Crafting a unique cover letter for each job you apply for is a challenging and time-consuming process. Many job seekers are beginning to wonder if this task is worth the effort, especially because some job recruiters admit to either discarding the letters or skimming through them very quickly. A few modern business websites suggest omitting cover letters completely and putting all the focus on your resume, but is this really the best strategy?
Every hiring manager follows his own unique process when it comes to recruiting applicants. Some require cover letters and won't accept your resume without one, while others make the decision to submit the letter optional. Because there is no guarantee a job recruiter will ever read a cover letter, some applicants simply don't bother creating one unless the submission is required. This is not a good practice. Failing to submit a cover letter causes you to miss out on the important opportunity to market yourself to employers.
Cover letters give you the chance to introduce yourself to hiring managers and give them a slight glimpse of your personality. If your letter is professionally written and has an uplifting, positive tone, the hiring manager is likely to associate you with these traits. Without a cover letter, you miss this opportunity. Never include sarcastic remarks or negative information about former employers in your letter, or it might be in the shredder within a matter of seconds. View your letter as an opportunity to highlight the positive personality traits you'll bring to the organization.
Without a cover letter, you also miss the opportunity to brag about your strengths, skills, and abilities. Let hiring managers know about the accounts you landed, revenue you generated, employees you trained and awards you received. This information makes you stand out among other applicants and marks you as a strong candidate for the position. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to reveal much more about yourself than you can in a resume, and also allows you to provide information that just wouldn't fit on a resume due to its condensed format.
A well-crafted cover letter also allows you to build rapport with the hiring manager. Briefly discuss your core values and how they align with the company's culture. Express your admiration for specific faculty members who have accomplished great things. Keep the letter short, but make sure you don't miss the opportunity to express your desire to work with people within the organization whom you hold in high regard.
Unless an employer forbids the submission of cover letters, you should always submit one. These letters introduce you to hiring managers, allow you to expound on your skills and experiences, and give you an opportunity to provide information that makes you stand out from other applicants. Make sure your cover letter is clear, concise and targeted to the company to increase your chance of landing an interview.
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