Do you want to stand out, communicate your value, and get the attention of the hiring manager? Then you need to take some extra time and write a cover letter.
A recent survey of 200 hiring professionals by ResumeLab found that 83 percent think cover letters are essential when making their hiring decisions.
Put yourself in the hiring manager or recruiter’s shoes.
In my 20+ years of recruiting I estimate that well over half of the candidates I made an extra effort to connect with was because they wrote a cover letter. Think about how the process goes. You post a job and 480 people apply. You run a few searches which produces another 100 plus profiles. Now you sift through all these resumes and profiles to determine who is most likely a fit. A first pass can get it down to 50 or so and then you dig further. But, a handful of people have written thoughtful cover letters and a quick read paints a picture of their objectives, why they are interested and why they will be successful. If a potential fit, they go straight to the top of the pile (even if their resume isn’t perfect but I like what I read).
If all you do is click – Apply Now – and your resume or LinkedIn profile does not show, in a 10 second glance, the titles, achievements and credentials required to be successful in the job, it will be put in the reject pile. A well written cover letter expands the time spent considering your profile and provides so much more valuable information for the hiring pro.
Cover letters are important and useful for the following purposes
- Explaining why the position and company is of interest
- Describing career objectives
- Matching experience and expertise to key job requirements
- Highlighting professional achievements
- Explaining the reasons for changing careers
- Explaining employment gaps
Some additional findings from the ResumeLab survey highlight how a cover letter sets you apart from the crowd, significantly increasing your ability to be considered for a next step.
- More than 7 in 10 recruiters expect a cover letter even if they mark them as “optional” in job ads.
- Even if optional, 77 percent of recruiters will give preference to candidates who did send a cover letter.
- Less than 40 percent of applicants attach a cover letter even when it’s mandatory.
- Over a third (36 percent) of hiring pros start the evaluation process by looking at the cover letter first.
If you find an opportunity that looks like a good fit for your career, then write a cover letter to help the hiring pro see that you match some of his/her key criteria and have the motivation to succeed. A cover letter will help you get out of the pile of resumes and LinkedIn profiles and into an interview.
For a guide on how to craft a compelling cover letter click HERE.
About the author:
With over 20 years in executive leadership and recruiting, Leanne Abraham mentors executives and emerging leaders to help them significantly improve their leadership results and career opportunities. As the President of Premierehire, Leanne also leads a growing team of skilled recruiters that work in partnership with companies to achieve higher quality hires with less effort and time.