When potential clients call us about resumes, they ask if a cover letter is important to include as well. The answer is YES! Cover letters can convey a positive first impression and can tell a recruiter so much more than just the resume. Here are a few statistics to show how important cover letters can be in your job search:
86% of executives say cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. (Office Team)
Up to 38% of hiring managers say that including a cover letter makes them more likely to pay attention to the application. (Careerbuilder)
83% of the hiring decision-makers surveyed said a great cover letter could convince them to schedule an interview with an applicant, even if the applicant’s resume wasn’t good enough to stand on its own. (ResumeLab)
77% of recruiters said they would give preference to a candidate who sent a cover letter, even if they weren’t required to send it. (ResumeLab)
Almost half (45%) of recruiters say that not having a cover letter could get your job application rejected. (Careerbuilder)
Cover letters can have a huge impact on your job search so it's important to include a letter that engages the recruiter while also maintaining a professional and friendly tone.
How do you format a cover letter?
Be sure to have a clean, professional header to your cover letter. In fact, it should match the header of your resume. This header should include your name, location (city and state only), phone number, and email address. You can also highlight your LinkedIn profile or personal websites that showcase your work.
Below your header, list the date followed by the name of the hiring manager followed by the organization's details. If the hiring manager's name is not available, list the company and address. Now you are ready to write the content of your letter.
How do you write a cover letter?
First, it’s important to talk about why the company interests you. Why do you want to work for the organization you are applying for? Do you love their mission? Have you been referred by an employee? Highlight what exactly draws you to them.
Second, talk about your journey showcasing how you got to this point in your career. When was your passion triggered? What do you love about your industry/field/job? It’s okay to be personal in telling your story in this section as your resume will highlight your career history.
Finally, round off the cover letter with your skills sets and accomplishments that align with the job you are applying for. How do your expertise and knowledge fill their needs? What exactly do you bring to the table?
Sign off your cover letter with gratitude for their time and the opportunity to be considered.
Each cover letter should be targeted and tailored to each organization and role that you are applying for. Be sure to be professional and friendly in telling your story and you will be able to engage the recruiter in a much more approachable manner.
Stephanie Renk and Vera Savany-Hughes, co-owners of Idaho Next Steps Coaching, are Motivational Career Coaches, helping clients land the job they want with confidence. They are certified career coaches, employment interview professionals, and resume writers through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Careers Coach. They are dedicated to supporting their clients in taking their next steps so they can enhance their careers confidently.