Tier 1 Procurement’S (T1P) view is that not enough research is put into cover letters. We believe you must link the cover letter and reason why you are interested in the job to some research you have done, such as financial information or market information about the employer. This will show that it is not just a “cut and paste” job. Also, check on LinkedIn: do you know anyone working at the company who can recommend you?
It is a fallacy that it’s smart to phone ahead of doing an application. Typically, although not always, a recruiter will assume the applicant is not qualified in some way for the role if they call first. The reality is that a recruiter will have a clear picture of what they want and would prefer the applicant to simply send in their CV.
Agencies rarely read cover letters, so don’t spend too much time on this if submitting via an agency. Instead, they will immediately jump to the CV and make a quick judgement. Rest assured, if your profile is of interest, they will be in touch very quickly. A recruiter will usually shortlist in a matter of hours, not days, so send your CV across as soon as you can.
CVs need to be kept to under four pages, and the first page needs to capture the hiring manager’s interest in around ten seconds. An articulate and punchy profile including the relevant skills required for the role will usually be enough, but it’s also important to have the work history start on page one. This is because some hiring managers will jump straight to the most recent role in the work history and form a decision based on that content.
Here are some more tips for preparing your CV:
- Don’t assume key experience buried in the CV will be identified in that initial vetting process. Consider including the highlighted experience in the upfront profile, or within the first role in the work history if possible.
- Always include a link to your LinkedIn profile with your contact details.
- Include logos if you have worked for some cool brands, as this will also lift the document to another level.
- Avoid omitting dates or plastering your first page with a host of achievements. Be careful not to simply list a set of tasks like a job description. Instead, include your achievements by aligning them with the relevant role in the work history.
- It really pays to read the CV as if you are the hiring manager before you apply. Ask yourself this key question: “Would you interview this person if you didn’t know them?”
Outplacement or Career Coaching
If you have been retrenched or decided to leave a company after many years, it is essential to engage with a career coach or outplacement specialist. These resources are very useful if you have not looked for a job in many years. From CV guidance, to LinkedIn and interview rehearsals, they will be worth their weight in gold.
There is no magic pill for dealing with these strange times we are in.
Keeping your network warm and networking with new people in hiring positions (using LinkedIn) will be the most important aspects. A punchy, achievement-focused CV and mastery of your LinkedIn profile will hopefully see you through these challenging times.