Do I Still Need a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is typically the first impression that you present to an employer. A great cover letter can position you in a positive light while a poorly written cover letter can bring your application to an immediate halt. Your cover letter not only complements your resume but offers an introduction to the recruiter of who you are. A strong cover letter will entice the recruiter to delve further into examining your resume. Today (2018), it is essential that your job application includes a cover letter. According to Careerbuilder (2016), 45% of resumes will get rejected for not including a cover letter. Cover letters provide introductions and context of exactly who’s applying for the posted position.
Addressing the Cover Letter
The most important thing when creating a cover letter (which most candidates neglect) is to address the letter directly to the decision-makers. Most candidates simply include a generic “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Committee.” This is a mistake that could cost you an interview. An article published by Workforce Magazine (2012), detailed that applicants should customize their cover letters and address it to the appropriate person along with including the keywords posted in the job description. These are the cover letters that will get noticed.
Recruiters Seek Reasons NOT to Advance a Candidate
Recruiters are constantly inundated with resumes and The Ladders (2012) conducted a study where 30 recruiters took part over a 10-week period and showed the average recruiter spends 6-seconds reviewing a resume. Rather than scrutinize every resume they receive for each position, recruiters are constantly looking for reasons not to advance a candidate. Not having a tailored cover letter ranks high on the list of reasons for passing on a candidate. Moneybox (2017) recently published an article where a hiring manager reviewed 500 cover letters and stated that “It is not uncommon for me to get 100 applications for one spot, so I’m constantly looking for reasons NOT to advance a candidate to the interview round. Writing a good cover letter is your best shot at getting noticed. If I hate a cover letter, I won’t even look at the resume.”
What all of this means is that a tailored cover letter specifically addressed to the decision-maker is crucial for all applicants. This will instantly separate the candidates who’ve taken the time to research the company versus those who are generically applying to numerous positions. You need to treat each application as if it were the only company you are considering.
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