Cover letter – necessity or fiction?

By Joanna Sadowska

8 April 2014
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For the recruiter it is the first test that verifies the candidate's predispositions. The most important will always be a well prepared CV, but the cover letter should be it's indispensable complement.

Very often we get cover letters, although there was no such requirement in the offer and there is nothing wrong with that. We will eagerly read it if only the CV will convince us to do so. However, even if the document was required, frequently it doesn’t meet the basic expectations. Letters tend to be completely off topic or prepared for a completely different position. Written in German, although the offer was in Polish and English knowledge was required. What's more, they are badly formatted or misspelled. And these are nuances that in such a document should not occur. Especially since you as a recruiter do not want to spend a lot of time to eliminate such errors.

Is it worth to spend a few moments to write a cover letter? Absolutely!

Why not keep the letter simple, concise and to the point? It should contain the links between all stages of career and/or education, information what motivates us to change and should draw into the personality of the candidate. Please make sure to avoid mistakes in both spelling and grammar, and do not repeat your resume. Start with the accurate reading of the offer - are you sure that you're qualified for this position?

As long as the question seems obvious, it is quite often overlooked by applicants. If the requirements are met - you should find keywords and use them, refer to the description of the company or the position. The letter can also show your personality - and it's probably the least frequently used aspect of this document, which is a pity. Absolutely do not copy sample letters found on the Internet. How to show a link between stages of your career? Do not blindly specify the names of positions or companies in which you worked. It is better to describe the reasons for changing them, characterize how your next stage affected your career. If it's only the beginning you may refer in the same way to education. Nothing happens without a reason - everything is somehow related.

The most common errors. Serious misconducts included:
A large number of spelling mistakes - yes, surprisingly there are letters written by hand, but 99% are documents created in word processors - and correcting spelling errors in them is extremely easy.

Lack of coherence, logic - you're a super team player, but you work very well alone? You do not have the qualifications, but you're a fast learner and it doesn't matter that you do not have the required knowledge?

No description of motivation - as the name implies - the whole document is intended to provide motivation. (Why you are the best candidate for this position? If you can't prove that with your letter, no one is going to ponder on that)

Referring to the tragic situation in the country - are you sure career cannot be done in this country? You're not able to accomplish anything? Is it impossible to earn good money there? Maybe it might be worth to begin by changing your attitude?

The arrogance, haughtiness and insolence - we will not find anyone better than you? Want to bet?
Minor ones:
• Lack of text justification - it's just one button and how pleasing to the eye the sight is.
• Lack of name of the position to which you are applying - show that you put a little effort for every application.
• Lack of personal data - accidentally erased CV and there is no longer any contact with you.

good luck everybody and till next time!

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