Cover Letters – are they still necessary in 2023?
The honest answer to this question is Maybe. Sometimes? Mostly? Yes!
In general, recruiting experts recommend including a cover letter with your resume. Statistics indicate that 56% of recruiters want applicants to attach a cover letter to their resumes. And at the same time, only 26% of recruiters read cover letters and consider them critical in their hiring decision. More importantly, however, 49% of HR managers think a cover letter is the second-best thing to boost your resume.
Here are seven reasons we at HamiltonDemo believe a cover letter is essential.
The hiring company may expect a cover letter. This is the best reason to include a cover letter. If the application process requires that you submit a cover letter, you should. You don't want your application and resume disqualified for not following a simple requirement.
A cover letter can set you apart from a candidate with the same resume. If you have the same job history, education, and skills as another candidate, an outstanding cover letter may be the difference between getting that interview and not getting it.
You have a personal connection to the company. If you're applying to the company because you have a personal relationship, your cover letter is the place to acknowledge and explain that connection. For example, if your former boss works there and suggested you apply, this is your chance to let the hiring manager see that link.
Highlight extra information. If you are applying from afar and are looking to relocate, the hiring manager needs to know that. If your education experience does not precisely fit a requirement, but you have a reason to believe you are still qualified, you need to include that information. There are lots of reasons to include extra information that doesn't fit on your resume.
New industry, same skills! If you are moving into a new sector, you may need to use your cover letter to explain how your skill set transfers fluidly into this new industry. Just be sure that it does!
Gaps and concerns. If you've got an employment gap that you feel you need to explain, your cover letter is the place for that. There's no need to submit a mysterious resume.
And finally, showcase your personality. Let the recruiter and hiring manager know that you are an enthusiastic and valuable asset to their company.
When shouldn't you send a cover letter?
There are some instances when you definitely should not include a cover letter.
The application specifically instructs you not to include a cover letter; don't do it. This goes back to our number one reason for sending a letter. Show that you know how to follow instructions correctly.
Some application portals have no way to submit a cover letter. This is a good indication that the company doesn't want one. Don't waste your time or theirs trying to work around a system like this.
If your cover letter is about how to improve the company you are applying to, re-think that. There's a fine line between why you will be valuable to the company and why the company is currently terrible. So spin the negativity into something positive.
Don't send one if you do not have the time or skill to customize a cover letter. It's better to omit the cover letter than send a poorly written or mass-templated letter.
If you're serious about getting the job and the application process allows for a cover letter submission, a well-written letter may give you an edge. You can use the opportunity to sell yourself as the ideal candidate and emphasize why your skills match their job.
Keep your cover letter short, to the point, and relevant. We can help you with resources to write the best letter possible.
So the answer to the question, do you need a cover letter, is still – maybe, sometimes, mostly, yes.
But no matter how you answer that question yourself, keep in mind that your cover letter won't matter without an outstanding resume. A cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Your resume is the primary document that will matter in the hiring process.
Interested in more information about resumes, cover letters, and job searches? Get in touch with us today at HamiltoDemo.com.Please don't