3 Things to Keep In Mind Regarding Cover Letters

Here is another wonderful piece written by my colleague Teague Simoncic. She does an awesome job of describing why you should ALWAYS include a cover letter when pursuing a new position. As a recruiter with more than 20 years of experience, I could not have said it better myself.

The job search can be absolutely exhausting – you’re busy perfecting your online presence, triple-checking the formatting on your resume, and dealing with the discomfort that comes along with selling yourself to a new company. It’s understandable that you’d look for ways to simplify the process. While there are certainly strategies for making your job search more efficient, crafting a killer cover letter is a step you shouldn’t skip. If you’re wondering to yourself what’s the big deal with cover letters?, this week’s newsletter is for you.

1) In the majority of industries, cover letters still matter.

On average, each corporate job posting receives around 250 applications. A cover letter is a great way for you to stand out from the competition and give your potential employer a better idea of who you are and what makes you unique. A great cover letter won’t make up for a bad resume, but it’s another piece of evidence you’re giving the hiring team that supports your candidacy. (And, if the posting specifies a need for a cover letter and you skip that part, you can almost guarantee your application will be tossed.)

2) A good cover letter is not just a reiteration of your resume.

Instead, this is a space for you to highlight some of the skills that are most relevant to the job at hand, as well as how you might fit in to their workplace. If you’re applying for a nonprofit or otherwise mission-driven position, consider mentioning why this cause is so important to you and what you believe in. Cover letters also provide space for you to explain anything that’s not clear about your resume (gaps in employment, a career path that’s not linear).

3) Cover letters can be important in some, but not all, parts of the job search process.

If recruiters are slammed and need to choose between reviewing your cover letter or your resume, the resume will usually win. Also, if your resume is lacking some of the crucial elements needed for success in your desired position, a good cover letter probably won’t make up for that. However, cover letters can be valuable sources of information when hiring managers are choosing between several candidates to bring in for their first round of interviews.

In summary, we’re not convinced that the cover letter is dead. In fact, it may be just the thing to breathe life back into your job search. To everyone pressing “submit” on a job application this week – we’re rooting for you!

– Coach Teague

This week’s challenge
In almost every article we read about cover letters, career experts had the same advice – if you have typos or other egregious errors, hiring managers will feel less-than-enthused about your ability to do the job well. This week, review your resume, cover letter template, or LinkedIn and make sure your digital i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. A polished personal brand never hurts.