By: Rachel Wardle 24-11-2014

Categories:* Motivation letter,
So 5 days ago I am asked by a VP of Operations, how important are recruitment motivation letters?

This person may potentially be in the market for a new job and they want to know how important this really is? They are asking a professional opinion as a trusted client, but the dilemma is do I answer honestly that I find them about as useful as a chocolate tea pot or the Recruiters professional response…. They have to be a short synopsis of a resume.
There are many people out there who feel they are still a valuable insight into the psyche of the applicant’s mentality, however, I could not disagree more. Over the past 16 years I have read thousands of applicant’s motivation letters and they are on majority all the same… I saw your advert…… My skills are…. Hire me because……It is almost as if they have an inbuilt robotic response that makes me switch off upon opening the attachment and if I feel this way, I can’t be the only one?

The question of motivation letters is a question I have asked myself as a veteran recruiter many times. I know from personal experience I don’t read 95% of the letters sent by applicants; because a good resume should give me all the information I need.
In the new age of technology where we no longer physically post our applications, why do so many people still follow the 90s text book approach to their career

This aside, am I the only recruiter who feels the approach to motivation letters got stuck in the 90s?

There are some letters that can really grab the attention, that truly try to be different and then I would say if you have something different and interesting to say; add a motivation letter!
If not, DON’T bother. Simply add an email explaining what you are applying for and that you are open to talk further.

Of course this is a personal opinion and generally I headhunt people for the roles I recruit, but I would be very interested to get other professionals opinions?

In the words of Albert Einstein though I have to agree, “its insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results”, yet I know people who still have the same motivational letter template for the last 10 years…. And still are getting the same; not so positive results.

My advice to everyone out there is to be original and stand out from the crowd and never follow the protocols of historic recruitment. Apply for the job of your dreams, from your soul and not your template file.

Rachel Wardle
Director - Recruitment and HR Projects
The Hague Area, Netherlands