Learn Cover Letter Essentials

Ever wondered or panicked about how to put together a cover letter or cover email to support your job application. No need to worry anymore. In this section, I will share in brief, what I have called ‘Cover Letter Essentials’. Within this context, they are things or items that should not be found missing in your job application cover letter or cover emails.

It is important to note that while some recruiters are moving towards online application (which require applicants to complete job applications in an online platform, sometimes without the need for a cover letter), a large percentage of recruiters or employers still use the not too old email job application approach. This article provides tips on what to include.

So here you are, you just found this exciting opportunity that you think is fit for you, before you click your send button, be careful to note that your cover email or cover letter contains these essentials:

Subject: This can be the position you are applying for, example: Data Analyst. It could also be a phrase ‘Application For the Position of a Data Analyst’.  Avoid leaving this section empty, especially if it is an application through email;  use of generic terms such as ‘Job Title’ or ‘Application’ is neither a good practice nor will it put you in good light. Such words  would also mean nothing to a recruiter or hiring manager who is probably reviewing hundreds of emails for several positions at the same time. Generic words as subject could also mean that yours could be an unsolicited application, which may be ignored.

Introduction: Do a brief introduction – not necessarily stating your name, but a line to express your interest in the advertised role with specific mention to the role.

Body of Letter: Here is your opportunity to pitch. Briefly explain your experience and skills in relation to the role. Make it brief and no more than five to six lines.

Closing: A line to express appreciation to the recipient or let him/her know your interest in further discussion is a good way to close. An example: ‘I thank you for your time and look forward to receiving your response’.

Signature: Like in a standard official letter, always close your cover email or cover letter with a closing salutation and your name as signature. Example of closing salutations include – Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, Kind Regards, and Best Regards.

There you have them. Cover letter and cover email essentials. Be sure to modify within the context of recruitment practice in your country and remember to use them when next the opportunity arises.

Conclusion: Job application is your first step to be in front of the recruiter, albeit online and on a screen, make sure you represent yourself well and never miss out on the essentials.

Next, I recommend, make your email or letter brief, except there is specific requirement for word or character length, do not write very lengthy cover email or letters.

But also very importantly, read the job application guidelines and follow the instructions provided.

Got questions, comments or experience to share, please do so in comments section below or hit the contact button.

My best wishes in your career journey.

Recruitment Myths You Need To Know As You Search for Employment [Part 2]

In the first part of this article we looked at six (6) recruitment myths job seekers need to beware of in their search for employment. I understand the challenges job seekers face in trying to land that dream job and have shared this as part of my goal to make job search easier for people. In this edition, I discuss the concluding part of the article – six additional myths (Myths 8 – 12) below. So let’s go.

Myth 8: An Unsolicited Application Will Receive Attention:  

A single recruitment process consumes hours and can take several days or weeks.  As a result, attention and time is usually given to on-going recruitment and less if any to unsolicited job applications.  Some people do get lucky, but the chances are slim, especially with most organisations that have a policy against unsolicited applications. 

My suggestion, before you submit an unsolicited application, research to ensure that it is a position such an organisation advertises very often.   Example, an unsolicited job application to an organisation that frequently advertises for a software developer or a customer relationship officer has more chances than a position that is rarely advertised by such an organisation.  Trust me, I have erred in this severally as an applicant, and now we receive several unsolicited job applications for positions our clients are not seeking and we are unable to address every single one of them.

Myth 7: My Job Application Gets Noticed But Ignored:

Again from Myths 1 and 2 discussed in Part 1, we have seen how it is possible for job applications not to get noticed. Recruiters do not deliberately ignore applications. Remember organisations are run by humans and operate in environments, so things happen. When a candidate’s job application does not get noticed, it does not always mean that he/she is a bad fit, it was just not noticed and someone was chosen.  It is always best in such a circumstance, to move on fast to the next opportunity.

Myth 9: Applicant’s Work Experience and Qualifications Makes Him or Her Fit:

Candidates are usually surprised when they receive a rejection email, especially if they have performed well at an interview with a line-up of work experience and qualifications also going for them.  

Great work experience and qualifications are not the only ticket that gets us a job offer (also see Myth 12 below).  There are several factors that organisations consider in a recruitment decision.  This means that a candidate may rate high in some criteria, but miss out in some key ones and therefore will not be chosen.  Again, such a situation does not make such a person unsuitable for all jobs; he/she has just not been found suitable as presented by the organisation’s current need, situation or circumstance. 

Myth 10: Recruitment Decision is Taken Speedily:

Things happen for individuals and organisations.  For instance, an organisation may interview with a contract or expansion, then hit roadblock internally or externally. There are also instances where circumstances put organisations in a state of indecisions after they have identified suitable candidates.  

