Imagine yourself inside a book shop surrounded by hundreds of books of all possible covers and colors. Some of the titles look interesting; you open it up, read couple of lines, find them boring and put it down and move on to the next one. Even if I were to tell you that the some of the pages inside the book are the most interesting ones ever written, how likely are you to go through the entire book to find those few pages? I think you know the answer.
A recruiter’s situation, shuffling through a maze of resumes is no different and hence how effectively you capture his or her attention through the content of your e-mail decides whether your CV is opened and read or not.
Again, let’s have a look at a real world example. Out of 81 email applications that I have received for internship opportunity at Internshala, 35 had this as email content –
Yes, you read it right. It was all blank with just the CV attached in the end! Now to me a blank email can represent one of the two things only – either you are not courteous enough to even introduce yourself or not serious enough to make an effort to write. Either of the impressions doesn’t help your chances of getting the internship.
Some of them were not blank but were very hurriedly written with grammatical mistakes like this one –
While others were too long which I could not read completely –
A few did not even have a cursory “Hi” –
While for many it was obvious that the candidates had not bothered to even check the Internshala website. Because if they had, they would have known that I am a “Sir” and not a “Madam” :) –
I obviously feel irked and sorry at the same time for the students who make these mistakes. When I look at these cover letters, I want to ask the candidate – If you are not serious about this opportunity, then why waste your time and my time? If you do not have even 2 minutes to think and plan what you want to write, then how can you expect the recruiter to have 5 minutes to open your resume and go through it in detail? A poorly drafted cover email does leave a bad taste in employer’s mouth and diminishes your chances of getting a call for the interview. Why give the recruiter an excuse to reject your application in first glance?
Just as the aim of the subject line is to generate enough interest in employer’s mind to open and read your email among hundreds of applications that he/she may have received, objective of the email content is to spike the interest even further for the recruiter to open and read your CV.
So how to write a cover letter which does the job for you? I like to stick to KISSS (Keep it Simple, Short and Specific) principle and would talk about it in detail in next posting along with couple of the examples of the worst mistakes one can ever make. To cite a cliché, first impression is often the last impression and you do not get a second chance to make a first impression.
If you disagree, have something to say, ask, critique or know of an internship opportunity that you would like others to know – post it right away! If you like what you read here, please do tell another friend.