When looking for jobs, many postings have an optional cover letter submission. Job seekers generally find many jobs they’d like to apply to. As an applicant, writing out a cover letter and a resume that is tailored to each job can be cumbersome. This begs the question, are cover letters really worth the time? In short, yes. If you’d like the long version, read on!
If you’ve been on the job search for a while, there’s something you’ve likely discovered. Most companies use algorithms to pull keywords from resumes. Early on in the process many candidates have their resumes passed over because of this. You should optimize your resume with keywords from the job description. Read our extensive guide on this here. Doing this on your resume and your cover letter as an applicant will be advantageous, since it will increase your keyword count. However, cover letter value goes beyond just the added keyword recognition.
Tell a Story
As a job candidate, you should think about what a cover letter provides to an interviewer. Looking at a resume, that interviewer will only see your work experience, and will have to weave a story themselves. A cover letter affords an applicant the opportunity to tell an engaging story about themselves linking all of their experiences together.
An applicant’s resume is usually written and designed very formally, but with the cover letter there is an opportunity for a more personal touch. This is your chance to tell your story and make the hiring manager sympathetic to your situation. Think of why you are applying. Maybe as a fan of their products you sought out their ‘career’s portion of their website.
If there is an interesting story behind the journey to the posting, tell it, but don’t stretch the truth. The last thing a hiring manager wants to read is something insincere and artificial. Stay honest and write about your strengths. Strike a good balance between formal and informal when developing writing style. Lastly, the cover letter is addressed should be addressed to a specific hiring manager. This makes it more sincere and less robotic. As a candidate, know your point of contact and use that to your advantage.
Lastly, only consider writing a cover letters if you have something to say. Writing a cover letter can be an incredibly valuable resource to utilize, but writing one just to write one will shine through in it’s quality. Having genuine reason to write will also show through, and hopefully help your odds of landing that job!
We hope this assisted you in knowing the benefits of writing cover letters. Optional or required, you should take both opportunities to craft a well written letter that weaves a good story. If you still need more guidance, check out The Muse’s 31 Attention Grabbing Cover Letter Examples.