FAQ: Do I Need a Cover Letter?

Research suggests younger workers resent writing them, yet the majority take the time to. Do you need a bespoke cover letter to apply to a recruitment agency? 

The above references an onrec piece, in which we hear:

  • 2 in 3 applicants aged 18-24 resent having to create bespoke cover letters for each job application
  • However, 56.7% of workers always do so
  • And 2 in 3 believe ‘that cover letters benefit a job application’

Let’s start with how you’re applying

When you say ‘cover letter’ we’d recommend that this is always a ‘cover email’ for recruitment agencies. Not only will it reach the agency much sooner, it helps your recruitment consultant to process your information. I.e. easily saving your CV and being able to swiftly format this for any client applications.

So, does that mean you always need a cover email for a recruitment agency? 

Yes it would be recommended for your initial introductory email. Although that’s not necessarily as detailed an email as you might expect!

Recruitment agencies usually receive many CVs each day due to the number of roles that they’re actively recruiting for (as well as from candidates who simply wish to be considered for any suitable role that becomes available).

To this end, your goal is to ensure your covering email succinctly communicates the basics of your search needs and availability.

You’ll want to include:

  • Position type: whether you’re looking for temporary &/or permanent work. Plus whether this is part time or full time.
  • Nature of role/s: the types of roles that you are hoping to apply for i.e. Account Management, Office Assistant, PA, Administrator, Finance Manager, etc.
  • A salary guide: at least the minimum that you would realistically commit to.
  • Your working availability – whether immediate or with X number of weeks’ notice
  • If applicable: job reference numbers & titles for any roles of specific interest (you can find these at the bottom of each job advert on the Appoint website)

If you’re applying for a specific vacancy, you may wish to add a brief line regarding your associated experience. However, be certain to ensure that this is also clearly conveyed in your attached CV.

Talking of CVs…

If you’re applying as a general applicant (i.e. not for a specific vacancy) you can use your standard/basic CV. This should be one that highlights your skills and achievements from the point of view of most of the roles that you’d be looking for right now.

When applying for a specific vacancy, it’s wise to update this CV to include examples that pertain to the job specification. We talk about this a little in ‘Your CV: and what to do BEFORE you write it’.

What if you’ve included 6 job references in your cover email, do you need to send 6 CVs?

No, that would be CV overload! The likelihood is that there will be a theme to these jobs – that is if the references relate to positions that you are likely to fulfil the advertised requirements for, as opposed to those that you have no experience/qualifications in yet just catch your eye..!

Perhaps two CVs would be most suitable: each to demonstrate one of the core themes. Name the CV files to reflect this and –to be super efficient!– list the reference codes under the related CV header.

You’re welcome to use this copy & paste template…

[See above for a reminder as to what each bullet point refers to!]

Dear X,

Opening line or two of your choice…

  • Position type:
  • Nature of role/s:
  • Salary guide:
  • Working availability:
  • Job reference numbers & titles (if applicable):

Closing line,

Name

Mobile number

We hope this helps take some of the stress away from writing your cover email – and we look forward to receiving your application!