Cover letters get a bad reputation.
We asked recruiters whether they even read it.
Some don't. Some might. And some said they won't even consider an applicant if they don't attach a cover letter.
It doesn’t matter why companies ask for cover letters in my opinion. Maybe because it’s traditional practice. Maybe they believe it’s the tie breaker. Maybe it’s a test to see if you follow instructions and actually take the trouble.
Either ways, you must attach a cover letter - even if they don’t ask for one.
The truth is, cover letters get a bad rep in the recruitment world because most people suck at writing good cover letters.
Ironically, a typical cover will be so formally boring, garnished in safe, overused corporate jargon, it sounds like anything but a letter.
A cover letter should be important to both the candidate and the hiring manger because it serves a couple of important purposes:
It’s an opportunity to showcase your personality though your writing. Assuming of course that you actually write from the heart. Write a cover letter like you would a wordy email to a colleague. That’s the language the hiring manager wants to “feel” for you.
You may not have a perfect resumé. Career gaps, missing skills, not enough experience. A cover letter is an opportunity to speak to those shortcomings, rather than let the hiring manger come to their own conclusions about you.
A good compliment to always get is “I see you’ve done your homework”. And a cover letter is a place to prove that you do your research. You can talk about something you’ve specifically read or discovered about the company in the letter, and believe me, homework goes a long way to help your candidacy.
Proving that you want the job is just as important as proving you’re a good fit, to the hiring manager. You can do this in your cover letter by stating how and why you are excited for the opportunity.
Companies can (and should) continue asking for cover letters for the foreseeable future. And hopefully you should get better and writing them.
The skills you learn writing good cover letters don’t expire after you get the job. You will continue to use those skills when you write emails on the job.