Is writing cover letters a waste of time or a key to new opportunities? Some people argue that it can give employers reasons to hire you. Others say that a cover letter is something that recruiters and hiring managers don’t even pay attention to. Keep reading to find out if you should create one and how!
Your Unique Introduction
Being the topic of the debate, what is a cover letter in the first place? In simple terms, it is a formal document usually submitted along with your resume and job application.
Usually, resumes contain the same content. They inform employers of your basic information such as your name, contact number, skills, and experiences. Since formats are followed, they can be quite constricting making it difficult for candidates to show off their charm and personality.
This is the part where professional cover letters could be of use. Candidates like you would be able to create their own unique introductions and provide more in-depth information that could convince an employer to choose you.
Pros of Writing a Cover Letter
Aside from being a tool to set you apart from the rest of the candidates, writing cover letters also offers other positive outcomes such as the following:
1. Demonstrate Soft Skills
A good cover letter includes additional information that further qualifies you for the position you’re vying for. It serves as a chance for you to showcase vital soft skills you possess.
Since the medium is the written word, a cover letter can present your ability to communicate and articulate your thoughts clearly. This is an important skill regardless of the position, company, or industry you are aiming for.
Aside from effective communication, you can also use cover letters to present other soft skills you think should be a must-have for the role.
For example, you can narrate a situation that shows your problem-solving capabilities in a cover letter. Or you can explain how you previously fostered teamwork using your leadership abilities and critical thinking.
2. Highlight Relevant Experiences
How exactly can you prove you wield the soft skills you claim to have? You can do so by providing concrete examples and narratives in a cover letter for your potential employer to read about.
Cover letters aren’t strictly for adding information. It can also be used to strengthen the statements you’ve already made in your resume. It serves as a platform for you to highlight and explain the work experiences that are too complicated to be fully explained in just a resume.
Let’s use the manufacturing industry as an example. Imagine you’re a candidate who wrote down ‘Production Supervisor’ as part of your relevant work experience. Although it gives your hiring manager the idea that you’re capable of leading or you possess good attention to detail, sometimes the best employers can do is hope for the best that you are what you have written on paper.
Were you successful in supervising production? Did any casualties occur under your supervision? Or maybe you were always successful in implementing a new system under your watch. Maybe you have significantly improved the production of your previous company.
Through the use of a cover letter, you create a better picture for employers. You have the power to elaborate on all the important achievements and experiences you have.
3. Express Passion and Genuine Interest
Aside from experiences and anecdotes, a cover letter can help your job search by convincing employers of your passion and interest. It is a medium you can use to demonstrate enthusiasm for potentially joining the company. You can also explain your dedication to the profession or the role itself.
A typical resume follows a professional template. Although it can effectively help employers get to know you, it limits the presentation of any charm or passion you must show.
To remedy this, writing a strong cover letter can help get across your genuine interests. Since 74 percent of hiring professionals showed a preference for candidates who provided a cover letter even when it was not required ¹, showcasing your passion and dedication can improve your overall chances of getting hired.
Cons of Writing a Cover Letter
A cover letter has a lot of advantages. However, there are some ways it may be unnecessary. Read on below.
Writing a cover letter, especially when not done properly, can be considered redundant by hiring managers since they mostly contain information already found in resumes.
Listing down your skills and then repeating them in your cover letter can be seen as unnecessary and repetitive. This is especially true for candidates who simply reiterate their skills without adding any new information or insight for the reader.
For example, think about reading a cover letter that mentions all of the soft skills indicated in the resume. But instead of providing an example for each one, the candidate simply wrote them in a line separated by commas. This action doesn’t add any value to the cover letter so people argue that candidates can apply without it.
2. Wasted Efforts
According to an article published by Glassdoor in 2022, only ten percent of professionals say that a cover letter is necessary when applying for dream jobs.²
This means that around 90 percent may choose to overlook your cover letter to prioritize other application materials. Even if your cover letter is well-written, it may not serve its purpose if the hiring manager decides not to even read it.
Aside from this, they may not even be given the chance to see your cover letter due to their automated hiring process.
3. Failure to Present Technical Skills
Soft skills are definitely important for any employee, but some organizations put more value on the technical skills and expertise of their candidates.
Cover letters are great for showcasing the experiences of potential employees, but they fail to add any additional proof of the hard skills they can offer. This can be crucial for jobs that require a certain level of expertise to avoid any mishaps or complications.
For example, employers need to be sure the people they hire in the manufacturing industry are actually knowledgeable about the machines and programs they need to use. Instead of a cover letter, employers would prefer a practical demonstration since it could give them more information.
Anatomy of a Cover Letter
Judging both the pros and the cons, have you already decided which side to agree with in the cover letter debate? If you’re still reading, it is most likely that you have acknowledged the need for a cover letter.
If you have already decided to make your own cover letter for your next career change, then you may be wondering exactly how to make it. Although curating your own cover letter usually permits you to add your own flare and creativity for the best results, cover letter templates can still be useful to start the process.
Below is a cover letter template that includes the usual parts you can add to your own write-up.
- Header – This should include your basic information such as your name, contact number, and email address.
- Salutations – When writing a cover letter, you should know who you are writing to. Typically, the hiring manager who has contacted you should be in this part of the cover letter. If unsure, don’t be afraid to inquire about who you should be the addressee.
- Opening Paragraph – Briefly introduce yourself as well as your purpose for writing the cover letter. Include primary details such as the position you’re applying for and how you found out about the job opportunity. In this part, it is best to do research about the organization so you can present yourself as a solution they would be lucky to have.
- Body – This is where you can get creative in your cover letter. Elaborate on the important skills, qualifications, and experiences you’ve mentioned in your resume. Emphasize the value you can bring to their organization. You can also explain any gaps or parts that need further detail.
- Closing Paragraph – Summarize your interest in the position as well as your qualifications. In a straight-to-the-point statement, reiterate why they should pick you among everyone else. This is also where you should show gratitude for being considered for the position.
- Closing – Finish your cover letter in a respectful and professional manner. Use closing remarks such as ‘Sincerely’ before affixing your full name and signature right below it.
GRAB OPPORTUNITIES WITH DAVIS COMPANIES
Showcasing your skills and experience in a well-crafted cover letter can greatly enhance your chances of securing the perfect position. If you need assistance looking for jobs, DAVIS Companies can help. Being in the staffing industry since 1985, we can help you land jobs in the fields of manufacturing, engineering, technology, or accounting and finance.
Let us help you build your own meaningful professional relationships along the way. Contact us today to learn more!
1 Holmes, Tamara E. “Cover Letters Can Increase Chances of Getting the Job.” Yahoo Finance, 28 Feb. 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cover-letters-increase-chances-getting-180355715.html Accessed 19 July 2023.
2 Glassdoor Team. “Here’s what recruiters think about your cover letter.” Glassdoor, 13 Oct. 2022, https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/what-recruiters-think-about-your-cover-letter/ Accessed 19 July 2023.