One of the most underrated aspects of any job search is the cover letter. So many professionals and job seekers spend countless hours perfecting their resume making sure they don’t have any glaring resume flaws. While this is a fantastic way to ensure that your resume is strong, it also means that your cover letter can be neglected. Even though cover letters won’t play as much of an important role as your resume, your cover letter could be the difference in getting considered for the position or not if you’re just teetering on the edge of being eliminated as a potential candidate.
Your cover letter will help you establish a strong first impression, and a bad cover letter won’t help you cover up any shortcomings for your resume. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that your cover letter helps you get your foot in the door by creating a strong first impression. We’ve highlighted several important things you should be aware of when you’re getting ready to apply to jobs and you’re evaluating whether or not you should include a cover letter.
Why Cover Letters Are Important
With all the attention centered around perfecting your resume and making sure that your resume stands out amongst the dozens or even hundreds of other candidates applying to the same job as you, your cover letter might seem like an afterthought. Unfortunately, this is a nasty pit to fall into, as your cover letter can be the difference in establishing that strong first impression, or being labeled as “just another candidate”.
Don’t fall into that trap. Instead, take the time to make sure that you are spending some time building your cover letter to the best of your ability because it could be the difference in making sure that you sell yourself properly to employers or future managers.
There are plenty of reasons as to why your cover letter is important, but we’ve highlighted some of the key ways in which your cover letter might be the difference in whether or not you be considered for the job below.
1. Highlight How Professional You Are (Or Might Be)
One of the main reasons that your cover letter is important is that it will help you highlight how professional you are or might be. Unfortunately, with all the resume builders or cover letter builders out there that provide you with premade statements, responsibilities, phrases, etc., it can be difficult for hiring managers and HR professionals to truly gauge whether or not this is a candidate they’d be willing to consider for a position.
Individuals can literally build the perfect resume that gives them everything they want to know, but a sizable portion of whether or not they are considered for the position is whether or not the HR professional gets a read on the type of person the candidate might be.
This is where your cover letter can come in, as a strong cover letter can help ensure that they get a solid read on the type of person and professional you might be so that they can determine whether or not they’d like to move your name forward during the consideration process.
2. Highlight How Detailed You Are
The next benefit of using a cover letter as you’re applying to jobs is that it lets you highlight how detailed you are. You’d be surprised at the number of mistakes that are in cover letters. Due to the fact that every cover letter should be tailored to the position that you’re applying to, a lot of people either rush when they’re building their cover letter, or they don’t bother to check for simple grammatical or spelling errors.
The fact that you spend a little extra time making sure that there are no glaring mistakes throughout your cover letter, shows that you’d be the type of professional who makes sure there aren’t any mistakes when you’re conducting normal business activities. The number of candidates that will be eliminated because of simple mistakes is quite high, and you want to demonstrate that you’re the type of professional who will put a little bit more attention to detail when you’re going about your tasks.
3. Indicate If You’ve Actually Read the Job Description
Another fantastic benefit to cover letters is that they help you highlight whether or not you’ve actually read the job description. One of the things that frustrate human resource professionals and hiring managers the most is when they receive a resume or a cover letter for a position, and it’s clear from the get-go that the individual didn’t even bother to read the job posting.
Cover letters give professionals a unique opportunity to highlight the fact that they’ve done their due diligence and have read the job description. In fact, with the one-click apply methods on most job boards and job sites, employers, hiring managers, and HR professionals are even going above and beyond to set extra application, resume, or cover letter requirements in the job posting.
As an example, HR professionals are now including things like, “If you’ve read this far in the job description put, ‘I’ve read the job description’ at the top of your cover letter.” These small actions help them narrow down the candidate field even further and highlight whether or not you’ve actually read the job description.
In addition, cover letters give you plenty of room to highlight key features from the job posting which will help you make a stronger case as to why they should consider you over other candidates, and reinforce that first impression you’re trying to build when they read your cover letter.
4. Highlight How Well You Communicate
Another reason as to why cover letters are so important is that they will highlight how well you communicate. In the working world, it’s expected that most roles you’ll be considered for will be team-based positions. In essence, this means you’ll be working with a handful of other people at any given time, and at the bare minimum, you’ll always be working with supervisors who will manage your work even if you don’t work directly on a team or with other team members.
Therefore it’s important to demonstrate that you’re capable of communicating effectively with other professionals regardless of their backgrounds, level of education, and more.
Your cover letter gives you a unique opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate effectively with others and in your ability to convey important talking points, messages, and need-to-know facts. What better way to highlight those skills in an important cover letter that will help you showcase that you’re the ideal candidate for the job posting?
5. Highlight or Reinforce Important Details
The next reason as to why cover letters are so important is that they help you highlight and reinforce important details regarding you and your professional experience. Cover letters help you highlight important details like your professional background, professional skills, experience, certifications, qualifications, education, and more.
In essence, a cover letter can help you summarize important details that they might have skimmed over on your resume. The average resume review time is roughly five to seven seconds, which means that your resume needs to be succinct and to the point in highlighting the important information. In the event that your resume is succinct and to the point, there is still a large probability that the individual reviewing your resume didn’t get all the important points that you’d like to emphasize. That’s where your cover letter can come in and save the day by providing additional clarification and highlights to important details you want them to know.
Your cover letter is an important tool for you to use when trying to reinforce important details that the reviewer might have otherwise missed.
Cover letters are just as important as they were years ago, and they might even be more important today than ever before. When the gap between candidates is so narrow, it’s important to do all you can to separate yourself from those other candidates and become the leading candidate in the eyes of the HR professionals and hiring managers who will be evaluating your application, resume, and cover letter. Taking the time to build a strong cover letter can help you separate yourself and significantly increase your chances of becoming the ideal candidate.
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