Whether it’s on job sites, like CareerBuilder, or company pages that have a job board, you have had to fill out applications online. When you apply online, you’ll notice that attaching a resume is required, but attaching a cover letter is usually “optional.”
While this might be an optional aspect of the application, experts express that the cover letter is just as important as – if not more than – the resume.
Complements your Resume
Your resume might be impressive, but the cover letter can make or break your chances of landing the position. While a resume outlines your experience and qualifications, your cover letter gives you the opportunity to personalize your application. It allows you to differentiate yourself from the other applicants and is the cherry on top of your job application.
A well-written cover letter is more important than an impressive resume because it provides a glimpse into your work ethic and personality that a list of achievements cannot. The resume might list some very impressive accomplishments, but it means nothing if you can’t communicate your genuine passion or relevance to the position.
As a Sales Pitch
The cover letter allows you to market yourself for the positon. It’s not meant to summarize your resume. It illustrates the big picture of your qualifications and experience in relation to the job’s needs. It’s your opportunity to hammer out reasons for why you are the perfect person for the job.
As recruiters, we look for the right fit for the positions we fill. The cover letter gives us an opportunity to understand the candidate’s personality, what drew the candidate to the job opening, and whether or not they can communicate effectively.
May be Crucial to your Application
Because many online applications leave it as an option to upload a cover letter, instead of requiring it, many applicants will leave that section blank. With the multitude of applicants, hiring managers might dismiss applicants that didn’t include a cover letter because it shows a lack of passion toward the position.
The cover letter can even answer questions that your resume doesn’t. For example, if you have a gap in your employment history, they will look to the cover letter to see if you mention why. Here are tips for addressing employment gaps in your cover letter. The cover letter also stands as an example of your effective communication skills and if communication is very important to the job, then they will use the cover letter to base their decision to contact you for an interview.
Needless to say, it’s important to write a cover letter for every job application and make sure you don’t use a generic cover letter. Check out these tips for write the perfect cover letter.