Do Cover Letters Help You Get a Job?
A majority of candidates and job seekers sometimes still doubt whether or not a cover letter is really useful or never read at all. I for one as a recruiter rarely look at a cover letter, but then again I am a recruiter. I review over a hundred applications each day, every day. I have spoken to every single hiring manager we deal with. Most direct applications via email or on the career page of the companies website require you to upload a cover letter and your CV. About 80% of the employers and hiring managers read cover letters and they are the decision-makers, not the recruiter.
So it may be wise to prepare a cover letter with your job application.
When Do You Absolutely Need a Cover Letter?
A cover letter allows you multiple advantages. Let's see some of these below.
Effort: Writing a Cover letter shows the additional effort you have taken to apply for a job which means the chances of effort being recognized over someone who does not put up a cover letter will work to your advantage.
Sales Pitch: You can use a more "sales" technique to pitch yourself to the reader. This is based on identifying specific reasons that you can share that you feel make you the best candidate.
Skillset: Your ability to share a short paragraph about your skills and expertise that is required for the job that you have.
Experience: Your past hands-on experience in doing the job and hence lesser "learning on the job" time.
Personality: Your personality traits that match with the role. If you have undertaken a personality o psychometric test and have the report which has been reviewed to have the same evaluation for the job, then this is a huge plus.
Knowledge: Your knowledge on the subject or areas that will add extra value where other applicants may miss out.
Keywords: The cover letter helps you utilize keywords (make the word bold), to attract the attention of the reader. It will help generate interest in your CV even before your CV is read. Keep your cover letter to 1 page only.
Who really does require to write a cover letter?
Career Change: If you are making a career change or fresh out of university, then a cover letter can explain why you feel you deserve this job. It also an opportunity to highlight how your transferable skills will help you in your next job. For example, you could be a credit analyst applying for a Relationship Officer position or a financial consultant applying for a Risk Manager role.
Career Gaps: New mothers who have had to take a career break to look after their child, Professionals who have had a career gap due to work stress, burnout, or even not getting a job for a long time due to certain circumstances which could range from looking after a family member who is unwell or just not being able to attend interviews due to micromanagement.
New Geography: Coming in from a different country: So many of us settle down or want to make a career in a new country lacking local experience which tends to sometimes weigh negatively with competition from candidates having local experience.
Internal Reference: So many times someone within the company points out a vacancy within the organization. In fact, some companies even incentivize their employees who recommend a suitable candidate for a vacancy. This type of referral is best addressed in a written with a mention in a cover letter.
While the margin of job rejection is less than 20% for not writing a cover letter, you can definitely get a job without a cover letter. But ask this: Do I want to risk making my job application weaker, without a cover letter. How much more effort is really required to write a professional cover letter and what do I have to risk losing?
Sample Cover Letter