Truthfully, I am sick of hearing about it. I talk to recruiters all of the time and a large majority of them say, “I never read cover letters.”
I have heard, “I just don’t have time”. Maybe I am old fashioned, but let me say this, I have found some pretty darn good candidates while reading through cover letters. Recently I read a cover letter for an out of state copywriter. No, we won’t relocate anyone for the role. He lives in Minnesota and the position is in Washington D.C. I can tell you he is one of the top candidates for the role and without a cover letter, I would have passed on him in seconds.
I recently wrote a blog post called How to Impress A Recruiter. I talked about how a candidate blogged, tweeted, and reached out to me. He really separated himself from the pack. In today’s times, separating yourself is what it is all about. You need to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. If you don’t know this, let me tell you the cold hard facts about job openings. There are more candidates than roles available.
I have also heard from the candidate, “Why should I waste my time writing a cover letter?” I have heard “It won’t get read and it takes time.” You may be right about it not getting read, but you are incorrect about wasting your time. Not every recruiter is like me. Not every client is like me. Some cover letters don’t get read. I wish I had a crystal ball for you and could tell you that your letter would get read and how you would get hired, but truthfully the way one person gets hired could be completely different than the way another one gets hired. You need to try every angle. The cover letter is just another angle.
Here are 5 reasons you should continue writing cover letters. Take my advice or don’t, but if you are looking to SEPARATE yourself, then you may want to take these points to heart.
- Writing a Cover Letter Prepares You for the Interview. The more prepared you are and the more you can articulate your strengths and weaknesses will show much more than a resume could ever do.
- You are Forced to Do Research on The Company. The more knowledgeable you are about the company and what it is doing in the market place will give you a leg up on any competition. You would be amazed how most candidates don’t research on the companies!
- You Can Show Your Creativity and Personality. Being witty and funny goes a long way. With culture fit being so important these days, recruiters want to know if you not only have the skills, but also have the intangibles that we are looking for in an individual.
- You Can Highlight How Your Skills Align With the Job You are Applying. If you did a lot of project management in a job and your title wasn’t project manager, tell in the cover letter how it relates to the role you are applying.
- You Can Discuss Relocation. If you are able and willing to move, please talk about it in the cover letter. You may not always get relocation assistance, but at least you have a JOB THAT YOU WANT.
If you aren’t going to do a cover letter what are you going to do to differentiate yourself? Everyone may not read your cover letters, but I’m telling you I read cover letters, so not everybody has stopped. I am tasked with finding diamonds in the rough every day. Show me something no one else has showed me! I’d like to show the other recruiters wrong.