Cover letter reincarnates as video pitch

Over the past few years there have been so many articles, posts and announcements declaring the ‘Death of the Cover Letter’ that you would expect this part of the selection process to be long gone by now. Despite this somewhat lethal expiration date, the cover letter is still alive and kicking, both as a required selection step, but also as a voluntary way by applicants of supporting an application.

In this blog post I will zoom in video as the alternative to the cover letter, but will first outline (again) why the cover letter really should be dead once and for all. For many years, we have been told that a CV is of limited value without the cover letter providing context and that cover letters are important because they tell employers the type of position you’re seeking — and exactly how you’re qualified for it. The cover letter supposedly can explain things that the resume can’t.

Here’s 2 reasons why this is simply not the case:

  1. Crowdsourcing: The Merrian-Webster Dictionary defines it as: “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people.” Almost every cover letter has been co-authored with friends, neighbours and family. Where’s the authenticity in that? Really!
  2. Copywriting: Most jobs do not require a professional level of copywriting. Why would you then ask for a cover letter? I guess a cover letter is only relevant if you hire a copywriter. For most people writing original copy is painstakingly hard. That’s why they do not know how to express what they really want to say and simply copy form the thousands of examples online.

Let’s face it… if Microsoft has already covered the cover letter with a pre-built template you can select in Word, this can hardly be an instrument to stand out with. The only way to stand out is by making a (spelling) mistake, making the cover letter a potential disqualifier rather than a potential qualifier.

Some quick stats from the friends at JobVite throughout the years:

  • Around 55% of hiring managers don’t read cover letters.
  • More than a half of recruiters consider cover letters unnecessary.
  • Roughly half of applicants did not submit one when applying for their current job.

But what’s the alternative if we look at the original purpose of providing context to the CV, tell employers the type of position you’re seeking and exactly how you’re qualified for it. In summary: What can we do to explain things that the resume can’t?

The answer is obviously video and here’s why

According to HubSpot, videos are twice more memorable than text content, and 1.2 times more memorable than static visuals and photos. In 2016, a Facebook executive predicted the platform would be all video with no text in 5 years. That’s exactly what’s happening today.

Video has become our primary way to communicate, learn and buy. If you send a video along with your application, you will surely stand out. It is not only a way to present an authentic motivation, it is also a great way to bypass bias in the selection process. Dutch entrepreneur and founder of sollicitatiemarkt.nl, Mourad El Moussati, had written multiple applications to try and secure an internship in the final year of his academic studies, but only received rejection letters. That’s until he sent out 5 application videos tailored to the companies he wanted to work and achieved a 100% score with a total of 5 invitations.

More and more organisations allow candidates the option to add a motivation video to their application. The Cammio video pitch for example can be easily embedded in the application form where candidates can upload or record their motivation via video. Not only is the adaptation of hiring managers increased, the motivation is also more memorable and convincing. Employers who want to engage and connect with applicants, should always allow video and should stop placing value on cover letters that disqualify candidates.

Interested to learn how video can help candidates in your recruiting process or where else video can add value?

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