Cover Letters to Recruiters
In the world of recruiters and executive search firms, resumes rule. But this doesn't mean you should ignore or forgo sending cover letters.
"If a candidate's resume is a good fit to what I'm looking for, then I'm going to take a look at the cover letter," says Dan Anderson, a partner in St. Paul-based executive search and recruitment services firm C. Anderson & Associates. At Anderson's firm, both the resume and cover letter are filed for future reference.
Your Situation Dictates Your Cover Letter Approach
So what do recruiters look for in a cover letter? It depends on which of these three scenarios you're dealing with:
- Ad-Response Cover Letters: If a search firm is handling a job opening, gear your cover letter to the ad's desired qualifications.
"Let's say I'm reviewing responses to a Monster posting," says Anderson. "If the candidate has taken the time to tailor the cover letter and bring out how their background meets the qualifications I want, my impression is going to be that they're a sharp individual.
"One of the best cover letters I ever saw was written by a gentleman who took each point from the ad requirements section and answered every single one with a precise summary of how he fit my client's needs," he adds. "When I read it, I thought, ‘Finally! Somebody answered the question.'"
- Referral Cover Letters: "I always read a cover letter if it begins with something like ‘You worked with my friend so-and-so on a recent search, and he told me about your service,'" says Anderson. "If you've been referred to me by a source, this should be mentioned in the first line of your cover letter."
- Cold Cover Letters: These accompany unsolicited resumes. Recruiters receive dozens of these on any given day, so be brief. "Think ‘meat and potatoes' in terms of communicating only your top qualifications, and eliminate any additional fluff," says Diane Oates, founder and director of Corporate Diversity Search, a Webster, New York, firm that places women and minorities in Fortune 500 companies. Anderson adds that for this kind of cover letter, it's also a good idea to tell the recruiter your salary requirements, your target position and industry, and your availability for relocation or travel.
Eight Rules for Cover Letters
Regardless of what kind of letter you're writing, use this advice from recruiters to guide your efforts and maximize your chances for success:
- Remember Your Purpose: "Candidates need to ask themselves why they're writing to the recruiter in the first place," Anderson says. "Are you answering an ad? Introducing yourself? Or just spamming some generic letter out, which is never going to be very effective."
- Be Brief: "Brevity is extremely important on any cover letter to a recruiter," says Anderson, who prefers cover letters be a half-page or shorter.
- Narrow Your Focus: When replying to an advertised opening, your cover letter will focus on a specific opportunity. But when writing a referral or cold cover letter, many candidates are too broad in their job targets. "Don't try to make yourself all things to all people in your cover letter," Anderson advises. "As a recruiter, I'm looking for specialists with certain sets of expertise, not generalists."
- Set Realistic Goals: Don't use the cover letter to try to secure a position several steps above your current level. "Recruiters can only place people into positions that are the next logical step for them," Anderson explains.
- Emphasize Your Main Selling Points: "I like to see cover letters that profile a candidate's top qualifications," says Oates. "Whether that's a high GPA, a unique skill set or a strong record of professional advancement, write it down."
- Explain Unemployment or Gaps in Your Work History: Otherwise-qualified candidates who don't articulate good reasons for being out of a job or for a gap in their employment run a high risk of being screened out.
- Never Overstate Your Qualifications: Oates advises candidates to avoid exaggerating qualifications in order to be seen as a perfect match to an advertised opening. "Your cover letter, like your resume, should be completely truthful and accurate," Oates says. "Never falsify or misrepresent your background."
- Follow the Rules of Business Writing: "I like to see coherency, fluid sentences and concise writing," Anderson says. "Leave out the flowery language and generic descriptions, don't include personal details like your marital status, don't forget to include your contact information and of course, make sure you spell-check." Consult business-writing references for guidance.
Recruiter Cover Letter
Recruiters help companies meet their staffing needs by attracting and retaining talent. Essential duties of these professionals are developing recruiting requirements, discussing human resources needs with managers, posting job advertisements, writing job descriptions, preparing presentations, screening job applications, adhering to human resources legislation, and handling employee relocations. Recruiters are often required to manage intern programs by coaching participants and monitoring their performance.
Successful Recruiter example cover letters emphasize the following qualifications:
- Recruiting and organizational skills
- Telephone etiquette
- Interest in diversity policies
- Professionalism and reliability
- Judgment and decision-making
- Project management skills
- Knowledge of employment law
Beneath is presented a sample cover letter showcasing similar experience.
For help with your resume, check out our extensive Recruiter Resume Samples.
Dear Ms. Oliver:
With this letter and the attached resume, I would like to express my sincere interest in the Recruiter position you have available. As an accomplished human resources specialist with extensive experience and finely honed abilities in talent acquisition and candidate management, I possess a wide range of knowledge and talents that will allow me to contribute toward the success of your company.
My expertise lies in successfully directing full-cycle organizational recruitment processes, including candidate prospecting, interviewing, and negotiating. For more than nine years, I have excelled in dynamic recruitment environments, demonstrating a keen ability to anticipate management and staffing needs and consistently identify optimal talent to achieve or exceed goals. Additionally, my established success training and supervising staff positions me to make a significant contribution to your organization.
The following achievements demonstrate my qualification for this position:
- Directing all facets of talent acquisition—including job descriptions, candidate sourcing, needs analysis, in-depth interviews, negotiations, and client relationships—to generate outstanding candidate placements and achieve corporate objectives.
- Excelling as a recruiter for MapTone, Inc., sourcing, reviewing, and securing all levels of talent from laborers to senior managers.
- Initiating, developing, and facilitating training workshops to effectively educate and train managers on the recruitment process.
- Establishing solid and trusting partnerships through exceptional relationship-building skills; utilizing solid communication and interpersonal abilities to secure employee, client, and management trust.
- Demonstrating proficiency in a variety of additional HR-related tasks, including new-hire orientations, benefits training, and performance appraisals.
My proven dedication to optimizing organizational success through my expert knowledge of staff recruiting strategies will contribute immensely to the success of High Ace Solutions. Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to speaking with you soon.
John I. Lopez