates you have read the advertisement and understand the job.

If you are not an exact match to the requirements listed, make sure you include highly relevant transferable skills. 

#3 Demonstrates you are interested

Taking the time to write a cover email demonstrates you are genuinely interested in the job and organization. This is an important reason for including a cover letter.

Attaching a cover letter shows the recruiters instantly that you are prepared to put in a little extra effort. Particularly, if the advert didn’t request a cover letter be included.

If you are going to include a cover letter, then don’t be tempted to send a standard cover letter. If you have a standard cover email it gives the impression that you haven’t got the time to take this application seriously. I know it’s not necessarily true but that’s the impression.

It could also imply you are applying randomly to vacancies. This isn’t a technique we’d ever endorse. You are likely to waste your time and be even more disheartened by the lack of results.

I was an in-house recruiter for many years and we received some very poor cover letters or no cover letter at all. Recruiters can tell in an instant whether a candidate has taken the time to tailor to the job and the company. They can see they’ve read thoroughly the job advert and researched the company.

#4 Share your reasons for applying

A cover letter (or email) gives you the opportunity to share your reasons for applying for the job. It also gives you an opportunity to explain the reasons you would like to work at that company. 

Review the job advertisement and any information the company shares about the job.  Then review the job description if possible.  It might not be possible at this stage.

There is no natural place on your CV to include reasons for applying.  Therefore, it makes more sense to share these reasons on a Cover Letter.  

#5 Demonstrates you’ve Researched the Company

Include your reasons for being interested in the job and the company.  This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to research the company.

Where do you conduct your research?

  • Review the website
  • Follow the company on its social media accounts
  • Check out Glassdoor for reviews of the company 

Write a short paragraph to explain one or two reasons for being interested in that organization and then back up those reasons.

It’s not enough to use general statements like “the company has a good reputation in the market” or “I want to work for an international” or “I want to work for a global company” these are too generic. These general statements are likely to be the same reasons every other candidate uses.

Let them know why you think these are important aspects.  For example, “I want to work for an International Company to be able to fully utilize my language capabilities, and long term I would like to expand my knowledge and experience globally.”

Here’s a quick recap of the main reasons for including a cover email with every application:

  • Shows you’ve taken the time and made the effort
  • Demonstrates why you are suitable for the job
  • Gives reasons why are you interested in the job and company
  • Demonstrates you’ve taken the time to research
  • Shows you are genuinely interested and motivated

About Dawn Moss

Dawn has worked in a corporate environment for over ten years providing Recruitment & Selection Services, and has been involved in Coaching & Educating Business Leaders, Managers and Employees in all aspects of the recruitment process.

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