Posts Tagged ‘cover email’
Last week I learnt an interesting fact from a friend who works in a contract placement agency. Of all the emails he receives in his in tray from people looking for placement in contract or freelance positions, he only ever looks at about 10%. Put it another way, 90% of people responding for a contract job fall at the first hurdle.
He suggested to me that this was fairly typical now for most of his fellow workers – they all ignored the vast majority of CVs and Résumés that were sent to them. And this ‘ignored’ number is growing.
When I enquired why this was the case, he shared the following tip, which I now pass on:
That was the word he used. He had no idea if any of the candidates were relevant to the positions he had open.
He was in no doubt that the contract and freelance market was tough – very tough – and getting worse by the week. Two years ago for every position he had managed to open in the market, he would have between 10 and 20 applicants. Today, it’s more like 70 to 100.
Of course of these 100 applicants, many are also applying for 5, 6 or 7 contract positions in a day – and there lies the problem. If he posts 3 contract positions online, by the afternoon he will have around 300 emails with attached CVs – it would take him more than a day to go through all of them.
How could he possibly know which to pick from all of that noise?
Why the Cover Email is King
In his view, the cover email (or letter) was far more important than the CV. The contract or freelance agent is the first (and main) filter between the candidate and the client. That is why the cover email needs to give enough reason for the agent to open the CV.
He suggested the following tips are the difference between him calling a candidate, and simply pressing the DELETE key on the email:
- Keep It Short – The cover email needs to be short – as short as possible. They don’t have time to read war and peace in an email – keep to the facts.
- Reference the Position – If you are applying for a contract role, quote the contract reference number or as a minimum, the job title. He said it was amazing how many emails he got which talked about “applying for the role” when he was juggling 12 or 20 roles.
- List the skills THAT MATCH – the only way your CV will be looked at is if you have skills that the client needs – so list why you are a match for the position in the cover letter. Cover the skills required, but don’t expand into unrelated skills.
- Current Status – Show your current status. Are you currently in a contract, in a full time job, available now, looking for something in 6 months time – he needs to match your availability with his clients requirement.
- 5. What you are looking for – Indicate where you will work in terms of geographical location. Again, this needs to match his clients requirement. Also, say what your minimum day rate is – most jobs are listed as “Market Rate” – but he needs to know what you would accept.
- Contact Details – Finally, make his life easy. Include a telephone number that he can contact you on – mobile is best.
What to Take Away from all of this
In a nutshell, make the cover email specific to the role. If you are applying through an on-line contract search system, NEVER use the option for a standard cover letter – this is what most people use, it does not cover the points above, and it will mean that your CV will end up in the recycle bin.