More than 63% of recruiters value cover letters as they help them get to know the applicants better and learn about their skills and motives. Resumes have long been the go-to recruitment document but cover letters also play a critical role. Cover letter is the important first impression that can help you land the job of your dreams. They are the first point of contact with your recruiter that helps explain to them why you’re the best fit for the job.
In this article, we decode the importance of cover letters and why your cover letter is the key to landing a job.
10 reasons your Cover Letter is key to landing the job
A cover letter is a letter sent by a candidate to the recruiter along with the resume that introduces them, their interest in the position, and why they would be a good fit for the role. It’s the first point of contact between a candidate and a recruiter.
Usually, a recruiter will read the cover letter before they open the resume. And a good cover letter can quite literally increase your chances of getting hired, research suggests. The ideal length of a cover letter is anywhere from 300 to 500 words.
It gives you the perfect opportunity to cast a positive first impression on your recruiter and interest them in your candidacy. Showcase your strengths and focus on the important things to help form a bond with your recruiter.
1. Put a stunning first impression
First impressions matter. And cover letters help you put on a stunning first impression on your recruiter. You don’t have to follow any rules or format the way you would in a resume. You can conceivably do anything you want in a cover letter as long as it works.
Here are some excellent cover letter examples to help you get creative ideas. A cover letter helps you engage the recruiter right from the get-go. With a unique cover letter, you can grasp their attention and interest them in what you have to say.
If you can gauge what the recruiter is looking for in a candidate, you can present yourself that way in your cover letter to get their attention. For example, if the job post mentions punctuality as a winning quality in a candidate, you can cite examples of your punctuality in the letter.
2. Edge out competition
Cover letters present an excellent opportunity for you to edge out your competition with your uniqueness. Without cover letters, recruiters will be looking at similar-looking resumes to figure out the best fit for the role.
Cover letters help gauge the candidates on more than just similar skills and what they offer to the role in question. Impress them with your skills and how they can bring a difference with what you bring to the table.
Most cover letters will also be similar for a role. This is your opportunity to do something out of the norm and impress the recruiter with your uniqueness via your cover letter. Focus on how you are different from other candidates and why they should hire you.
3. Tells the recruiter what to focus on
A resume is a factual document giving every entry on it the same weight, leaving it up to the recruiter to put in the effort and praise the important details. With a cover letter, you get to tell your story your way.
You can highlight the important bits in your academic and career journey and indicate to the recruiter which bits of the resume to focus on. This way, a cover letter ends up being a very helpful document that saves the recruiter time.
They can straightaway go to the important bits in the resume and make note of the details they might be looking for. It also helps you take their attention off the bits you might not want them to see or take much notice of, such as odd jobs you did.
4. Recruiter gets to know you better
Recruiters and employers go to great lengths to elevate the candidatures they receive for a job application from similar-looking documents to distinguished pieces of information about the people behind them.
With a cover letter, you can simply do that for them. You can help the recruiter know you as more than a piece of resume and put value in it. You can tell things about yourself that are not on the resume but paint you as a suitable candidate for the role.
5. Highlight your strengths
One of the most prominent features of a cover letter is its ability to highlight a candidate’s strengths to the recruiter. This is similar to what we discussed above about telling your story the way you want to.
You can go about this in two ways. The first is to pick points from the resume and elaborate on them. Give the story behind an accomplishment or skill, helping them see how it will help you perform well in the particular role in question.
The second way to do this is by talking about strengths and important details that aren’t in the resume at all. This way, the cover letter becomes a supplementary piece of information over and above an impressive resume, strengthening your case further.
6. Strengthens the resume
A resume simply cannot stand on its own. You need a cover letter to flesh it out to the recruiter. As mentioned before, a resume is a factual document giving every entry on it the same weight. Without a cover letter, the recruiter has to put in the work to extract the needed details from it.
By prefacing your resume with your cover letter, you let the recruiter know what is in it and what to focus on. The cover letter empowers the resume by giving the recruiter information about what to expect and where to look.
7. Shows that you’re serious about the opportunity
Sending in an application with just a resume and no cover letter or a standard cover letter lets the recruiter know that you’re not serious about the opportunity. Whereas, sending in a creatively crafted cover letter shows your intent.
It tells the recruiter that you take the opportunity seriously and are putting in the effort to get the job. As mentioned before, you can pick up on what the recruiter wishes to see in a candidate and highlight those qualities in your cover letter.
It is sure to get their attention. They’ll see that you have thoroughly read the job post and are responding accordingly. It will set you apart from the generic cover letters that many other applicants might be sending in.
8. Beneficial where writing or conversation skills are required
There are different kinds of cover letters you’ll write based on the job requirement. For a job based around writing or communicating with associates or customers, your cover letter becomes the perfect opportunity to showcase your writing or conversation skills.
For example, if the job you’re applying for is of a copywriter, you can craft your cover letter in unique ways to showcase your writing skills. Similarly, if the job requires conversation skills, the way you greet and open the letter would let the recruiter know of your skills.
The goal here is to showcase the required skills for a job right from the get-go. The recruiter should know that you are a favorable fit for a job before they even get to the resume. Then, they would be more excited to read your resume as they’re already sure of your skills.
9. Build a relationship with your employers
A well-written cover letter gives you the opportunity to connect with the recruiter right away and form a bond or relationship with them. You can greet them, ask them questions, and hold casual conversations through a cover letter.
If you send a ‘by-the-numbers’ cover letter or no cover letter, only a resume, that opportunity is lost. That said, applicants should try to keep the letter simple and professional and not force a connection with the recruiter as it can feel off-putting to them.
10. Set a follow-up
Lastly, with a well-crafted cover letter, you get the opportunity to set up a follow-up with the recruiter. You can directly ask the recruiter to get back to you with a response, even if you’re not selected for a job.
Now, it’s entirely up to the recruiter to get back to you if you’re selected or even if you’re not shortlisted. But you at least get to set up a follow-up on your part. It gives them the opening to respond back to you.
Cover letters attract and engage recruiters from the get-go and help you form the
Cover letters have long been seen as a complementary document to resumes. However, they hold tremendous value in increasing your chances of getting a job.
They help you cast a positive first impression on a recruiter and help you stand out from the crowd. You can exhibit your strengths and skills to the recruiter there as well as let them know what to focus on in the resume.