Popular belief is that cover letters are a waste of time, and only a sliver of recruiters or hiring managers actually read them. However, we believe they’re important, and here’s why.
A tailored, compelling cover letter shows the recruiter you have taken the time to research the company and understand the needs of the potential employer.
In the current climate, with so many people looking for work, the volume of applicants are increasing. You should take the time to write a cover letter wherever possible.
CEO of Best Practice Biz, Kobi Simmat highlights the importance of including a cover letter in the application process.
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“From the get go you’re pitching how you are the best person in the market to solve that business problem for them. It is the first opportunity to say you understand the problem and you have the skills to help them solve it.”
According to LinkedIn editor Andrew Seaman, these are the top tips for cover letter writing:
- Keep it under 250 words
- Explain why you want the job
- Relate your past successes to the employer’s needs
- Write a main letter that’s tweaked for each employer and role
- Proofread, and then proofread again
- Address the letter to the relevant hiring manager – avoid a generic ‘to whom it may concern’
Kobi Simmat expands on these tips and points out how the recruiter’s goal is to ensure potential candidates;
- Understand what their in for in regards to the position
- Understand the business’ problem
- Understand that in trying to solve it, the challenges they will face in the role
- Understand how their skill set is compatible with tackling these challenges
“I think the cover letter can be really lucrative to someone who really wants to get their foot in the door at a target company or for a position they’ve been gunning for,” said Wendi Weiner, who is a personal branding and career expert at The Writing Guru.
She went on to add, “you’re setting your groundwork to show how you can help the company progress in its goals and objectives, what the cover letter is doing is showcasing your expertise but it also shows how well you communicate.”
Cover letters are evolving from resume data explainers to more conversational, natural communication between recruiter and candidate.
“I haven’t met a recruiter or hiring manager who doesn’t want to hear this kind of information.”
There’s human touch in a cover letter that resume’s lack. They help people stop and take a second look. This can advance you to the interview stage. However, ensure your resume is the strongest element of your application, as interviewees will not get a copy of your cover letter.
Chris Westfall, an editor at Forbes stated, “today, we’re faced with the toughest job market in anyone’s lifetime.”
He also believes in the importance of cover letters and stressed utilising the space to focus on using ‘because’ to explain the why. For example; because of this experience I…, because I had these skills I could achieve this…, because I was put in that position I learnt…etc.
“That single word ‘because’ can transform your story from a first-person history lesson into a powerful way to create service, value and impact.”
Employers love to hear that a candidate has done their research on the role and culture of the business and understand their challenges. Use the cover letter to expand on that and elaborate on why you’re excited to fulfil the role.