What Do Hiring Managers Want to See in a Cover Letter?

A cover letter that will get you some attention.  But will it win you the interview?

A cover letter that will get you some attention. But will it win you the interview?

Are Cover Letters a thing of the past?  If not, then what value do they add?  More importantly, what do Hiring Managers want to see in a cover letter?

To vote on the poll – scroll down.  Or read this article first, and then cast your vote to help candidates know what they need to provide.

For those who don’t see the need for a Cover Letter – their argument may be that the One Page Curriculum Vitae will sufficiently outline relevant experience, skills, and supporting achievements that resonate with the Hiring Manager of the role you are applying for.  And, that this in itself should provide evidence that you have researched the role before hitting the ‘Apply Now’ button.  To some degree I support this argument.  But the fact is – sometimes you will be asked to provide a cover letter.  (Note: In addition to the One Page CV, a full CV may also be required prior to interview)

So other than demonstrating that you have invested the time to research the role before hitting the ‘Apply Now’ button, what – if anything, does the Cover Letter add to the application process?

Firstly, it demonstrates that you understand where this role fits in the organisation and the value it will deliver.  It provides a clear understanding that you are familiar with the objectives / strategy of the organisation based on research and fact. (this is sometimes challenging – especially if the recruitment consultant / Career Centre are acting as ill-informed gate keepers or don’t return calls!).  So you have to be a detective.  Research. Research. Research.

Secondly, through a Cover Letter you are able to directly link your key competencies and skills to the key objectives achieved through the appointment of the role.  You can articulate your ‘fit’ for the role and the company you intend to join.

Thirdly, you provide links to additional information such as your full CV, your Linkedin URL, cloud hosted portfolios, and a call to action etc.

All of the above should be contained on one page.  Clearly formatted with plenty of white space.  Not a blur of small font text.

So if the Hiring Manager requests a Cover Letter be furnished as part of your application – ensure your letter adds value and does not sabotage the opportunity.

The 3 Box Cover Letter: Clearly outlines as an executive summary why the Hiring Manager should add your CV to the shortlist of candidates.

The 3 Box Cover Letter: Clearly outlines as an executive summary why the Hiring Manager should add your CV to the shortlist of candidates.

Key points:

  1. Keep your letter pithy and on message.
  2. Address the Hiring Managers needs through factual links to your relevant skills and experience.
  3. Demonstrate that you have researched the role thoroughly, through stating fact and thought leadership.

Should cover letters be part of the application process?

What do Hiring Managers want to see in a Cover Letter?

Provide your input on the poll below and help candidates address your needs.

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Contact: www.MyCareerBrand.net Phone: +64 21 666 807, +64 9 5222802 e-mail: info@mycareerbrand.net Craig McAlpine's Linked In profile: http://goo.gl/OxFOKZ MISSION Working with Job Search Candidates to build their go-to-market strategy, develop powerful marketing collateral such as their CV, LinkedIn profile and social media presence, and ultimately to secure a new role that is not only rewarding but also assists them on their career journey. EXPERTISE Career Coaching - LinkedIn Training - LinkedIn Optimisation - Personal Branding - Job Hunt: Go to Market Strategy and Collateral - CV design and preparation - Interview skills INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE - Professional Services - Information Technology - Banking and Finance - Recruitment

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Posted in Cover Letter, Curriculum Vitae, CV, Recruitment
12 comments on “What Do Hiring Managers Want to See in a Cover Letter?
  1. forum's says:

    Hi the cherished one! I wish to state that this particular blog post rocks !, excellent authored accessible using somewhere around virtually all important infos. I would like to see extra threads similar to this .


  2. For me one of the important things in a cover letter are our communication skills. Are we able to communicate concretely our objectives, skills, and our fit to the organization? At the end every human activity is fully related to communication. CV or most of them are templates, the cover letter, so should not be written on a model, similar to a template, we must describe the things that are important for us, so the result of the process, always will be the best.


  3. Melissa says:

    Are there any examples that you could direct me to, so that I have a reference of how long and how it should be constructed.
    I have been told that mine is too long – then other recruiters like that I put an example of my communication skills.
    It is tough on what to present.


  4. Ekane Mathias says:

    In my opinion, cover letters are quite an essential tool for recruiters since among different job seekers with similar qualifications for the same post, only a cover letter can make the difference in terms of their day to day tasks, their achievements and also what they envisage their career to look like in the near future. All these, can only be fully expressed in a cover letter which can now entice the recruiter to probe into the professional experience of the job seeker. In a nutshell, a cover letter is very vital if one has to be called up for a job interview. It helps separate the sheep from the wolves very easily.

    Ekane Mathias


  5. hrslinger says:

    Reblogged this on hrslinger and commented:
    I found this neat post about cover letters and their relevance today. It does a great job of outlining what you should include. The overall point is… RESEARCH!! Get inside the hiring manager’s head and ask yourself, what would they do they need to know about you, and in what context?


  6. Rathna Shankar says:

    Hi Ian!
    I would say, 10-15 years with key accomplishments. Brief synopsis on the early career profile. Definitely include good corporate employer names.

    Good luck!



  7. Melissa says:

    I am not sure.

    I try and keep my cover letter to one page to sell myself. I have researched on the internet and I am totally confused on the structure for a cover letter. Have been told by recruitment agencies that a CV should be around three to four pages though. I am very interested in this subject. Thanks


  8. Ian Medcalf says:

    Just as an add on to this. I am over 55. How far back should my CV go? Is education really necessary to be included?
    Also. what about photographs? Why is this important?


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