Candidate Resources


Should I write a Cover Letter?

Should I write a Cover Letter?

Cover letters. A funny subject really aren’t they? They come with little to no direction when applying for a job. You are sitting there innocently applying for a job…

  • Attach CV* | Eaaaaasy Mr Recruiter – there you go. Bosh.
  • Full Name* | It’s on my CV, but fair enough….. Russell Ayles
  • Phone Number* | Are you not going to look at my CV… ok fair enough it is simple info for your database… 0450 123456
  • Email Address* | (seriously though – if you have one like this, probably best to change it)
  • Current Job Title* | FFS seriously, it is on my CV – Underwear Model
  • Attach Cover Letter………..

This is when you get the little devil and angel on your shoulder.

No alt text provided for this image – “Attach Cover Letter? There is no asterisk next to it, so it cant be mandatory?”

“I won’t bother”

“But what if they think that means I don’t want the job?”

“If they make decisions like that based on a cover letter they can go F…”

“BUT….. they’ve asked for one, let’s not be rude. We should do one.”

“Ok yeah, sure, I’ll do a cover letter ‘Please refer to my CV’.”

It’s always a tough decision whether or not to attach a cover letter, especially when they give you the option to do so. But is it really necessary?

I’ll jump in with my opinion…

Absolutely f***ing not!

As a recruiter, I would never read cover letters, nor do most people I’ve ever worked with. If they did, it was more out of curiosity rather than to ascertain whether the person was relevant to the job.

You’ll probably find multiple statistics around the percentage of cover letters read. But I can tell you from my experience it’s very low.


There are a few occasions when they can be really valuable…

Is there something in your CV that is going to confuse the Recruiter? What do I mean by this? What I mean is, are they going to open your CV and find something that doesn’t make sense?

For example, you live in London and this is what you put on your CV, but you’re applying for a job in Copenhagen. Yes, of course the Recruiter could just think you obviously want to move, BUT there’s a good chance they might just think you haven’t read the advert properly.

You can use the cover letter to explain why you want to move and specifically why you want to work for them.

Next up… Could it appear at first glance that you’re not right for this particular job?

For example, you might be moving completely out of role or industry and the context you need to give the recruiter does not lend itself well to your CV.

You can use the cover letter as an opportunity to put into context your transferrable skills in more detail and explain how you feel the role is going to be a good fit. Essentially, you can help the recruiter join the dots they might not see at a glance in your CV.

Finally… In all honesty, you can consider writing one…. if you are truly passionate about the company. Is this a business you’ve actually wanted to work for the whole of your career? Is this THE job that you’re only going to get one crack at?

If so… do everything you can do and if that means writing a cover letter then do it.

But if you’re going to do it…

Do it properly, Don’t just google cover letter template.

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My top 5 tips for a cover letter:

  • Keep it short
  • Get straight to the point
  • Be specific
  • Show your value
  • Include a call to action

But look, let’s be honest, for over 90% of applications, you really don’t need a cover letter even if it lets you attach one. As a recruiter, we’re not going to think less of people who don’t write a cover letter.

In fact…

Writing a sh*t cover letter can be worse than not writing one at all.