The big question: are cover letters still relevant?

shutterstock_326111600.jpgRead time - 01:31

The recruitment industry continues to evolve, like any other industry should. Technology is playing a big role in how things are done; new ways of doing things emerge causing old ones to be redundant, like writing a cover letter when applying for a job.

When it comes to writing a cover letter, there are two school of thoughts to it:

  1. If well written, it serves as a powerful tool to help you secure the 'job.' It gives you a chance to sell yourself to an employer in a narrative format and explain why you are the perfect candidate. In a nutshell, a strong cover letter can tip the scale in your favour when applying for a job.

2. If poorly written, a cover letter makes you come across as a weak candidate and can harm your chances of landing the job. No letter is worse than a poorly written one.

But is it still relevant?
Look at it this way: companies can now get a lot of information about you before you even set foot in the interview room. You leave digital breadcrumbs everywhere and they can use it for or against you. So with or without the cover letter, the employer will know more about you. What's important to note is that they care more about your qualifications and experience than the 300 word document accompanying your resume.

What's actually happening then?
In the digital era, your professional profile extends to your social media profiles, online portfolio et al. More and more candidates are making use of unconventional ways of standing out and unfortunately, a cover letter is not one of them. For example, some candidates would solve a problem a company is facing and approached them with a solution.

The rule of thumb is: don't always rely on your resume, the job market is competitive, and with South Africa's unemployment rate sitting on 27.1% you may want to be more creative than writing a one-page cover letter to help you stand out in the concrete jungle.

We are a recruitment company with over 30 years of experience. Contact us; we just might be able to Connect you with your next career opportunity, sans the cover letter.