Is the Cover Letter Dead?

Recruiters and many employers are divided on the current usefulness of the cover letter in today’s hiring process.

In theory and from the past years the cover letter has always been seen as the prime introductory document for a job applicant. It’s influence and relevance to this date may have waned drastically as it is now an issue of debate. On Ngcareers for instance our new job application process no longer requires an applicant to submit a cover letter.

Still we did a study to learn what continued importance if any the cover letter has.

What the Role of the Cover Letter Is

To first understand the relevance of a cover letter we need to look at what a cover letter does or is supposed to do.

A Cover Letter explains why you are sending a CV
A Cover Letter introduces your CV and attempts to convince the employer to take a look at your CV

So from the two major functions of a cover letter above we can begin to deduce how important or otherwise the Cover letter is in today’s recruiting.

Do You Need a Cover Letter to Explain Why You Are Sending a CV?

Unless you are making an unsolicited application it is not essentially you write a cover letter to explain why you are sending your CV. If an employer placed a job vacancy he is already aware of the fact that he will receive CV applications.

Is it the Cover Letter Important in Convincing Employers to Look at Your CV?

In some situations an employer might use a cover letter to know a bit about the candidate before deciding if to have a full look at the CV of the applicant.

The Cover Letter was prominent initially as an applicant letter during the days when most vacancies were advertised in newspapers and magazines and applications were sent in through physical delivery or the post office. As the internet evolved in Nigeria online recruiting is gradually coming on and with it changes in the recruiting process.

In place of using the cover letter to determine if they want to see the applicant’s CV employers can now filter CV applications based on some parameters (as can be done on Ngcareers) and preview CVs to decide whether they want to use them or not. The fact that most cover letters now contain almost the same word template and little originality also doesn’t help the case for continous use.

The argument may not be conclusive but some online discussions show that cover letters while they may be declining in importance still have good use in certain situations

For many professionals they are of the belief that the cover letter will continue to be important for mid level and upper level positions. For them a mid level executive for instance a cover letter will serve as a persuasion tool to briefly outline his experience and suitability for the job.

For some others like David Liu, COO of Knewton (an online learning company) job openings that don’t require a high level of verbal and written skills place less emphasis on the cover letter.

Not every recruiter is giving up on cover letters though. For some resumes are about skills, cover letters are an opportunity for a person to indicate their desire to work for a company. Brian Bruce, vice president, Premier Solutions Restaurant Recruiting says cover letters can be used to answer some questions not handled by the CV. “Sometimes there’s some explanation needed. If they’re sending me a resume and all their experience is in California, in the cover letter portion they can say, ‘I’m moving to Pennsylvania in six weeks.'”

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One Comment

  1. PAUL ARHEBUN says:

    please i am interested, in the cover letter.

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