Why Do We Bother With Cover Letters?

Nancy Anderson
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Writing cover letters can be a tiring process during an extensive job search. All of the information the hiring manager needs to know is in your resume, right? Not exactly. Selling your skills and convincing a hiring manager that you are the perfect candidate takes more than a good resume. Here are just a few reasons why a cover letter is such an important tool for job seekers.

Your resume contains a lot of important information, but it doesn't tell hiring managers anything about your personality. Personality is an important consideration when determining if a candidate is the right fit for a particular organization. A good cover letter can show a hiring manager that you are friendly and outgoing, or the way you write can indicate that you are more of an introvert and prefer to work on individual projects.

If you learned about the job opening via a personal referral, your cover letter is the perfect place to mention the referral's name and job title. Mentioning the person who referred you doesn't guarantee you an interview, but it might help you move forward in the job process. This is especially important if you expect the hiring manager to receive a high volume of applications for the position that interests you.

Writing a customized cover letter shows hiring managers you are truly interested in the job. It doesn't take much effort to attach your resume to a blank email, but it takes time and energy to craft a compelling cover letter that makes someone want to interview you. If you take the time to write a great cover letter, the hiring manager might infer that you are the type of person who takes commitments seriously.

Another benefit of submitting a targeted cover letter is that it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the company or the industry in general. Hiring managers want to know that the people they hire are ready to hit the ground running, so to speak. If you demonstrate some basic knowledge of the company's products or policies in your cover letter, it is easier to convince the hiring manager to interview you. If you decide to include this type of information, research the company thoroughly. You don't want to damage your reputation by submitting a cover letter that contains errors or false assumptions.

Finally, some employers use cover letters to assess the writing skills of each applicant. This is really important if you are looking for a job that requires a lot of writing. If you submit a strong cover letter without any errors, you're likely to have a better shot at the job than someone who submits a rambling letter that contains several typos or grammar issues.

Writing a customized cover letter is a good way to make your job search more effective. Not only does it let employers know you are serious about getting the job; it also gives you the opportunity to emphasize some of the skills mentioned in the job ad. If you submit a cover letter, be sure it shows off your personality and demonstrates why you make a great candidate for the position.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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