Clients can be very specific with their candidate requests.
This means that a recruiter will place a lot of emphasis on the CV.
Particularly a candidate’s previous experience.
As well as the look and sound of the resume.
For business/PA/education positions; punctuation and spelling is crucial.
Once that hurdle is passed, the focus will be on the cover letter.
Many recruiters do not look at covers.
There simply isn’t enough time if they are flooded with resumes.
But at the level of private client hire, it makes a difference.
There are several reasons why.
Firstly, the contact between the candidate and client is immense.
It is not just about experience and ambition.
But also client/candidate fit.
Will they get along?
Will there be a natural connection that makes the day to day interaction comfortable?
These factors are not easy to gauge from a CV.
But a cover letter will glean a better insight into a candidate’s personality.
Their motivations and ambitions, too.
If a candidate does not have the necessary experience, but has the ambition, transferable skills and ability to put this across, it is easier for the recruiter to say to a client:
'I have this candidate. She reads brilliant. Let me show you her cover.'
By itself, this effort has placed her reasonably on par alongside candidates with experience.
Thirty CVs land on the recruiter’s desk.
All with relevant experience and tightly written.
But one or two have written fantastic covers.
Naturally, they will stand out.
A cover should be brief but no one-liners.
Punchy, crisp and with energy.
Anything that is in the CV needs only to be repeated in the cover to make a specific point.
Look at the requirements of the post.
If possible refer to some of these.
Ask someone you trust if they feel excited reading your cover.
You want honest feedback, no ego boosting.
Covers are more likely read if placed in the body of the email.
It should not read like a copy/paste job for numerous other positions.
Personal touch is key.