While a resume is certainly essential to get noticed by an employer, when it’s paired with a carefully curated cover letter, it can help you stand out from the crowd of other applicants. Showing off transferable skills in a cover letter is one way to appeal to hiring managers, but what about writing a cover letter to a recruiter?
Recruiters are looking for basic facts when they read a cover letter you’ve sent them. They already know what marketable skills you have from the resume, so the cover letter supports it with facts about your background, goals, and work experience.
Even though experts say many recruiters won’t look at a cover letter, many will. And even those that don’t require it or look at it initially may return to it if your resume catches their interest, making a cover letter to a recruiter an important communication tool.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter to a Recruiter
Aim to be as concise as possible. Get to the point right away: recruiters are busy individuals and likely don’t have time to read a lengthy cover letter that summarizes your life story. Also, consider using a reader-friendly format, such as bulleted lists and short paragraphs. This lets recruiters skim the content and hone in on your marketable skills.
Second, be sure to load your cover letter with keywords that are relevant to your industry or skill set. This helps automatic tracking software parse relevant information about your application to recruiters.
In a cover letter to a recruiter, be sure to include the following five pieces of information:
- All contact information, including your phone number, address, and email
- Why you’re in the market for a new job and what you are looking for
- Job titles and industries that interest you
- Your salary expectations
- Locations of interest, which can also indicate your willingness to relocate or travel
When a recruiter has these answers, they can put you directly into their database. Otherwise, the recruiter may have to contact you to gather all these details.
Other pieces of information you may want to include:
- Your availability for interviews
- When you can begin a new assignment after acceptance
- A list of companies you would like to work for
- Other recruiters you are working with and where they have sent your resume previously
Finally, it never hurts to add an eye-catching intro that includes some sort of hook that entices the recruiter to keep reading. Be creative, but don’t go too over-the-top.
How a Cover Letter for a Recruiter is Unique
A cover letter to a recruiter or potential employer is going to focus on a specific position and why you’d be a good fit for it. A cover letter to a recruiter provides some more general information about you as a marketable candidate for multiple clients.
For instance, in a cover letter to an employer, you would never include the reason you are looking to leave your current position or why you’re on the market, and you should never include information about salary expectations in a cover letter for an employer.
The following are examples of cover letters written to recruiters and how you might tailor the cover letter for each specific scenario. For more information, see our article on sample cover letters that help entice recruiters.
In response to a job ad
In this scenario, the jobseeker writes in response to a job ad the recruiter is handling on behalf of the employer. When responding to an ad of this type, be sure to include keywords directly from the job posting and explain how your skills and experience align with that job.
Here is an example of a cover letter for a recruiter in response to a job ad:
Dear (recruiter’s name),
Your open position advertised on (source) fits my experience and qualifications, and I am writing to express my interest in and enthusiasm for the position. As an accomplished educator, I have taught at the kindergarten and first-grade levels for X number of years in the [name of school district]. I have achieved significant experience in developing scope and sequence of curriculum in reading, math, and science, and have successfully maintained ongoing communication with families.
Writing at the recommendation of a referral
In this case, you’ll want to mention the friend or colleague that referred you to the company and encouraged you to apply. Here is an example of a cover letter for a recruiter the mentions a recommendation from a referral:
Dear (recruiter’s name),
I was referred to your recruiting company by [so-and-so] and was encouraged to submit my credentials.
The rest of the cover letter should go on to concisely explain why you left your last position and the jobs or types of jobs you’re interested in pursuing.
Writing a cold cover letter
This is the most common type of cover letter for a recruiter. In it, the jobseeker explains who they are and what their career goals are. Here are some tips for writing a cold cover letter to a recruiter:
- Tailor it to the job you’re applying for
- Don’t ramble
- Consider submitting it in PDF format (unless the recruiter’s instructions say differently)
Here is an example of a cold cover letter for a recruiter:
Dear (recruiter’s name),
When you take the time to write a cover letter for a recruiter that’s interesting, brief and summarizes your marketable skills, you can increase your chances of landing an interview for a position the recruiter’s clients are trying to fill.