What Recruiters Look For in a Cover Letter
Capturing the attention of a recruiter with your cover
letter is challenging to say the least. It is common knowledge that cover
letters need to be customized for each position. But what details do recruiters
really want to read in a cover letter? What format do they like best?
A cover letter should indicate that you are familiar with
the company, and/or job, and show how you would be a great fit. Include some
relevant industry news, or recent product launches to show that you are
interested and follow industry trends. Recruiters want to know that you are
paying attention to their needs (not yours), and that you fulfill their
Recruiters don’t want to take a lot of time to pour over lengthy
dense paragraphs to extract information. Keep paragraphs short and details
concise. Let the resume shine with more facts and save in-depth details for the
You may be in a hurry to submit your resume and cover letter
for a listed position, or just too busy to re-read your documents, but those
few extra minutes could save you from quick elimination. It is critical to
proof any written materials that you submit for a potential job. While some
think that auto-correct is a wonderful feature in a program, it can
auto-correct you right into the round file by mistaking typing errors for words
that aren’t appropriate.
Some people think that an “out-of-the-box” cover letter will
get more attention. And in a few instances that may be true—let’s say if you
are a marketing executive and want to show your creative side. Generally
though, at the executive level, recruiters want to read professionally written
cover letters. They see this as an extension of how you communicate and helps
them evaluate your potential with the hiring company.
Recruiters play the match game. How quickly they can match
your past work experience with the qualities and requirements of their current search
assignment is key. It’s most important in the cover letter to highlight those
skills and experiences so the reader can instantly consider you as a good
A cover letter should explain who you are and
why you are perfect for the job. Period. A crisp professionally written cover
letter can do that for you.