Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Two thirds of candidates aged 18-24 resent having to tailor their cover letter for every job application

…But 56.7% of workers say that they ALWAYS provide a bespoke cover letter!

New research from the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library , has found that two thirds (66.9%) of candidates between the ages of 18 and 24 find it frustrating that they have to tailor their cover letter for every job that they apply for, with 41.4% believing that cover letters are unnecessary.

The research, which surveyed 1,200 workers about their attitudes towards cover letters in the job application process, found that over half (56.7%) of candidates in the UK do tailor their cover letter for a specific job application, rising to 60.2% amongst 35-44 year olds. Other key findings include:

The majority of the nation’s workers (57.1%) think cover letters are necessary

…with two thirds (64.1%) believing that cover letters benefit a job application

BUT, 43.5% do find tailoring their cover letters time consuming, with 19.9% believing that their CV should be enough

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library , comments:

Across the industry, there continues to be a debate around how necessary cover letters are in the job application process. From our findings, it’s clear that many candidates understand that including a cover letter with their application is beneficial, however there is also a consensus, particularly amongst the younger generation, that it a tedious task and is far too time consuming. But, while CVs are great for an overview of work experience, it’s clear that cover letters can act as an extra platform for job hunters to shout about their successes.” 

In addition, the study found that just under one in 10 (8.3%) of under 18s would not apply for a job that required a cover letter, higher than any other working generation. That said the majority of candidates (92.5%) would include a cover letter if it was required, with 29.7% believing that a tailored cover letter is more personal, and a further 29.3% agreeing that it gives relevant examples of your skills.

Interestingly, the research also revealed that nearly half (45.8%) of those aged under 18 do not know how to write a cover letter, with one in five (20.8%) stating that they never send a cover letter with a job application. Furthermore, one in 10 candidates aged 25-34 also admitted that they don’t include a cover letter when applying for a new role.

Biggins concludes:

“Clearly, there needs to be a bit more education around exactly what should be included on a cover letter, and how it can boost candidates’ chances of getting a job. It is positive, however, that the majority of UK workers would include a cover letter, and it’s important that companies and recruiters are making it easy for candidates to upload and send their CV and cover letter during the application process.”