Such and many other factors can cause a lack of or delay in communication especially where intricate confidential matters are involved.  Say, a key person leaves an organisation, company goes bankrupt, company is in debt, office politics or bureaucracy, change in organisational direction, sudden awareness of limited budget or delay in a particular project execution, environmental issues causing change in business priority.  

Delicate matters such as any of these could delay recruitment decisions much longer than even an organisation or a recruiter anticipates. These are partly reasons why some candidates get called for employment six months after they have forgotten about such a job opening or never get called even after they have reached the final rigorous interview stage.

Myth 11: Recruiters Should Settle for Something:

I see some job applicants apply for jobs where they are indirect fits. People call this, trying luck.   Truth is that a recruiter will focus his/her limited hours on candidates that are potentially fits.   

My advice to avoid this trap is to properly read the job announcement and apply for jobs where you meet the criteria as near as possible and where your skills and potentials give you better chances.  There are organisations in need of your skills, find them.  

Myth 12: Any Interview That Does Not End with a Job Offer Means Failure:

I have seen CEOs make recruitment decisions on the basis of ‘connection’ with a candidate; or a candidate’s likely fit into an existing team or culture. None of these has anything to do with a candidate’s competency, but an organisation’s peculiar need and circumstance.  When this happens, such a candidate was just found unfit in line with an organisation’s core need or issues, but could be a great fit somewhere else.

As mentioned above, things happen for people and organisations that completely disrupt organisational plans and impact recruitment processes and decisions.  

It is important not to allow interview outcomes to define who you are or affect your self-esteem.  Learn from any mistake you may have identified and improve your skills for future opportunities.

Therefore, for every interview that does not end with an offer, find the job and organisation where you will be a fit. Your opportunity awaits you.

In Conclusion, you can manage your emotions and expectations better when you remember that there are lots of human factors, environmental, socio-economic, political, governmental and natural situations that go on in organisations;  that could impact how your job application is handled.  If one door did not open, simply knock the next, and keep knocking till a door is open for you.  

Here you have them, 12 Recruitment Myths You Need To Know as You Search for Employment. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but has covered some important points of note.  This post is not written in defense of recruiters, but to give a preview of issues around recruitment that will help persons seeking employment better manage their expectations and more importantly their emotional well-being.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

My best wishes in your career journey.

Kind Regards,

Recruitment Myths You Need to Know As You Search for Employment [Part I]

In the course of my career, I have been both an applicant and a recruiter.  So I understand what it means to apply several times, wait at the other end in anticipation of a response that may never come.  Now as a recruiter, I see through the lenses – the high unemployment rate, the volume of applications, the search for talents to meet Clients’ needs, the time constraints and more. 

Like me, most of us have read several critiques about recruiters on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook with regards to responses to job applications.  Understandably, feedback is being sought by applicants at different stages of the recruitment process – application and the various interview stages.  Most times the perception of Recruiters by talent holders (job seekers) are seen more as “they against us” than as a partnership’.  

In my quest to help professionals in their unemployment and job search journey, I have put together recruitment myths that job seekers need to know or remember as they search. This I believe would help persons looking for employment to manage their application process, expectations and emotions better.  This edition covers Part 1 in this edition. 

Myth 1: Recruiters See Every Application:  

This can be a painful truth, but Recruiters do not see every application that hits their in-box. First, some organisations use software that utilizes keywords to select or screen out candidates.  In this case, a Recruiter would only review the applications of candidates identified or selected by the software and engage with the shortlist.

There is also – Spam or Junk Mail issue. I have seen quite a number of job applications in our Junk Mail Folder several months after we had concluded a recruitment process. So why some candidates are waiting for responses, the junk mail is sadly holding back their applications! 

Myth 2: Recruiters Read All Job Application: 

I know what it means to carefully craft your application, perfect your CV and apply for a job where you believe you are a top fit; then nothing but silence follows. 

Similar to number Myth (1) above, Recruiters do not read every application they receive. Here is why. Depending on the recruitment policy of an organisation: example, ‘applications are processed as they arrive’, ‘shortlisted at the end of the application deadline’, or reviewed on a first come basis.  

What any of these options means is that, if a Recruiter reviews the first 500 applications within the timeline allotted for the recruitment process, and finds the number of required candidates for interview, he/she would proceed to the interview stage, and if a suitable candidate is found, closes the recruitment process.  In such a case, chances that the 501 to about 2000 applications would be reviewed after selection become slim. 

My suggestion is, if you want your application to receive attention, submit it within the first few days of a job announcement, and not a few weeks after, and definitely not after the application deadline. 

Myth 3: Recruiters Are Against Job Applicants:  

In real sense, recruitment is a partnership or a search for it.  Recruiters are on assignment to deliver and seek candidates to achieve their set target; candidates are on a journey for opportunities to utilize their talents, and go through Recruiters to secure it.   

Recruitment is like any deal or transaction in the business world; and so it is done by following a process and a goal in mind.   

