Whether or not to write a cover letter is a common debate in the job search arena. A good cover letter takes time and personalization, and sometimes the job description says it’s optional. So, have cover letters become obsolete? Are cover letters still necessary to include for every job application?
According to a recent survey by ResumeGo, only 26% of recruiters will deduct points from candidates who don’t include an optional cover letter. But if it’s optional, why does it matter if you don’t include one?
Apart from your resume, cover letters can do a lot to help your case and add personality to your application. Applying for a job comes with its fair share of competition, so while a cover letter may not be required on all job listings, it’s a wise asset to include. Here are a few reasons you should put in the extra effort to include one:
Provide Additional Context
Resumes offer a basic, black-and-white overview of your qualifications for a job. They are often scanned by hiring managers to determine if you have the proper experience for the position before moving on to the next applicant. If your experience does match up with the position’s requirements, your cover letter can help further position you as the full package.
It’s important to use your cover letter as an opportunity to expand upon your experience, elaborate on your accomplishments, and clear up questions from your resume. If there is an employment gap or non-linear career path, mention the purpose for these circumstances and explain why you don’t see them as an obstacle.
Prove You Care About the Position
Applying for a job listing online can take as little as three clicks. And while convenient, it also means that most listings are getting more applicants than ever before. Sometimes, you’ll need to go the extra mile to stand out from the competition – especially if you genuinely want the job.
Cover letters allow you to use your communication and persuasion skills to explain why you’re perfect for a particular position. Consider it an opportunity to answer some inevitable interview questions about your experience without the pressure of responding on the spot. Employers will also get a sense of how well you write and how you’ll be able to translate that skill into the workplace.
Showcase Your Personality
Resumes include a lot of important information for employers to ensure candidates have a basic understanding of the position, but they often lack personality. As much as employers want to know that you can perform the position’s responsibilities, they also want to know that you’re enjoyable to be around.
Approach your cover letter as an opportunity to showcase your personality and expand on the value you’re capable of providing. A resume will already list the skills you possess, but what are some of the interpersonal skills you bring to the table?
So … Are Cover Letters Still Necessary?
While a cover letter can never hurt your chances of getting a job (unless it’s full of spelling and grammatical errors), it’s also essential to identify which listings are worth your time. Knowing the signs of green and red flags of a job listing can immensely help your decision-making process when scrolling through job listings.
Working with a recruiter to help you search for the right jobs, determine the best application strategies, and prepare you for interviews can be what allows you to stand out from the crowd. We recommend reading Why Recruiters Are Your Key To Successful Interview Preparation to learn more.