This is a question everyone asks. Do you really have to write a cover letter? Why bother? The answer is, spoiler alert, YES.
Do you have to write a cover letter.
The obvious answer is you should only write a cover letter for positions you would actually accept. If you aren’t serious about a job, you might not want to invest the time to write a cover letter for your application. By the same logic, if you wouldn’t accept the job anyways, you probably shouldn’t be applying for it. The plain answer is, if you want to stand out, write a cover letter. It isn’t fun or glamorous, but it is an often ignored tool in your arsenal.
What should go in a cover letter?
If you are applying to many jobs and are trying to send each a “unique” cover letter, you may want to make your letter a little formulaic. When writing a cover letter,start by mentioning the company and the job you are applying for, then write a short paragraph about why you are interested in that company, a paragraph or two about what makes you a good fit, and a conclusion asking for follow up. Let’s dig into these sections individually.
In your introduction, you should tell the reader who you are, what position and what company you are applying for. You could also include a sentence that says you are impressed with the company and believe you are a good fit with the position.
A little about the company:
The next paragraph should highlight something you like about the company. This will require a little research, but is well worth the effort. Showing you care about more than the position puts you way ahead of the crowd.
A little about you:
Some experiences may need some explaining to make their relevance known. Sometimes, you just want to put extra emphasis on an important project you worked on. Take a few sentences to point those out and highlight what makes you the best choice for the job.
Request follow up:
The final section should be a summary. Restate that you are interested in the company and the position. Review the high level of what makes you a good fit. Finally, ask for follow up either by email or phone and mention that you look forward to hearing from them.
A cover letter is your secret weapon in the job hunt. If you write it well, employers will definitely take notice and you will see a much better response to your applications. Have you recently started sending cover letters, or do you never send them? Let me know why!