When you are busy searching for jobs, it’s only natural to look for shortcuts in the process. One of the most tempting is the non-existent or heavily templated cover letter. Perhaps you’ve even questioned if it is really necessary through the application process, after all, your resume says it all anyway right?
Well not quite. While it is true that in today’s fast paced world, many professional recruiters and some automated screening software focuses on the candidate’s resume, more and more research is suggesting that employers are valuing cover letters over resumes.
Why? Concise, purposeful and targeted, your cover letter quickly summarises your skills and proves your ability to do the job and follow instructions. It’s also a lot easier to read than pages and pages of hundreds of resumes – they like shortcuts too.
Still not convinced? Here are four advantages a cover letter will give you through the job application process.
It highlights relevant experience.
Let’s face it, over the course of your career you will accumulate a lot of skills and experience. While all may be important to you, all won’t be relevant to your employer and the job criteria.
Resumes are useful for giving an overview of your career, but a cover letter can tell a story about specific, relevant experience and prove that you meet all (or most) of the job requirements.
It proves the essential skills in your resume.
A cover letter can prove those essential skills that make it onto everyone’s resume – exceptional communication skills, excellent writing skills, the ability to show initiative and listen to instructions. So make sure you take the opportunity to showcase your talents effectively!
It gives you and the interviewer talking points.
A well-written cover letter with solid examples of your experience and expertise can give you a head start in your interview. By already establishing you meet the criteria in your cover letter, interview questions can be shaped more around values, cultural fit, applying your knowledge and experience to specific scenarios and your point of difference.
It tells an employer why you are a strong candidate.
While the primary purpose of your cover letter and resume is to secure an interview, in many cases it will already establish whether you are a leading candidate or not.
A well-written cover letter distinguishes your application. It gives you the opportunity to tell an employer why hiring you, over numerous other candidates, is the right decision. Your cover letter is also a chance to show off your personality, which is becoming increasingly important.