The cover letter is a subject of debate today. Is it obsolete? Is it effective? How can you highlight your motivation in a different way in the Tech sector?
At Urban Linker, we wanted to highlight the best practices for a successful cover letter (often used for junior profiles) or any other medium (for more experienced profiles), to show the recruiter your motivation.
What are the objectives of the cover letter?
It is important to start by defining the objectives of the cover letter in order to understand what it is used for and above all to identify good practices and/or alternatives.
The cover letter therefore has 3 objectives:
- To show your motivation for a job (obviously)
- To show your personality
- To get an interview
The purpose of this letter is to show part of who you are.
The CV will show your technical skills, your professional and educational background.
Whereas the cover letter shows the recruiter your personality, your assets for the job, etc. It will give the recruiter a first impression of you in order to get the famous first interview.
Why does it create a debate?
There are two schools of thought in this debate:
On the one hand, recruiters who expect a cover letter that will serve to support the CV, that will highlight your assets for the position and your experience, show your interest in the company and its values and current affairs.
On the other hand, recruiters no longer believe in this exercise, described by some as a "school exercise" which has led to too many impersonal and standardised cover letters. They therefore prefer their candidates to use other means of communication to demonstrate their motivation.
What are the other possible media?
Our recruitment experts have therefore drawn up some examples of possible media that will add value to the CV of a candidate in the TECH sector:
- A portfolio
- A Github
- A short message associated with personal / open-source projects
- A note accompanying a CV for a spontaneous application
- A message on LinkedIn to the recruiter
- A call when sending the CV to the recruiter
In short, if I am a tech profile applicant, what do I send?
In this case, you have 3 choices, and we will give you the best practices for each one!
If you choose to write a cover letter to accompany your CV:
- Be authentic and personalise it. Fewer and fewer tech profiles are sending cover letters, they usually stop at the CV. This gives you a head start: you can already make a first impression on the recruiter, whereas other candidates will just list technical skills.
- Be clear and concise. One of the most sought-after soft skills for tech profiles is the ability to summarise. The cover letter will allow the recruiter to detect these soft skills and very often, when two candidates are equally qualified, it is the soft skills that tip the balance.
- Add a link to your portfolio or a GitHub. You need to show the recruiter your talents from the start and visualising your projects will have more impact than anything else.
- Think of references that can support you and give weight to your profile and put them forward in the letter.
If you choose to write a note accompanying a CV as a spontaneous application by email or a message on LinkedIn to the recruiter:
- Be impactful. Quick, clear and concise, tell them who you are in no more than 2 sentences.
- Highlight two aspects of your CV that might attract the recruiter and that you can expand on in the message.
- Think about the features of the recruiter's product, which proves a certain vision of the product but above all a certain interest in the company.
- Put a link to your personal projects, portfolio, GitHub etc.
- Think about references, put them forward in your message with the means to contact them.
If you choose to call the recruiter directly:
- Introduce yourself in a concise way that will allow the recruiter to remember you when they read your CV. Put forward that little something that will distinguish you from others and that the recruiter will find on your CV.
- Take an interest in them. This is the time to go into more detail with them about the expectations of the job and perhaps ask one or two questions about the company and the tasks.
- Show your motivation. Enthusiasm and interest are the keys to any motivation, whether through a call or an interview.
In short: Whether or not you write a cover letter is up to you, unless the recruiter has specifically requested it. Choose the communication medium you are most comfortable with.
Be authentic and be yourself. Sometimes a cover letter (or any other medium) is not even necessary and some recruiters will prefer an impactful and accurate CV with references and a thank you email from you after the interview. This will allow you to support the points made in the interview and show your motivation.