In research we carried out at CV Writers, 66% of recruiters would read a CV regardless of whether a cover letter was included as part of the application. The other 33% would only read a CV if a cover letter was included. It makes sense therefore not take any chances; if a cover letter is required as part of an application then make sure that you include one.
Three or four paragraphs are more than enough. If your letter has made it to a second page then perhaps it’s time to think again. Your CV and cover letter are about securing an interview, not getting the job. Never copy and paste information directly from your CV, but do expand on points and draw out key information you feel is crucial to the recruiter.
What should I include?
In short, you need to answer the questions asked in terms of the person specification. It is the person specification that your application will be assessed against. So make sure that you give clear and concise evidence which supports you meeting the criteria.
Use specific examples
It is one thing to claim you can do something, however, you have to be able to evidence it too. Your cover letter can be all the more effective and memorable if you include specific examples to demonstrate your skills and experience. If you can also include hard facts and figures your cover letter will be all the stronger for it.
Should I include personal information?
As a rule of thumb it is better not to include any personal information in your letter. In the UK you are of course protected by equal opportunities legislation so there is certainly no need to reveal anything about yourself in regard to age, sex, race or disability. Any other personal circumstances should really be left until the post-offer stage.
The call to action
Remember, the whole point of you cover letter is to get the recruiter to read your CV. You should therefore end your cover letter by pointing the reader to your CV to find out more.
This article is written by Neville Rose, Director at CV Writers. If you need help with your CV, cover letter or LinkedIn profile CV Writers are the official partner to The Planner Jobs and provide a CV writing service.