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We receive this question from clients all the time, “Why do I need a cover letter, employers won’t read it?”
Some employers really are wanting the resume, others want to make sure that you are sending in a cover letter to show the attention to detail to the job. We know that depending upon the reader of your documents without a cover letter you can be automatically screened out compared to other applicants that show more of a level of interest by submitting the proper cover letter. This can increase the chances dramatically of being selected for an interview versus not including one.
Another reason for submitting a cover letter is that you can communicate other items that wouldn’t be conveyed in the resume. This can include when you are available to interview especially if relocating to another state, employment gaps, career changes, or home office set up for remote positions, to name a few.
When you are creating a cover letter, make sure this is specific to the position of interest. Important items to consider include:
- Address the hiring manager instead of a general “To It May Concern”.
- How your experience relates to the open position.
- Explain why you are interested in the role.
- Important accomplishments as it relates to the position.
- Connect the mission statement, values, and/or leadership by commenting in the cover letter about this. This shows you researched the company.
- Add a call to action to invite the hiring manager to reach out to you for an interview.
While the cover letter can definitely boost your chances, it can discredit you if you are not using the opportunity appropriately. Items to not include oversharing personal information about yourself, boasting too much about yourself, demanding specific benefits and salary, requirements, wrong company information, and not following the instructions about how to send the cover letter. Do not use a generic cover letter for all positions, employers can identify this quickly.
Lastly, make sure to proofread your cover letter before sending it to the employer with your resume.