I've been recruiting again recently at Rockalily, and as a small but slowly growing local business, I seem to be getting better at knowing what I want from a potential candidate. However, despite receiving many CVs over the years, and conducting many trade tests and interviews, I'm still surprised at how few people know how to present themselves in the right way. I should be used to it, but it still floors me how bad some of the applications I receive are!
My main bugbear is not attaching any sort of cover letter. Not even a few sentences in an email, to explain the attached CV. It feels a little like you're bursting into my home without ringing the bell. Not only does it feel rude, but it doesn't give me any hint as to your personality, and no company hires on skills alone.
It seems I'm not alone, the team at RecruitmentRevolution.com say they hear the same,
"One of our most common complaints from employers going through the recruitment process is a lack of any sort of cover letter. Whilst a resume, although tailored slightly, is fairly standard - the cover letter is often what gets employers interested, particularly in creative industries as it’s where a candidate’s personality can shine through and is individual to the particular position being applied to. Because of social media and in particular LinkedIn, many candidates simply aren’t bothering with cover letters anymore. Indeed, they’re oftentimes simply downloading their LinkedIn profile as their resume!"
Guys, the job market is tough right now, so don't sabotage yourself by sending a terrible application in. Your CV isn't enough on its own.
My second pet hate is when I'm not easily shown where I can look at your work. We're hiring based on your skill level, and with social media these days, I'd really expect you to include a link to a website gallery or Instagram, to save me trying to find it myself. Make it easy for me to be impressed and want to get you in for an interview!
So my top 5 tips if you're applying for a job where you want to show your individuality and/or creativity:
1. Attach a cover email, it doesn't need to be long, but prove you've looked at the website of the business you're applying to, and give a hint to your personality. I have arranged interviews based on cover letters alone.
2. Send your CV as a PDF, this will hold all your formatting, and allow you to snazz it up much more than a word document. It also increases your chance of the employer being able to open it correctly.
3. Make it easy for me to find you online, as I will look. On all platforms.
4. Tell me what you're looking for, to save us both time. If you only want full time say so. If you can't work Saturdays, say so.
5. Be polite but not overly formal. If you've browsed the business' online presence you should get a hint of their general tone. My online tone is so casual, an overly formal CV seems out of place.