It seems we are living in what has been dubbed as the era of the Great Resignation. Nearly 40% of workers were considering handing in their notice according to a Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers held this year.
It is difficult to predict to which extent this phenomenon will eventually affect the local and global labour markets, but it looks like a lot of workers will soon be needing to update their resumes as they start looking for new and better work opportunities.
Presenting a good CV may well be the key to securing an interview for a post that is attractive to more than one job applicant. But what about a cover letter? Has the time come to phase this out considering that all relevant information can be included in a CV and online applications seem to have done away with the need for such a document for the sake of efficiency?
Does a cover letter really make the difference between a good job application and an excellent one?
CV vs Cover letter
Although both documents are important when searching for a job, most job applicants struggle to understand the difference between the two and what content should be included on a CV and what should best be presented in a cover letter.
1. It's crucial not to repeat the same content on both documents and to present them as complementary to each other.
Whereas a CV highlights academic qualification, work experience and skills, a covering letter should highlight how said skills, experience and qualifications make an applicant qualified for the position.
2. A covering letter can also convey an applicant’s interest in the position and serve to express personal qualities and attributes.
Understanding these differences should make it easier when considering what information should go on your CV and what should be presented in your covering letter.
Both sets of information are important, intended to complement each other, and leaving out one or the other would make an application incomplete.
When can the cover letter be omitted?
Once the scope of presenting a cover letter with a CV is understood, the answer to this question becomes clearer.
An efficient job application should always contain that unique information that makes job applicants stand out to potential employers sufficiently to land them a job interview.
So whether it goes in your covering letter, or whether you include it as part of your CV, the following information is traditionally what makes a job applicant stand out from other applicants:
a) Highlight your skills. Past experience and academic qualifications will be vetted for eligibility, but it is the skill set highlighted that speaks volumes in terms of suitability and readiness to adapt.
b) Make the ‘Additional information’ or ‘Why you’re a good fit for the role’ section, the most interesting part of your CV. Creativity is key.
c) Don’t go over the top, such as including too much information or going to excessive lengths to highlight skills, attributes, and hobbies
d) Sound professional, but avoid the clichés that so many hiring managers are used to reading.
e) Do not have one fixed cover letter or ‘one size fits all’ set of points. Each job application will require tweaking to match the application to the vacancy.
So in reply to the question Is the covering letter phasing out? The answer is dependent on the situation.
If you have a cover letter highlighting your skills and professional accomplishment, attach it to your CV. Two shorter documents are sometimes easier to read than one lengthy CV.
On the other hand, if a cover letter cannot be attached or has specifically been excluded, try to ensure that the information on your CV is comprehensive enough to justify the exclusion of this relevant information normally included in a cover letter.
The era of the Great Resignation may well have changed the traditional way we present ourselves. Furthermore, we live in an information age where image is also key. Therefore we need to ensure that the information we give about ourselves is picture-perfect to demonstrate the very best we have to offer, keeping it relevant to each role.
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