Cover Letters — Are They Really That Important?
You are looking for a job and have your resume all ready to hand to potential employers at your first interview, but what are you missing? The answer is a really great cover letter.
Many job applicants make the mistake of simply carrying a resume with them to job interviews and never even think about a cover letter thinking that it isn’t really that important because all of the pertinent information is in the resume. However, this is a mistake because cover letters are very important and should be included with your resume. The following information will teach you why your cover letter is just as important as your resume and some important information that should be included in a proper cover letter as well.
What Happens to Resumes Lacking Cover Letters?
To the surprise of many job applicants the majority of resumes that are submitted without a properly formatted cover letter, not to mention no cover letter at all, are simply thrown in to the trashcan and never reviewed at all. That means all your hard work at updating your resume and all of your amazing qualifications are wasted on the job you are applying for because you don’t even get evaluated! All of your hard work for nothing simply because you did not have a cover letter. Take this as a hint and don’t even waste your time applying for a position without a cover letter as most employers won’t look at your resume and application or if they do won’t really take it seriously because they think you don’t because there is no cover letter attached.
What is More Important?
At this point you may be wondering what is more important, the cover letter, or the resume? And the answer is they are both equally important. You need a great cover letter to introduce yourself, your resume, and why you are applying for the position. When an employer sees a great cover letter then your resume will surely be read with the time and respect it deserves. Taking little time to properly format your cover letter or not including one at all sends the signal that you don’t take finding a job very seriously and your application/resume will end up in the trash. Of course, this might not be the case with all employers, but it certainly is the case with the great majority so don’t take any chances when applying for jobs and make sure you submit your resume with a properly formatted cover letter.
What if a Cover Letter is Not Requested?
If you have never written a cover letter then you may still be resisting the idea and are thinking that if the employment description does not request a cover letter then there is no need to waste your time to write one. Wrong. You should always include a cover letter whether it is asked for or not. Many times a resume won’t be implicitly requested either, but you know that you should apply with one. So, simply keep in mind that any time you apply for a job with a resume, which should be every time; you also attach a professionally written cover letter. This will absolutely never hurt your chances at getting the job and will almost always improve them. So, make sure you submit a cover letter regardless of whether it is requested or not.
Cover Letter Customization, Is it Necessary?
Now that you have been convinced to submit a cover letter with every résumé you have probably figured out how you can make the most of your time and simply write one good and generic cover letter to attach to all resumes. This is yet another mistake you want to avoid. You are trying to make a good impression when you apply for a job, especially if your chances at an interview are based on your resume/cover letter combo. So, do not take the easy way out and simply submit a generic cover letter. Instead, take about five minutes and open up the cover letter in the word processing program on your computer and customize it. This will take very little time, but it will make a huge impact on the employer to see that you are serious and committed to getting the job. Be sure to include the job title you are applying for, the company’s name, as well as the contact person. This little bit of effort on your part makes all of the pertinent information readily available to the employer and when you save the employer time you just might get an interview.
What About Including Salary Requirements?
When reading employment ads you will frequently see that employers want you to submit a resume and cover letter with your salary requirements. You might think this is great because you get to state what you want to earn, and it is, but keep in mind you want to be in the running for the position and still maintain some negotiating powers later on as well. So, what should you do? The answer is to be broad and vague. Some employers want to see numbers, others want to establish communication for negotiations, and it is your responsibility to take the first steps. So, if it is necessary to state a specific dollar amount you want to earn be as broad as possible. You can even say you are willing to work for $40,000 to $60,000 depending on the associated job duties. This will give you some wiggle room and will more than likely keep you in the running for the job. If no specific numbers are requested simply state you would be more than happy to discuss salary requirements if the employer is interested in hiring you. Then you have the opportunity to start off negotiations right where you want and take it from there!
Now that you have read the many reasons why you should include a cover letter with your resume you have probably decided that it does make sense and is a worthwhile effort that just might make the difference in your employed versus unemployed status. But, there is still a problem and that is you don’t know how to format a proper cover letter. Fortunately, that is not a big problem because there are lots of guides on the Internet you can check out and will give you examples to go by. Good luck with the job search!