With some media outlets reporting that cover letters are dead, writing one may seem like a waste of time. An estimated 47 percent of applicants did not include one with a recent application, and only 26 percent of recruiters thought that they were important.
With that said, there is still an importance to making a cover letter in 2017. They may be less relevant today, but applicants should still have one ready. Executive positions and higher-paying jobs tend to require one. Even some lower-earning jobs require a full resume and cover letter. To apply for every potential position, applicants need to be ready.
The goal of cover letters is to introduce the applicant and capture the hiring manager’s attention. While some hiring managers never bother to read the entire application, some will read your cover letter. There is no way to know your hiring managers’ preference. Just in case, you should prepare a cover letter that is impactful, concise and showcases your experiences.
When in Doubt, Send It in
Career experts generally agree that sending in cover letters is the best decision. They allow you to create a narrative about why the employer should hire you instead of someone else. If it is well-written, it distinguishes you from other applicants. It is also the best place to address any concerns that the employer may have about your application. In your cover letter, you can explain why you have an employment gap or your willingness to relocate.
Some applications do not specifically require you to send a cover letter. When this happens, send one in anyway. Even if they never read it, it shows that you are a highly motivated candidate for the job. The only time that you can skip this section of your application is when you apply online. If the application does not include a spot for uploading your letter, then you do not need one. You also do not need one if the employer specifically details what they want from an application and never mentions a cover letter.
Consider Social Media
One of the reasons that cover letters are less important today is because of social media. Many employers are turning to sites like LinkedIn or Facebook to get an idea about who you are. A professional online presence can boost your brand and make a positive impression. This does not mean that sites like LinkedIn will replace a standard resume. Instead, it is an additional technique that employers are using to investigate each applicant.
Sending in the Perfect Application
Ultimately, your cover letter is still an important part of your application. It can help you in getting an interview by setting you apart from the crowd. This document is a part of your marketing package that helps define your brand. It is another tool in your arsenal for conveying your experience and qualities as an applicant. If you skip your cover letter, you could be missing out on potential interviews and job opportunities. Some hiring managers do require it and even if they don’t, take that extra step. Making the time to submit a cover letter with your resume is generally a good decision. It gives you a chance to show why you are a good fit for the job and may give you that competitive edge.