Cover letters - make or break? (1 Viewer)

spillargroove

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Messages
172
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
I always send a cover letter with my resume and I did so for a recent job application. My question is what bearing will it have on my chance?

Writing a cover letter is a bit hard because there isn't one good solution but many. I wrote one for that job but I felt it was a bit short (though 5 short paragraphs) and could have been explained a bit longer (emphasised).

My previous experience and skills does relate to the job though.

Should I be that worried or I should be fine?
 

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
5 paragraph cover letter is considered short...? I can only imagine how many volumes your resume must be!

The way I saw it was the cover letter should entice the person to read your resume- and not to tell them exactly what they'd find from the resume. It's kindof like how a resume should get you in for an interview- and then give you some room to talk rather than putting your entire self on a piece of paper.

Btw in a more general answer to your topic question of Cover letters - make or break?; I think having one is the way to go for a lot of jobs; and besides, it's not like it's going to harm your chances (unless you have a really really poor cover letter!).
 

pottsy44

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2005
Messages
276
Location
C'Town
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
cover letters need to be right to the point 5 paragraphs is about right, dont let it go over a page. employers just want to know the facts so getting to the point is the key.

also u should be answering whatever the advert specifies in your cover letter relevant to what u know or have achieved, white lies wont go astray either.
 

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
Just dawned on me... we might have very different views on what constitutes a paragraph.
 

spillargroove

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Messages
172
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Ok good, thanks. Maybe it was a bit of context but I saw some cover letter examples which were quite long - I think they would be long if you were applying for a mangerial role or editor maybe.

I did clearly say that by looking at my Resume, you can see my experience/skills so yeah.
 

pottsy44

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2005
Messages
276
Location
C'Town
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
seremify007 said:
Just dawned on me... we might have very different views on what constitutes a paragraph.
lol yeah, bc a paragraph in a cover letter is only going to be on average 4-7 lines or whatever, becuase you want to make you point fast and precisely.
 

pottsy44

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2005
Messages
276
Location
C'Town
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
spillargroove said:
Ok good, thanks. Maybe it was a bit of context but I saw some cover letter examples which were quite long - I think they would be long if you were applying for a mangerial role or editor maybe.

I did clearly say that by looking at my Resume, you can see my experience/skills so yeah.
are you sure that wasnt the overall 'CV' bc they can be quite long, 10+ pages, but really cover letter, 1 page is fine.
 

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
pottsy44 said:
lol yeah, bc a paragraph in a cover letter is only going to be on average 4-7 lines or whatever, becuase you want to make you point fast and precisely.
4-7 lines per paragraph?

4*5 = 20. Bearable.

7*5 = 35. Maybe going overboard a bit.

I guess it really depends on what's in the cover letter though. Are you just using cliched buzz words/phrases to talk yourself up, or are you actually talking about stuff which is relevant?

I remember on my cover letter, it was basically my way of personalising my application for the individual employer/firm- eg. what makes me feel that I'm suitable for THAT business and why I want to work there (as opposed to the resume's "Why am I suitable for a job in the industry, and what makes me a good person to employ in any situation").
 

Omnidragon

Devil
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
936
Location
Melbourne
Gender
Male
HSC
2003
Uni Grad
2007
For me, cover letters have been about specifics.

I don't write vague statements (e.g. I acquired extensive teamwork experience while cleaning toilets at McDonald's and further bolstered by ability to interact professionally with clients in the process).

Everyone's going to turn something mediocre into a grand thesis about themselves. I believe what's needed are hard solid facts and figures in the cover letter... maybe that's not the way they teach you how to write cover letters in guidebook. So I'll just say this method has helped me achieve a success rate of 100% when applying for interviews.
 

Skittled

What did the crab do?
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Messages
991
Location
Sydney, Australia
Gender
Male
HSC
2003
The way I write them, a cover letter is less than a page (probably at the higher ends of the numbers mentioned so far), and used to; a) highlight specific points in the resume, b) express a genuine interest in the job (which is easier if it's genuinely genuine ;)) and c) present an argument, based on the above, as to why I'm the right candidate for the position. The feedback I've received suggests that, for various reasons, this seems to work well.
 

anita_wax

tehnaz
Joined
Jun 22, 2005
Messages
480
Location
the shire
Gender
Female
HSC
2005
the first job i ever went for i got.. it was full time too. the cover letter makes a difference, next then is the first phone call
 

spillargroove

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Messages
172
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
I know you can retry and apply again at the same company. What happens here? Does the manager or recruitment team know who you are? Should you be able to secure an interview if you definitely know your cover letter is strong as well as your Resume?
 

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
Depends on who they are, how large they are, etc... if it's a small company with only one HR person- then they might remember you. Conversely, if it's a very large company, they might also remember you because they might have computer systems to remember previous applicants.
 

spillargroove

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Messages
172
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
I think the problem has been my cover letters. Although I did say they were four to five paragraphs, the thing is each of them are just 1 to 2 sentences which is why I found it wierd when sample resumes were "long" but were concise with facts within 5 paragraphs. I thought you weren't suppose to go into too much detail...?

I did read Careers UNSW page and it gave me an eye opener.
 

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
LOL I based my cover letter on the UNSW one!
 

Skeeta

Active Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2004
Messages
2,303
Location
NSW
Gender
Female
HSC
2004
My dad at one stage did a lot of hiring for some company, and if in the advertisement it stated that you should have a cover letter - they practically threw out all of those that did not have one, simply because the jobs they were hiring for required being able to follow directions precisely and if you cant do that when APPLYING for the job , how could they expect them to do so when actually working
 

mserica

Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2006
Messages
323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Female
HSC
2001
In the HR roles and also recruitment roles that i have done a cover letter is a requirement to outline your specific skills and how they relate to the advertisement.

One page is definately long enough, and the most impact needs to be in the first two paragraphs.

Any resume that you submit online from the two large organisations I have worked for dismiss resumes over 4 pages long.

Just thought this may help.
 

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
My resume was 4 pages long exactly :)

In hindsight, I probably should've shortened it.
 

ur_inner_child

.%$^!@&^#(*!?.%$^?!.
Joined
Mar 9, 2004
Messages
6,084
Gender
Female
HSC
2004
When I worked as a receptionist, it was my job to filter some resumes for a position vacant.

I was given a bunch of faxes/letters/emails and was instructed to throw out all resumes that did not have a cover letter. The second process was to throw out those that contained really stupid spelling mistakes - eg "Yours Sinery, John".

Surprisingly I threw out a good majority.

I'm pretty sure it was the boss' way of filtering out such a bunch of resumes creatively, but keep that in mind if you're applying for a *real* job (ie not like maccas).
 
Last edited:

seremify007

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
9,990
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Uni Grad
2009
Don't people have spell check? I guess it shows that not everyone reads the instructions on job applications properly. May i ask what kind of job you were looking at resumes for ur_inner_child? (out of curiosity)
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top