Does anyone read cover letters anymore?
Why should I include one?
Isn’t it just a repetition of what’s on your resume?
These are questions constantly being asked by hungry job seekers across the country. And we get it. Job hunting is tough and spending that extra time crafting a witty customized cover letter is a pain. But you’re really missing out on a great opportunity to sell yourself if you don’t do it.
It’s true that some hiring managers don’t like or read cover letters. But what they really don’t like is bad cover letters. And gone are the days where cover letters need to be a formal attachment. Now you can just place your compelling case straight in the body of your email – who’s not going to at least skim that?
So, what exactly is the point of a cover letter?
The cover letter is your electronic elevator pitch. It’s your chance to sell your wares and summarize why you think you’d be a great candidate for the role. Yes, this means that it should be tailored to the role (and personally addressed to the hiring manager).
Here are some things you should cover:
- Why you want this job and not just any job. What about this job drew you in? Is it the type of work, the company, the products, the culture?
- Briefly mention any relevant experience/skills/education you have.
- If you’re underqualified, acknowledge it and convince them why you deserve a shot anyways.
- If you’re overqualified, explain why you’re applying for a job that may seem ‘below you’.
- Share compelling reasons why you might be a good fit for the company that aren’t suitable for your resume. For example, you’re a fitness junkie applying to a job at Adidas.
But really it comes down to this: does your cover letter make you sound like a likeable and employable human being?
Because that’s really the point of a cover letter.
Remember, hiring is people finding other people that they want to work with. A cover letter can humanize you far more than a resume can. On more than one occasion, from a cover letter alone, we’ve stopped and thought “wow, this person sounds amazing, I HAVE TO MEET THEM!”
Be that person. Craft that must-read intro that makes an employer excited to open your resume.
And if you don’t want to be that person. At least don’t be the person who sends in an application with one line: “See resume attached”. Because nobody likes that person.