Do Cover Letters Count?

There’s no denying that the world has changed since the days of printing out and snail mailing cover letters and resumes. So in the age of texting, email, and social media, where computer software scans your resume before the hiring manager does, do you even need to worry about writing cover letters anymore?

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The answer is a definite yes.

Whether or not the jobs you’re applying for specifically require cover letters, you still need to send one with every resume. A good cover letter is more than a placeholder for your resume. It’s your opportunity to personalize your job application package and supply greater insight that will convince a hiring manager to say yes.

How cover letters help your job search

It’s not easy writing a great cover letter, and for job candidates in today’s fast-paced digital world, it can be tempting to skip putting all that work into something that may or may not be read. However, it’s impossible to know which recruiters or hiring managers read cover letters and care about them—and writing a great one will also help you focus your job search.

Here’s how cover letters benefit today’s job seeker:

  • They let you tailor your submission package. A lot of modern career advice suggests that you customize every single resume you send out to the specific job position you’re applying for. However, this isn’t always realistic. Customizing a cover letter with a specific person’s name and a few details about the company is much easier than changing your resume every time you send it out.
  • They allow you to explain what you can’t on a resume. Have an employment gap, an unusual career choice, or another unique aspect of your experience that just won’t fit on a resume? Your cover letter is the perfect place to explain where you’re coming from, so employers don’t get suspicious of your resume and skip you as an interview choice.
  • They help you hone in on what matters. The act of writing a cover letter forces you to decide what aspects of your education, skills, and experiences are most important and will let you stand out from other candidates. Cover letters aren’t career summaries—they’re selective excerpts where you can highlight everything that makes you a great candidate right up front.

Tips for writing a great cover letter

The best cover letters are short, but not lazy. Hiring managers and recruiters can tell if you’ve just dashed off a few paragraphs for the sake of having something to send with your resume. Writing a concise cover letter that enhances your application packet, rather than rehashing your resume, takes effort—and it shows you’re interested enough in the job to make your submission materials the best they can be.

With cover letters, always include the right person’s name. If the job listing doesn’t mention who to address your submission to, then do some research to find out the name of the hiring manager or human resources director at the company and address it to them.

Finally, use the right format to send your cover letter. The majority of job applications are sent electronically, and the generally accepted format is to make your cover letter the body of the email, and send your resume as an attachment. Don’t write a short, vague email and include your cover letter as a second attachment.

Cover letters still count for job seekers, so take the time to do it right—and your chances of landing a great job will improve tremendously. To learn more about how we can help you prepare your next resume and cover letter, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at info@psychpros.com.

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