Cover Letters: The Secret Behind Each Cover Letter That Will Help You Land A Job
Rene Cheng
Jun 29, 2021
Cover Letters
Do cover letters sound a lot like 1985? Nowadays, many companies don't require applicants to attach a cover letter because it is time-consuming to have recruiters read every single cover letter. A well-written cover letter comes with a lot of effort and time filled with reviews and patience, and ultimately, they could take a lot of time and portion in the job searching process. Then, It comes to the main question and even a mystery I would say, "Should you send a cover letter even if the company isn't asking for one?" This article will dive into the details of the necessity of a cover letter even when the employer marked it as "optional." 
To begin, let's talk about the value of a cover letter: 
What Is The Value Of A Cover Letter?
Daniel Foley, the SEO Manager at Halcyon School, suggests that the value of a cover letter is to connect the dots between your resume and the job description through writing. A well-written cover letter helps provide more context in an applicant's background and may help boost the applicant's chances in getting an interview even if their resume is not up to grade. In a study in which Foley polled external recruiters, in-house HR Team members, and team hiring managers, 83% of these decision-makers prefer a cover letter because it allows them to demonstrate their ability for the organization and the position. 
Is It Necessary To Attach A Cover Letter To Your Job Application?
The short answer is no, but should you? Yes. 

J. Grant McCreary, the Founding Partner at Injury Compensation Law PC, says that throughout his hiring process, finding the right candidate, cover letters are always optional due to the enormous talent pool. However, when cover letters become optional, the value of cover letters changes as applicants will simply do less work and not attach one. In his experience in hiring a legal assistant and 60+ applicants, about 3 of them have attached a cover letter. While two of the three cover letters seem generic, only one was tailored to his firm and the specific job. 

This shows the applicant took the time to read the job description, address the needs for the position through a cover letter, and put in the extra work to try to get the job. The applicant showed their eagerness and his initiative to put in the extra work, making him or her unique compared to the 60+ applicants. 

Want to stand out in front of everyone else? Maybe it is your time to craft a cover letter. 

Related Article: Post-Pandemic: Hiring Trends & What Employers Are Looking For In A Potential Employee

How Does Submitting A Cover Letter Help With Your Chances?
A strong cover letter may help compensate for the deficiencies in your resume. For example, you address the gap on your resume or the change of career path through story-telling in your well-written cover letter. 

Although many employers don’t read these cover letters, adding them will lead to a clear advantage & the same has been shown from studies too, as 56% of recruiters want cover letters to be attached with a resume, says Miranda Yan, the Founder of VinPit. What does this mean? It means it could be a chance to market yourself. Many recruiters and hiring managers want to know more about an applicant other than their professional experiences and background. Details like personality, hobbies, and more, could be a great way for personal branding and market yourself as a potential employee to your targeted company, says Dealers League
Pro Tip: If you are applying for a job related to writing, blogging, or creating content, a cover letter is a chance to help prove your writing skills! 
May Flanagan, the Founder of Global Green Family, also adds, a simple resume does not tell the recruiters or hiring managers a lot about the applicant. However, a personalized cover letter speaks more volume about a person's skills and dedication. Also, when cover letters become optional, it would be an opportunity to show hiring managers how badly an applicant wants the job. 
What Does A Well-written Cover Letter Say About You?
The CEO of Signaturely, William Cannon, suggests that if a cover letter is made professionally, it will demonstrate these things to an employer:
It helps stand a candidate apart from the generic ones
It shows a candidates uniqueness to the job
It reflects the enthusiasm candidate will bring into the workplace
It is the first and foremost view into the candidate's personality
It demonstrates the immediate value of the candidate for the job

As a job seeker, your main goal of a cover letter is to demonstrate how you can be an excellent asset to the organization. With that in mind, job seekers should leverage cover letters to showcase authenticity and professionalism. 

The first impression matters. A LOT. For example, if you are out at a bar, meeting new people, you would analyze the conversation through their gesture or tone to justify if you "vibe" with them. Similar to a job application through a cover letter, this is the first chance you get to connect with your potential employer. To stand out in a vast talent pool, having a clear and compelling cover letter is essential even if it is not required. 

So, what are the steps you can take to craft a well-written cover letter that is appealing to potential employers?
Keith Wolf, the Managing Director of Murray Resources, suggested the following tips:
Research the company and their hiring needs to more easily align your background and abilities with their mission, culture, and job opening.

Write a significant lead. This is the opening sentence and should engage the hiring manager from the start, so they want to keep reading.

While applicants should always be professional, it's alright to go with a warm and friendly tone in your cover letter. You want to come off as a human, not a robot, to show your authenticity and personality.

Avoid clichés and empty statements, like you're a "hard worker" or "team player." Instead, get specific and offer details and stories that show you're a hard worker, rather than saying it.

Ultimate goal? Make it memorable and unique, and YOU. 

Pro Tip from Expert: "Imagine your cover letter as your movie trailer, your goal should be to deliver a punchy message about your background, skills, and confidence for a hiring manager to eagerly want to watch the entire film, in this case, get to know you as a potential employee" - Rafe Gomez, The Rehirement Coach.

Could Cover Letters Be A Reason To Get Rejected? 
Sadly, yes, and here's why. 

Any cover letter should be about the applicant's personality, experiences, and eagerness to work at a particular company. If a cover letter is filled with mistakes, it is sadly justified to reject a candidate, Alexander Lowry, the Executive Director at Gordon College, said. A cover letter is supposed to represent an applicant, so if mistakes are made, then the hiring manager will automatically assume the applicant cannot produce good work. 

So, if you want the job, you SHOULD submit a cover letter and have it peer-reviewed with others to avoid any careless mistakes. As a job seeker, you might want to apply to as many jobs as you can; however, it might become a turn-off to employers if you don't want to put in the work in crafting a cover letter. Don’t let your job application go to waste without attaching a cover letter. 

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