Profile: The New Covering Letter

Hello my name is …are you still reading?



I have 30 seconds to spike your interest enough to get you to read or skim through the rest of this post. Scarily enough, so does your C.V in making it through the rejection cull.
Whether you believe in covering letters or not, the fact is, most never get read. In fact it’s rare that the email to which you have attached your details even gets a cursory glance. Our attention span is getting shorter by the second or 60 character tweet, and recruiters have some of the worst.
Yeah, we’ve heard the statistic before, we also know that in today’s market you need to demonstrate you want ‘the’ job and not just ‘a’ job. How are we supposed to do that when our first shot (and sometimes only) is until half way down the first page of our C.V and that’s regardless of what format we have agonized and pontificated over?
I propose a profile right at the top. A little paragraph which is usually filled with¬†generic statements. I find it amazing that we are all professionals with excellent communication skills. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has claimed otherwise.
Instead use this space to succinctly and directly address the main requirements of the post you are applying for. These can usually be found on the role’s advertisement in which as space is premium most cut to the chase (is it just me or has the quality of job adverts completely declined? They seem to be getting shorter and more mispelled, I once saw a three lined ad for a 60k position – I’ll leave that for another post.)
CV shifting is rarely done by the hiring decision maker first, so put yourself in layman’s shoes to be safe, define the requirements and mirror the language used to define your relevant experience / skill sets.
So if it’s an ad for a qualified Finance Manager with staff management responsibility, to provide statutory accounts, SAP desirable within an I.T company, my profile would read:
- ACCA qualified
- Managed teams ranging from 2 – 10 direct reports
- Preparation and responsibility for the year end process including the provision of statutory accounts
- SAP, Oracle and advanced Excel user
- 6 years I.T industry experience gained in Dell and Fujitsu Siemens


Then the rest would follow. Ok, so its not really a covering letter, more of a covering note.
I believe you need to tailor your CV right the way through to every application you make. However, even if this was the only thing you changed, targeting the requirements and directly addressing them in the opening lines could make all the difference.
Spoon feed the shortlister, make your details more consumable, faster, they might just read through to the end. Did you?

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