Covering Letter… yes or no?

Covering Letters have got something of a bad press lately with a lot of modern recruiters saying that they are no longer relevant. I suspect that their demise may be a tad exaggerated – even though it’s far easier to let Linked In’s algorithms do the work when there are 120 letters of varying quality to plough through on top of the CVs.

But I think a well written, relevant covering note can really help your application to stand out from the crowd. Especially if it shows clearly that you’ve thoroughly read the job description and isn’t just a rehashed version of your CV’s opening summary.

For example this following letter prompted a phone call from the recruiter with 90 minutes of me clicking the send button on my application. Why do I think it worked? Well it was relatively short at three paragraphs. It showed that I had read the job description and more importantly offered relevant information that wasn’t on my CV in terms of my background as a former financial journalist.

There was also a hint of flattery too in my praise for the job description. So here it is in full:


Hello there,

here’s an application for the role of SEO and Content Manager for your consideration, just like those ads they put in Variety at Oscar season. There are a lot of boxes to tick in your excellent job description, and I would be surprised if any candidate ticked them all. But I certainly tick most in the required section and the bulk in the desired area.

I’ve attached my CV but would also emphasise that I started as a trained journalist and worked regularly for the Financial Times. So while I may not have worked for a company in the highly regulated financial sector, I have certainly written about them. I even know what EBITDA stands for, and can make a good fist at explaining what it means, too.

Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you soon to continue the conversation.


Mat Toor

The story behind The Standard’s incredible front page photograph: Inferno

Evening Standard Front Page. Photo by Jeremy Selwyn

The UK Press Gazette has the fascinating story behind yesterday’s incredible front page featuring the blazing Grenfell Tower in west London.

It wasn’t taken by an onlooker with an iPhone, but by the paper’s last remaining staff photographer Jeremy Selwyn.  He has worked at the London daily for the past 30 years and new exactly what was needed to get the critical image – he entered a neighbouring tower blocks, took a lift to the top floor and knocked on the door of one of the flats to get the perfect vantage of the tragic spectacle.

A true pro – and last of a dying breed. And he won’t make a penny from the photograph that has been reproduced around the world over and above his salary. But I expect there will be a gong or too at the end of year awards.

Evening Standard Front Page. Photo by Jeremy Selwyn
Jeremy Selwyn’s astounding front page photo

Arrrggggh! My Retina MacBook Pro has succumbed to STAINGATE!

Stained MacBook Pro

Nasty shock this morning. Decided to clean the screen of my beloved mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pro and a nasty stain appeared by the FaceTime camera. Tried scrubbing it harder but only succeeded in spreading it even more.

A quick Google revealed that this is a common problem with early Retina MacBook pro and has inevitably earned its own -Gate ‘moniker’: StainGate.*

Apple hasn’t acknowledged anything publicly on its support site but it’s apparently fixing the issue free of charge. I’ve arranged a service appointment on Saturday so we’ll see what happens.

But one things for certain: I don’t want to stare at a MacBook Pro with a hideous birth-mark right in my sightline. Ugh.

*Apparently it’s down to the anti-reflective coating on the screen wearing off prematurely. I seem to have a very mild case of it (see below for a much nastier one)



No, it’s not a tear in the space-time continuum

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that there is a 7-year gap between the previous post and the ones before that.

I simply exported my old blog content and re-imported it to this domain. Its a very painless process (if you only have a few posts even the images will be transferred smoothly).

Now I’ll have to think of some fresh stuff to post about.

And the Orchestra Played On…

Today I have my second interview for my redundancy (aka ‘second individual consultation meeting’). It’s like a curious life reversal with all the emotions, anticipations and optimism forming a negative of the process you normally go through when you apply for a new job.

Of course, in this instance there is no chance that I won’t succeed in being redundant. This is a consultation process in name only, to satisfy the legal bells and whistles required. So there is literally no hope to be dashed.

I guess that it’s a good thing that the company I’ve worked for the past 3 years is fulfilling its legal duties. But I’d rather be writing this blog post from my delightful back garden rather than a basement office without sunshine, where the mood is reminiscent of the Titanic after the iceberg struck and the man who built her announced: “She is made of iron, she will sink.”

So I’ll be filling in the hours by rebuilding my website to become a proper online portfolio to support my cv which is temporarily harboured in the root directory.

And with its SSL certificate (that’s https:// and padlock, remember) it’s a million times more secure than my current job. Hopefully it can help reflect my career soon…

Upgrading my account at last

After four years of sloth I’ve finally got around to upgrading my hosting account — which dates back to the time of Pipex. Remember them?

So very shortly I will be running this blog on a proper server rather than via WordPress hosting.

We shall see some changes then, methinks.

Web 3.0 beckons!

Pearl & Dean sold for a quid

The cinema advertising company Pearl & Dean has been sold by its owner STV for the princely sum of £1 today. Read the whole story here.

If I’d known I would have forked out for it myself – if only to get the rights to the theme music, Asteroid. See below if you need reminding…