Tailoring your application and covering letter, is it really necessary? Is it really read by the company or the recruitment agency you are applying to? Or are they just looking for what they want regardless of how relevant you have made it for them.

Well, companies and recruitment agencies both like to feel you’ve made an effort even if they don’t get a chance to read it fully. Where you are applying to a company direct they’ll be pleased to read words which they associate with their organisation and subconsciously, they will be more positive about your application. Aside from applications to the public sector, which require a very different set of rules, use as few words as possible and make those words count. Make them appropriate, relevant and engaging.

Recruitment agencies are a bit different again, as they very rarely read covering letters, now I would say never but no doubt there are a few out there who would disagree. In general, for agencies, screening has to be fast, so they’re skimming through your CV to see if you have what they want and they won’t read the covering letter, they just don’t have the time.

So my advice to you… Always tailor your application and or covering letter to a company direct, but make it concise, short and sweet. Don’t spend too much time tailoring for agencies as it’s the CV they want to see however make sure it is a CV they’ll want to see!!

Public sector recruitment, again if it is direct to the organisation or public sector body make sure you tailor your application or covering letter and this time rather than being short and sweet, make it much longer. These organisations like to see you have gone to a lot of effort. However if it’s an agency recruiting for the organisation then the agency rules above still apply.

Good luck with your application, spend your time where it counts and where those reading will appreciate it.