Aside from the number of applications, I was surprised to see how many of these submissions were obviously generic (or even addressed to the wrong company or role).
Here are my findings (presented in these cutting-edge graphics below):
Cutting-edge graphics of cover letters stats
Out of these 150 applications, a staggering 50% were generic cover letters that didn’t (or scarcely) mentioned the position during the course of the letter. It was clear that these were top and tailed and that applicants attach the same letter to many of the positions they apply to. A lot of these were great candidates but they were doing very little (if not nothing) to make themselves stand out and got lost in the volume of applications.
Nearly a quarter of applications received had either been addressed to the wrong person, referenced the wrong role or didn’t have any cover letter attached at all.
In classic Goldilocks style, most of the cover letters were either too short or too long – the cover letters which exceeded 150 words often included a lot of unnecessary information, most of which was lost in a skim-read. Shorter approaches often failed to show relevancy or spark real interest in the reader. The winning 17% of cover letters were concise, but informative.
After running this short exercise, I couldn’t believe the difference that a well-thought-out, succinct and tailored cover letter makes.