02 Sep Do I really need a Cover Letter?
Are you ready to start putting your feelers out for a new job? Perhaps you’ve started your search and are thinking, “do I need to tailor my cover letter for EVERY application?” And “Do I even need a Cover Letter?’
“….. Joe Bloggs recently got a new job and he told me he didn’t use a Cover Letter? It’s clearly not necessary?!
You may have noticed some application forms state the Cover Letter is ‘optional’ surely this means it’s not necessary, right?
This is a really common question I hear a lot of job seekers ask, “Do I need a Cover Letter? Is it actually going to get read?”
The truth be told, no it may not even get read (gasp!) How disheartening, especially if you have put in all of that effort and it didn’t even get read?!
However, including a Cover Letter, may be just the turning point that gets you through to that yes pile! And here’s why….
My Top 5 reasons why you DO need a Cover Letter:
Reason #1 – there are still some traditional folk out there that appreciate a traditional application and the effort put into it. There are some Recruiters, HR or Manager’s I know that will dismiss an applicant if they have not included a Cover Letter. Full disclosure; that was never me when I was recruiting. But it does happen, and you want to ensure you are catering to these traditional hirers.
Reason #2 – if your competitors have not submitted a cover letter, this could give you an advantage. Especially if you have noticed the application said “optional”, why not use this to your advantage to make a good impression.
Reason #3 – as an ex-recruiter of 10 years’, I have excessive experience screening résumés for job vacancies. Moving into career coaching and professional résumé writing I have analysed the recruitment process and surveyed many recruiters. My experience of résumé screening often went like this:
- Open candidate résumé, scan read for relevant experience.
- Decide yes > put through to the initial shortlist.
- Decide no > put through to the unsuccessful pile.
- If unsure, revert to the Cover Letter to join the dots and decide on the application outcome.
Therefore, in some instances the Cover Letter is the deciding factor if your application goes through (or not).
Reason #4 – once the recruiter send’s the shortlist through to the hiring manager, the manager is very likely to read all of your application (résumé & cover letter), even if the recruiter didn’t. If you make the next shortlist (interview), the Recruiter and hiring Manager will read your cover letter before you walk in the door. And what perfect timing to wow them with your amazing letter!
Reason #5 – your Cover Letter gives you more leeway than your résumé to explain your situation, why you are applying for the role (i.e. your motivation) and to clearly show the reader the relevant skill you have for the job they are recruiting. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
If you want to learn the exact steps on how to perfect your application and get access to a simple cover letter template that steps, you through what to write in each paragraph. Register your details for my very own online course that teaches you lifelong skills on how to create your own résumé and cover letter that get you hired for the job you want.
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