Are Cover Letters Old-Fashioned?

by Wheatman, Debra Friday, April 20, 2012
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Although cover letters are a long-standing part of the job search, they are not outmoded. Cover letters or cover emails are more relevant today than ever. Job seekers are facing steep competition in today’s job market. A misstep will cost you a job. Some ask, “Why is the letter so important when much of the same information is in the résumé?” There are a few reasons why you can’t afford to skip the cover letter.

Your cover letter serves as a writing sample. This demonstrates your ability to craft sentences and cohesive paragraphs. It also gives the hiring manager an indication of how you communicate. Can you express a thought in a concise, professional, and logical manner? Recruiters and hiring managers may be sifting through hundreds of candidates. Your documents will be quickly discarded if the cover letter is poorly written or if it contains typographical errors.

The lack of a cover letter may be regarded as an oversight or as lack of knowledge. Cover letters are standard. The delivery mechanism has evolved to email messages or letters copied and pasted into online text boxes. Even though you are transmitting the cover letter message in the body of an email message, spelling and grammar are critical.

Sell yourself through a cover letter. An impactful cover letter will open doors for you. Like any sales scenario, it is about filling a need. In most situations, it is easy to identify a hiring company’s need. We just need to read the job posting! The cover letter should focus on how can you fill the employer’s need. Succinctly show your value by sharing your top skills and achievements that match the employer’s need.

If you are thinking about skipping the cover letter, consider what is at stake. You are sacrificing the chance to showcase your writing skills and missing the chance to sell yourself.