Are Cover Letters Still Necessary?

Cover letters shouldn’t be underestimated.

You will find many sites and tutorials that will tell you that sometimes a cover letter just isn’t necessary. These days, however, this is just not true. A well constructed cover letter can be a great introduction to an employer through showcasing your accomplishments and emphasizing your interest in the available position. While other applicants may simply submit their resume and move on, you can go one step farther by taking the time to construct a well organized, well written intro.

So what makes a good cover letter?

One of the biggest mistakes people often make is the most obvious. Spelling and grammar errors are rampant in cover letters across the board. Even if English isn’t your specialty a simple word processing program can review all of your mistakes before you hastily attach it to your resume. Most employers will automatically discard an applicant if they turn in a resume that has misspellings and punctuation errors. Proofreading can take only a few minutes but can make all the difference.

A powerful cover letter is one that impresses and informs.

Regardless if you decide to write up a cover letter or not, you should be researching the business you’re applying for. Key tactics like using proper terms and phrases in your body can show employers that you have a firm understanding of the type of industry in which you’re applying. It’s always important to show them that you aren’t just submitting a generalized cover letter that you recycle with each job you apply for. Let the reader know that you want to work for their company specifically and why. And be enthusiastic about it.

Underneath all your proper grammar, zeal, and knowledge, you are simply selling yourself.

Your main points should always emphasize to employers what specific skills you have acquired in the past that would be beneficial to such the position your applying for. In a strong, but brief, summary explain to them your greatest accomplishments and talents. A combination of interest and ambition can be insurmountable in a cover letter. Employers are looking for workers who don’t just want a job, but for someone who truly wants to work for their company. Let them know that you are eager about a career in the field and you will not only do a fantastic job, but that you aspire to advance even farther given the chance.

Lastly, you should present yourself professionally but don’t be boring.

A hiring manager or an H.R. representative will probably go through hundreds of submissions before choosing one and they are likely to run into the same problems again and again. Cover letters can be either ill-written, boring, or both. Yours should be written to show your personal voice but also sound formal. There is no place for slang or run on sentences in a cover letter. So, read your copy aloud and make the necessary changes before submitting it. If your letter doesn’t explain why you’re the ideal candidate for the job in the best way possible then it’s time to get back to editing.

In some ways, cover letters are more difficult to construct than actual resumes. They require a strong understanding of writing and industry knowledge. However, even if they are complicated they can be quite a useful add on when you are applying for a job. Putting forth the extra effort in a submission shows that you are willing to try hard at something even when you don’t have to, and that shows character. Do your absolute best and let employers know that their search ends with you.