So we recently asked y'all on LinkedIn what you thought was more important for your 2021 job search within travel recruitment...CV or Cover Letter. 246 of you voted and a whopping 72% of you thought a standout CV was your best bet, with the other 28% opting for a banging cover letter being the winning ticket [case study below].
So before we delve into the recruitment equivalent of 'what came first...the chicken or the egg', i wanted to acknowledge a few points of view for context.
There will be recruitment experts saying you always read a cover letter first, ones saying you only read a cover letter if the cv is good, others saying recruiters don't have time to read cover letters. Oh and the biggest savage recruitment fact: we only spend 10 seconds reading CV's, is fully true. Just think the untalented novelty acts on X-factor get more of a platform than your CV.
I hear all of the above points. But for this blog i'm going to focus on how we at Lightning work so i can give context to my opinion.
So here goes......
I see so many CV's on a daily basis and have to make quick (10 second) decisions on who to speak to for live roles. It's bloody tough, but it's how it goes right now.
Until a few months ago i wasn't a fan of cover letters, i thought they were unnecessary and clunky and in more cases than not i wouldn't read them. When i did it was largely just a regurgitated version of candidates CV written in a slightly less corporate style and i lost valuable minutes of my life i wouldn't get back. HOWEVER...
Now i'm a convert.
But i'm a convert for a certain type of cover letter. Y'all by now should have standout CV's, if you don't i'll ask you to re-do it before continuing on in a recruitment process - clients expect good CV's now. But with competition for roles so strong the shortlist for my last 3 roles was decided on the content of the candidates cover letters by clients.
A cover letter should not be you listing out all your achievements, that's what your CV is for. Instead, this magical memo should show a bit of YOU as a human being, why you'd be a great fit for the role and why you like the company. The hiring manager wants to know about you outside of work to ensure a good culture fit, and see more of your personality through your style of writing.
So next time you one click apply with your standout CV and get annoyed you don't hear back, consider following up with a cover letter / personal email. It may be the difference that lands you a role.