Do you really need a cover letter?

Posted by Amanda Wencel on Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Writing a resume is a daunting enough task.  How do we fit our professional lives on 2 pages effectively, within all of the varying guidelines that are available on the Internet?  On top of that you are expected to write a cover letter that you don’t even know is being read!

Yes, it’s frustrating for sure.  However, even though there is evidence that many recruiters/hiring managers are not reading cover letters, there is still enough proof available that cover letters are vital to a job search.  The majority of job postings still require that you include a cover letter along with your resume. 

Most of us do not write letters anymore so we find this a very difficult task and rush through it. However, the cover letter is one of the areas you have control over in your job search to set yourself positively apart from others who are competing for the same job.  What it will require from you is time and effort, but the payback is beating your competition for the interview.

A cover letter is a place you can:

• Provide more information about yourself that is important to your career story, but was not included on your resume due to content choices, space, etc.  For example, brief explanations about career transitioning, gaps in employment, reasons for moving to another city, etc.

• Identify exactly how you feel you are a good fit for the company, through utilizing proper research to connect the dots between the company’s values and mission with your personal and professional values.

• Specifically target the job posting to clearly link how your skills and experience directly match those of the job you are applying for.

• Display your interest in a company or a posting, allowing yourself to stand out from generic cover letters that some people use as a blanket application for jobs.

A cover letter is not:

• A place for you to duplicate all of the information that is already on your resume.  Use this space to enhance your application, not waste the reader’s time.

• A place for your life story.  It is a concise and targeted one-page document that highlights your direct connections to the job you are applying for.

If written effectively, the cover letter serves as a strong marketing tool to communicate your strengths, skills and accomplishments that match specifically to the requirements of the company and job you are applying for.  Keep an eye out for my next blog with more details on cover letters that will enhance your resume profile and your chances of getting noticed!

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