Do I Still Need a Cover Letter These Days?
Technology has taken over the traditional way of looking for employment. It’s easier to send resumes, references and salary info through email or using LinkedIn. Do I Still Need a Cover Letter These Days? The use of a cover letter seems like a lost art, but it still matters. The problem is very few job seekers take the time to create a good cover letter anymore. Everything’s so “template” that nothing said sounds authentic. I have found that this stems mostly from a lack of education around the cover letter’s role in the application process. It can be a vital step and one that makes you the candidate to beat very early in the process if done correctly. Try these guidelines to make your cover letter pop out.
- Cover letters must be creative. Generic template-sounding cover letters are not working anymore, recruiters and hiring managers can spot them easily and then they are discarded. Use templates as an inspiration, but the letter itself comes from you. One way to do that is to personalize the salutation. Instead of generic “To Whom It May Concern” or “To the hiring manager” find the name of the hiring manager and use it. It will take work but it shows them you’re resourceful. It gives you a better chance of standing out from the crowd.
- Keep cover letters short and to the point. Long-winded cover letters that beat around the bush and take too long to make their point end up in the trash bin or deleted. Employers don’t have time to be bored, confused or offended with unnecessary or too much information.
- Take out resume-related information. This is the most common mistake (and it’s a major one) I see. It’s redundant to regurgitate resume information in the cover letter. Hiring managers can find that in the resume. All that’s doing is taking up space. Add only the phrase “resume attached” or “resume enclosed,” job function, job level, and industry. Use the rest of the space to tell them how their resume matches skills in this position. Highlight skills that relate to the job opening.
- Follow directions on how to send it. It’s easy in the mailing world: type, print and send. It’s more difficult through email. The best thing to do is follow the instructions on the ad. If nothing is mentioned the general rule is to list the cover letter in the body of the email.
The purpose of a cover letter applies to the digital world just as much as the real world. Cover letters are made to supplement, not a staple, to the resume. Every resume comes with a cover letter whether it’s specified in the ad or not. To the hiring manager, it’s the first impression of the candidate. The candidate uses the cover letter as a way to convince employers that you deserve an interview because you’re the most qualified. No matter how it’s created the rule still applies.
Apply these tips and you will see results.