Are Cover Letters Really Necessary?

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You may wonder if hiring managers take the time to read all the cover letters they receive with resumes. It is hard to answer this question—some cover letters are read and others are ignored. It depends on the job and the hiring manager. Often, recruiters skip to the resume to check whether the applicant has the desired expertise and background. However, once they have weeded out those who aren’t a fit for the job, they may use the cover letters to identify the top applicants. That means crafting a superb resume is vital as it takes you to the doorstep of a new opportunity. Your cover letter then pushes that door open.

For this reason, it’s essential to take the time to write both a resume and a cover letter that can help get you an interview and possibly land you the job. Need help with this task? Contact our experts for whatever assistance you require. 

When should I include a cover letter?

While the use of cover letters is on the decline, it’s always a good idea to include one with your resume. There are instances where it is imperative to add a cover letter. Make sure you have one attached in the following circumstances:

  1. The job application requires a cover letter. If you don’t attach one, you’re already demonstrating that you can’t follow instructions, and you will most likely be thrown out of the candidate pool before the hiring manager so much as glances at your resume.
  2. The hiring manager requests a cover letter. Again, if you are asked for it, make sure you supply it. Companies aren’t looking for people who can’t follow basic instructions.
  3. You are sending your resume to a hiring manager whose name you know. Use this chance to address the person directly and let them know how you can help the company. In this case, a cover letter allows you to show off all the research you’ve done, which cements your image as a passionate and thoughtful applicant.
  4. An influential person has referred you to the job. Take advantage of this situation. If this individual is highly regarded, this could work in your favor, so make sure you get all the benefits you can out of this connection.

The only time you shouldn’t send a cover letter is if the employer explicitly states so or if the online application doesn’t allow you to attach one. Otherwise, play it safe and include a cover letter. It won’t hurt you if they don’t read it, but if they were expecting one and you didn’t include it, you might have lost the job before getting a chance to interview.

How might a cover letter help me?

There are many ways in which including a cover letter might help you. The list below should encourage you to put together an impressive one.

  1. It can make you stand out. Going the extra mile to craft a cover letter tells the hiring manager that you are serious about the job. This might put you above those of equal ability who didn’t include one. A well-written letter will also show communication and writing skills, which can be valuable in any career. Of course, this assumes that your cover letter is indeed well-written and suited to the position. If it’s just a generic missive you could have also sent to 10 other companies, it may do more harm than good.
  2. It allows you to clarify career transitions and gaps in employment. It is important for the hiring manager to know why you left your job for a month. Taking time off to care for an ailing family member packs a different punch from using the time to travel. You can also expound on why you decided to change careers, be it for a love of something new or the desire for more of a challenge. If there’s anything on your resume that could be suspicious to a hiring manager, this is your perfect chance to turn things around.
  3. You can show your personality. Let the recruiter know you are excited to work at the company and become a contributing team member. Hiring managers want applicants who are enthusiastic and can work well with others. Explore the company’s social media and website ahead of time to show how you can fit into its culture. Just make sure that your enthusiasm comes off as genuine.
  4. It shows you care and truly want the job. When you take the time to submit a well-written cover letter (especially when others neglect to), the hiring manager will probably take notice. You put in extra effort where others didn’t. This shows that you work hard and are driven—two qualities that recruiters look for. While others might just stuff their resumes with trite buzzwords, you’re proving these qualities through your cover letter.

Cover letters can benefit you in many ways and won’t harm your chances of getting a job (unless your cover letter is really bad). Take the extra time and strive to make a good first impression.

What should I include in my cover letter?

It is important that your cover letter features some basics. The points below should help you get off to a good start.

  1. Include your personal information. Make sure the hiring manager knows how to contact you. It is advisable to include your name, address, phone number, email, and LinkedIn address. If you want, you can add other social media profiles as well, but carefully comb through them beforehand to ensure the recruiter won’t stumble across anything they’re not supposed to see.
  2. Address the hiring manager in your greeting. Show that you pay attention to detail and took the time to find out their full name.
  3. Tell them why you are the perfect fit for their company and this specific job. Let them know your strengths and show them how you can fill the void in their company. Demonstrating that you have knowledge about the company and the job only earns you extra points.
  4. Let them see your personality. After perusing the company’s website and social media (as mentioned above), let the hiring manager see how you would fit into the culture and make a positive contribution.
  5. Close appropriately and suggest following up with a meeting or a phone call. This indicates confidence and shows you are expecting to hear from them.

It is well worth your effort to write a cover letter. It could be the decisive factor when it comes down to you and one or two other applicants. Once you have crafted your cover letter, remember to check it over again and again. After you think you have perfected it, let someone else review it. Finally, consider getting a professional edit as well because this is one document where you can’t afford typos. Get in touch with our experts for additional help.

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