It is worth noting that every recruitment assignment comes with specific instructions or specifications to be followed. A quick look at the job advert will give you a hint as to the specifications a recruiter has been given; and whether you are a likely fit.

Where a candidate is not contacted, it is possible that the candidate did not particularly fit the specifications or that any of the circumstances described in this article is the case. 

However, it does not make such a candidate a bad fit for all jobs. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, learn to dust up quickly and look for the next available opportunity, till you find yours.  Recruiters are for and not against talent holders, both need each other to accomplish their objectives.  

Myth 4: Recruiters Ought to Respond to All Applications:

My experience shows that it is possible to respond to only so much (except through automated responses for incoming applications). During reviews, it is still possible to miss a candidate in the long list of emails.  

Also reference to Myths 1 and 2 above, we see why Recruiters are unlikely to respond to every application. 

To help manage your expectations and emotions, during job search, my suggestion is, if after six weeks of submitting a job application you do not get a call or mail, close your mind to that application, and focus your efforts on new job openings.  But make sure you do your part – see my article on how to handle job application process for some guide: http://afomauchendu.com/2021/02/23/how-to-handle-job-application-process-in-a-professional-way/

Myth 5: Recruitment is Indefinite: 

As we recruit for Clients, I have seen job applications for advertised roles hit our mail box several months after we completed recruitment.

My view is that applying for closed job opportunities is a waste of effort, diminishes resources and increases emotional roller coaster.

So before you apply for a job, check the job announcement date. Except for a reoccurring position or peculiar situations, recruiters are likely to close a recruitment process within six to ten weeks of a job advert.

Myth 6: Presentation Does Not Matter: 

This has been well emphasized by experts. My take is: see the job application process as a competition. Or imagine it to be a beauty pageant, would you not put your best and look your best? 

Presentation does matter. It is important to present your job application documents in as much a professional way as possible. Your CV, cover email or cover letter, all should be professionally written and properly presented.   

Summarily, in the Part 1 of this article, we have looked at 6 Recruitment Myths. These are the realities of some recruitment environments. As every Recruiter faces different task scenarios; some similar and some more peculiar, it is not possible to cover all. However, remember that in every job, there are human and technological factors; and that it is the same with recruitment.  Watch this space for part 2 of the Recruitment Myths as we look at more scenarios.  

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

How to Handle Job Application Process in a Professional Way

Many Job Applicants stay longer in their job search journey, not because they are unqualified or have no relevant skills for the jobs they apply, but most times, because of the way they handle their job application process. In this post I share some tips, you will find useful.

Avoid Typos:  Before you click the send button, proofread your CV, Cover Letter and Cover Email carefully to be sure there is no typing error.  Error-free document is a sign of having attention to details, an important skill for any job.

Communicate: Along with your CV, your application should contain a cover email. Do not send only your CV without a word on the body of your email.  It is not courteous and shows poor skills.

Cover All Sections: Your application should contain a subject, cover email, (a cover letter where requested), and your cover email should include a closing section and your name.   Do not just say, ‘please find attached’.

Example of Closing Section:

“I look forward to your consideration.

Kind Regards,

Clara Michael”

Be Vigilant: Check your inbox including your junk mail folder more frequently and respond to interview invitations promptly.

Do Not Ignore Interview Invitations. When you receive an invitation for an interview, it is important to respond, whether you want to accept, decline or reschedule the interview. This puts you in a good state for any future encounter with the Recruiter.  It is a small world!

Take Your Job Application as a Business: Apply for jobs that you are sure to see through. Do not apply for jobs for the sake of trying your luck, for the fun of it, or apply for tons of jobs you cannot track, and then ignore an invitation for an interview. 

Listen to the Audio, click here Online Interview Guides to Help Boost Your Performance  www.afomauchendu.com https://open.spotify.com/episode/4kt3bfubjUH3jLsaS2gx5P

Keep Track.  If you apply for so many jobs at a time, create a tracking system, write down all your job applications, such as the company or the recruiter, the positions and the dates you applied.  Check your list each time you get an invitation or search your ‘Sent Items’ folder. It is unprofessional to tell a Recruiter that you do remember applying for a job.

Commit to Interviews: If you accept an invitation to attend an interview, make efforts to attend.  If you need to cancel or reschedule, inform the Recruiter ahead.

Be Courteous: Remain courteous throughout the recruitment process, no matter how upset you may feel with the way a recruiter has handled your application. Stay respectful and courteous. Remember we are all humans and do err; more so, interpersonal skill is one of the sought after skills in labour market, so arm yourself with it during your application process. In a nutshell, stay professional in your approach and interaction.

If you have found this helpful, there are more tips on the Resources – Career section of my website, http://www.afomauchendu.com. Remember to help someone else – click the share button to share this; or comment, like or ask questions. You can also subscribe at http://www.afomauchendu.com so that each new post lands on your email box.

Best wishes in your career journey.

Kind Regards.

%d bloggers like this: