Monthly Archives

May 2013

7 Tips to Write a Cracker Cover Letter

By | Recruitment, Results

There is lots of competition for jobs right now. On average, we receive 150 applications per vacancy. There are fewer opportunities available and people are still looking to progress their careers. There is great talent in the market; it’s a good time to hire.

With such a high volume of applications and less than 5% being chosen for interview, it is absolutely critical that your cover letter stands out from the crowd.

It is surprisingly rare to read a cover letter that gets straight to the point, engages me or gives me a wow.  Why is that? I believe that the majority of applicants are over-thinking it, making it too formal and are talking more about themselves rather than about the company, role and opportunity.

What I’m looking for:

  1. Brief & Succinct – one page is sufficient.  You should be able to address the main points in a concise manner that gets straight to the point. When competition is strong, you had better get to the good stuff and quick!
  2. Skills & Experience – this makes it easy for the reader to make an immediate link and match as to why you are suitable for the role and they will keep reading. For example, I have a management degree and 10 years work experience in this particular industry. I’m looking for quick facts.
  3. Motivation – be clear on why you are applying for this job and not every other job advertised.  This motivation for applying can be the make or break reason for getting into the yes or no pile! It is the most essential piece of information I am looking for in a cover letter or when I ring someone to discuss their application – why were you motivated to apply for this job?
  4. Wow – state something upfront that will give the reader a WOW feeling about why you have applied. If there is a common interest, link or value match, it can be an instant rapport winner to get you in front. A letter I received last week, stated that they had applied for the role because this organisation had inspired them 10 years earlier to kick start their career in the health sector and major in health management with their MBA. It gave me an instant wow.
  5. Get Creative – don’t send me a tea bag and tell me to grab a cup of tea while I read your CV (a very old and cheesy gimmick in my opinion), but think about how your letter can stand out. Colour, a relevant graphic, a quote you live by, mention something about the organisation or industry that inspires you.
  6. Why them – the story you should tell is why you’re interested in this company and this particular role (it’s all about them).  Phrase your letter in terms of how you can help them and what you can bring to the role rather than just what’s in it for you and your career.
  7. Why you – in a letter you can reveal more about your personality, values and motivation (not so easy to do in a resume, which is more factual). Be clear on how you can contribute and potentially solve the organisation’s problems or challenges.

Remember 95% of applicants are being rejected due to poor cover letters and resumes including incorrect spelling, generic “to whom it may concern”, long winded, lengthy and irrelevant information that doesn’t demonstrate any motivation for the role. Never use a standard cover letter that lacks specific detail related to this company and this role – we can spot them a mile away and it is an automatic indication of laziness and a genuine lack of interest.

If you really want to get to the front of the line – simple, honest and genuine communication that represents motivation, careful thought and a unique proposition. A cracker cover letters involves being real, telling a story and demonstrating desire. Come on …. give me a WOW!




Richard Branson inspires us in Adelaide

By | Website

This week was an exciting week for me as I finally saw Richard Branson in the flesh (with over 1,700 others!).  After reading his autobiography “Losing My Virginity” in 2000, he inspired me to take a leap of faith and start a business with a focus on people.  Today he reinforced those values saying, “a business is simply a group of people – get them to love your brand and your company, that’s half the battle! His simple philosophies of “lavish praise and people will flourish” and “people will leave when they are frustrated and not listened to”, reminded me of why I have admired his business success and mantra’s for all these years. Branson gets it. People must come first. Recruit based on attitude and culture and then retain by trust, empowerment and praise.

sabusiness is a magazine produced by UniSA for business and alumni communities. In this month’s issue, I am featured in an article with 7 other South Australian entrepreneurs excited about building and growing businesses here in SA. Please click here to see the full article (page 16 – 22) and magazine. 

On Saturday the 4th of May we ran these advertisements in the Adelaide Advertiser.  All newly created positions, these opportunities have certainly created a hive of activity in our inboxes with over 250 applications received by day 3! Click here for full details.

Aise Dillion Photography

Most people don’t like having their photo taken – especially corporate shots where you want to look professional and friendly, but not cheesy and too try hard! So, we were thrilled when we engaged Aise Dillion to take new shots of Salli Tanner, Senior Associate. Here is the behind the scenes and after shot. Aise can be contacted here.

Flexible Work Arrangements – they do work!

 Readers of my blog will know that I am a big supporter of workplace flexibility to attract talent to your organisation and as a weapon to reduce turnover and increase retention.  I was thrilled to hear Branson talk about workplace flexibility in his session in Adelaide this week. He believes if people want to work part-time, let them. If they want to travel the world for 3 months, let them.  When people are happy, they won’t leave. It’s that simple.  I have echoed these views here – 6 ways to introduce flexibility into your workforce and here –  on how part-time can work, even in leadership roles.  Last month, I took a week’s leave to Noosa and proved that flexible arrangements can work with a mobile phone and laptop in hand while enjoying the beautiful view!