Are cover notes still important? Tips to write a brief cover note that will get you the job

Are cover notes still important? Tips to write a brief cover note that will get you the job

A quick Google search will show you that the existence of the cover letter or not is constantly put into question. Are cover notes still relevant? Do employers even care about them? In this article we explain why they are still relevant, although at Movemeon we prefer to speak of an elevator pitch, but how you can write an efficient and modern elevator pitch to secure your dream job. We also share some tips to write a perfect CV using consulting skills.

The importance of a cover note

Cover notes are sometimes considered optional. At Movemeon, we don’t think they are – but neither do we like the traditional cover note approach, that’s why we speak of elevator pitch rather.

Your elevator pitch is what separates you and your skills from other candidates with basically the same CV. It’s a chance for you to show and tell where you have delivered. For instance, if you have worked on an interim project with a major client, your elevator pitch gives you the space to flesh out your achievements, and why they are relevant for this application.

The cover note is the main way of separating out the strengths of two people’s candidacy – you can use your elevator pitch to show exactly why this experience makes you the best for the role.

It is important to remember that Movemeon is a network of candidates with excellent skills and experience. As one of our members, you have a really strong professional and academic background. It’s also very likely that you have been through some form of consulting experience in your career – maybe you’re still working as a consultant as you read this. You belong to a great community of extremely skilled professionals on Movemeon, but this can also mean that your profile might be similar to other candidates’. The elevator pitch is the main way of separating out the strengths of two people’s candidacy – you can use your elevator pitch to show exactly why this experience makes you the best for the role.

How the Movemeon Client Success Team uses the elevator pitch

Cover notes help the Movemeon Client Success team to do two things. First of all, we can write a clear summary of your approach in your own words. If we only have a CV to look at, this is more difficult to do because we don’t have your experience, and don’t know how you would describe it and what else you would say about it. An elevator pitch really helps us to come with an initial shortlist of candidates to present to employers.

Second of all, your elevator pitch makes it much easier for us to get you, as a candidate, into the interview process. Think of the elevator pitch as a sales crib sheet, or a selling aid to the client. If a candidate has gone the extra mile for us as a Client Success team to help themselves to really stand out, then it makes our job of presenting that candidate to an employer a lot easier.

What you should put in your elevator pitch

  • A CV can be a very limiting document because it is essentially a list of skills and achievements, your cover note gives you the opportunity to explain why you are applying to this specific role and what motivates you to get this job as an individual.
  • You need to choose what you include carefully to fit with the role’s requirements and with your personal goals – this is the best way to show your own personal motivation for a job.

A CV can be a very limiting document because it is essentially a list of skills and achievements, so it can be difficult to build a bridge between this document and somebody’s personality.

  • The elevator pitch is not about bringing your CV to life, but rather bringing your experience vis-à-vis the job requirements to life.
  • Consulting is very impressive experience in and of itself, but it might not necessarily be particularly relevant for the position you’re applying for – focusing on a couple of missions in your elevator pitch can bring more relevance to your experience.
  • Focus your experience on what the company has asked for and keep to the point so that you can communicate your motivation efficiently.
  • If it helps, you can think of your elevator pitch as your own personal sales pitch.

Some methodology points

  • Presentation has far less importance than the actual content. We often see that the best elevator pitches are the ones written in bullet points.
  • Ask yourself why and how are you the best for this specific role in this particular company?
  • There isn’t a length guide, but the best ones our Client Success team has seen were about 150-200 words.

It really doesn’t need to be a long document for it to be great.

  • The content of the pitch needs to be presenting your strengths in the most relevant manner.
  • Always think of the reader as you write your elevator pitch. You need to present yourself in the best light possible, and ensure that your candidacy is very strong.
  • As you write, take into account that you will be read by a hiring manager and the Movemeon Client Success team who will receive many more applications.

In summary, keep it concise, keep it to the point, keep it lively. And make sure that it’s really accurately answering the question. We tend to recommend going for a bullet point model, but there’s nothing wrong with injecting a bit of flair into your writing. 

Mistakes to avoid

  • Avoid classic copy paste errors. We’ve seen quite a few copy errors where people have mentioned the wrong company or forgot to remove their placeholders. This is the sort of thing that definitely needs to be avoided because it doesn’t look like a particular level of care has been taken over applying to a specific brand or job.
  • Just make sure that the covering note shows that you’ve invested in yourself and invested in the brand that you’re potentially going to be working for.

In case of doubt, just focus on what the job wants and what you can bring to it and who you are.

  • It’s really good to make sure to keep it grammatically tidy and run spell check through it. Good proofreading is essential.
  • Avoid mis-researching what you’re going to be writing. There’s been a few cases where we’ve seen people present addressing the wrong stakeholder, the wrong hiring manager, or the wrong company. The advantage of the Movemeon elevator pitch is that it’s a box that you fill, so it’s a very simple format which does not call for the traditional letter format. In case of doubt, just focus on what the job wants and what you can bring to it and who you are. You need to be absolutely sure of the facts you mention, and make sure that you’ve got a hundred percent confidence in that information.

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Movemeon
Movemeon
Movemeon.com - The world’s leading community of consultants, alumni and commercial professionals. Founded by two ex-McKinsey Consultants, Nick Patterson & Rich Rosser.
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