Do you really need cover letters?
The answer is, “Yes!”
Recruiters and hiring managers read cover letters and cover e-mails for three main reasons:
- To find out information that may not be in your resume or immediately obvious
- To get a fast overview of your most relevant experience
- To find out why you are interested in their company or their opening
The cover letter—or cover e-mail—should not be long: two or three paragraphs with bullets highlighting your most relevant achievements, experience, and skills. You might also let the recruiter or hiring company know what soft skills you bring to the table: teamwork, leadership, a get-it-done attitude, efficiency, organization, a concern for the bottom line. You know your own strengths.
The cover letter is the place where, if necessary, you explain a change in careers or locations, notify potential employers that your search is confidential, respond to a request by the company for references or salary ranges, or share other important information that is not appropriate for the resume.
I believe strongly in cover letters because they are far more personal than the strictly formatted bullet points of a resume. When I talk with you about your career goals and your experience, I ask what any recruiter or hiring manager would ask—and then I put the answers in your cover letter.
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