In the dynamic landscape of the UK job market, job seekers and employers alike are navigating an ever-evolving landscape of hiring practices. One question that frequently arises is whether cover letters are still relevant in 2023.
We recently asked you what you thought on the issue, and 58% of you thought that realistically, your CV says it all. But as a recruitment company committed to connecting talent with opportunity, we’re here to explore this topic and offer insights into the role of cover letters in the job market today.
The cover letter has long been a staple of job applications worldwide. It serves as a candidate’s opportunity to introduce themselves, express their interest in a position, and highlight their skills and experiences. But times have changed, and technology is a big player in today’s job hunt. So, where do cover letters fit in?
One reason people question the importance of cover letters is the rise of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These computer programs scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases that match the job description. Since they focus on resumes, some think cover letters have become less relevant.
However, don’t ditch the cover letter just yet! Some companies still value them. They use cover letters to gauge your written communication skills, attention to detail, and real interest in the job. Plus, smaller or more traditional companies may rely on cover letters more.
Where cover letters truly shine is in their capacity for personalisation. A well-crafted cover letter allows candidates to address the hiring manager by name, explain their affinity for the company, and tailor their qualifications to the specific role. This personalised approach can distinguish applicants who put in the effort from those who submit generic applications.
Furthermore, cover letters can help candidates explain any gaps in their employment history, career changes, or other aspects of their background that may require additional context. They serve as a platform for candidates to make their case when their qualifications may not align perfectly with the job description.
For recruitment companies and job seekers alike, cover letters can be instrumental in networking and relationship-building. When candidates are referred to a job opportunity by a current employee or a contact within their professional network, mentioning this connection in their cover letter can carry significant weight. It demonstrates a genuine link to the company and underscores that the candidate is not just another anonymous applicant.
1. Keep It Brief: Aim for a cover letter that is no longer than one page, with clear and concise language.
2. Tailor Each Letter: Customisation is key; adapt your cover letter for each specific job and company.
3. Highlight Relevant Skills: Emphasise skills and experiences that align with the job requirements.
4. Maintain a Professional Tone: Use a professional tone and language throughout your cover letter.
5. Proofread Thoroughly: Ensure your cover letter is free of typos and grammatical errors.
Cover letters are still very much relevant in the UK job market of 2023. While their role has evolved in response to technological advancements and changing hiring practices, they continue to offer value in terms of personalisation, differentiation, and providing additional context to job applications.
For recruitment companies, cover letters can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s communication skills and enthusiasm for a role, making them a valuable tool in the assessment process. So, as a job seeker in the UK, don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted cover letter—it might just be the key to unlocking your dream job opportunity.
Get the dream job offer after perfecting your cover letter? Here are our tips for negotiating and getting the best out of your employment contract.