If you are applying for a job and notice the cover letter attachment section is optional, what do you do?
Cover letters are challenging and time-consuming. Because of this, it’s no surprise that applicants choose to skip over the cover letter section when it is not explicitly required by an employer.
However, if you are on the fence about whether or not you should include one, the short answer is yes. Choosing to include a cover letter will always work in your favor, even if it’s not required. If you are still not fully convinced you to need to write one, here are a few reasons why you should.
Why are cover letters important?
Unfortunately, all that hard work you put into your cover letter might get overlooked by some initial recruiters. Don’t let this bum you out though. Recruiters might initially skip over your cover letter during the beginning, but once the applicant pool begins to dwindle down, you are going to want to have something that sets you apart from the others.
Once there are only a few resumes left to go over, recruiters will go back and read over the letters to learn more about you. Make sure yours is memorable. Cover letters are the perfect spot to really “wow” a recruiter and prove to them you really want the job. Not only are you showing off your writing skills, but you are essentially selling yourself to the employer in a narrative format.
A cover letter also gives you an opportunity to include details that your resume may not contain. For example, if you are planning to relocate you can mention that in your letter to let the recruiters know you will be in the area soon for a possible interview. If you have gaps of unemployment on your resume, a cover letter is also a perfect place to explain why.
If you are serious about landing the job, a well-written cover letter will put you miles ahead of the other applicants.
Tips for writing an effective cover letter
The thought of writing a new cover letter for every single position you apply to might seem daunting and time-consuming, but it will prove to be well worth it in the long run.
Tailor your cover letter
When writing a cover letter to individual positions, you will need to adjust your cover letter to fit the requested qualifications. Just like no two jobs are identical, your cover letters shouldn’t be either. This is where you show off your skills, so when applying for a specific job make sure the skills they are looking for are highlighted throughout your cover letter.
Keep the letter concise
Keep the cover letter short and to the point, not exceeding one page. Also, try to make sure that every statement you make conveys something significant about your qualifications.
Remember, recruiters will be looking at your resume, too. So, try to use your letter to point out details you don’t have on your resume. The last thing you need is a repeat of your resume.
Some examples of details to include in your cover letter are:
- Employment Gaps. Maybe you took extended maternity leave, or moved because of your spouse and haven’t secured a job, yet. Regardless of the reason, a letter is a perfect place to explain those gaps so the recruiters don’t have to speculate.
- Relocating. If you are planning to move to a new city or state, a cover letter is a perfect opportunity to briefly discuss why. Especially if your current job is located in a different state. Recruiters might be confused as to why you are applying if you do not mention your relocation plans.
Relocating is a tricky one for recruiters. First, they will be curious about why you are wanting to relocate. Secondly, if you are actually going to relocate if you get offered the job. Most importantly, they will be curious as to how fast you can relocate and start working.
- Grammar. This one may seem a little obvious, but proofreading your cover letter is a must. You don’t want to be ruled out instantly just because you spelled a word wrong or forgot a period. Reading your letter, then reading it again, will show your attention to detail and respect for the hiring process.
You will also want to make sure you include contact information for the recruiter. For example, your full name and email. This will ensure they have a direct way to contact you to discuss further steps.
And last but not least, make sure you double-check your resume and update your information. The last thing you need is to spend hours creating a perfect letter then forgetting to add your most recent skills and jobs to your resume.
Your letter will prove your capabilities and is a good place to link to your portfolio. So, the hiring manager has more examples as to why the company should hire you. Contact Premier Staffing to help you find your future position.