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After spending hours tweaking and updating your resume, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is writing a cover letter. It’s 2019, does anyone even read cover letters anymore?
With the dawn of online applications and recruitment via social media channels, the appeal of the lengthy cover letter has waned. In fact, a large percentage of recruiters admit to only giving them a cursory glance.
But, does that mean you should skip it altogether?
Experts say ‘no.’
Confused? Here’s the bottom line. The landscape of the cover letter has changed, but that doesn’t mean you should stop writing them.
The days of the hard copy cover letter are pretty much over. Applying for jobs through social media applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, Indeed and others is the new norm. For many jobs, you can apply with your resume and cover letter straight from your smartphone. While this is the epitome of convenience, it can also make you lazy and prone to errors. In fact, some may choose to skip the cover letter portion altogether if it isn’t required. But, that’s not necessarily the best move. Many career experts agree that sending a cover letter is almost always the best decision. A well-written cover letter distinguishes your application and makes you stand out.
Unlike applying directly on a job site where you can upload your cover letter in a standard Word document or something similar, most job search apps simply ask you to input your cover letter information in a white text box – and there’s typically a character limit.
While the format for your cover letter information may have changed, don’t let this throw you. You should still take the time to include a proper greeting, like “Dear Mrs. Jones” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” Next, you should include why you’re applying for your job, your qualifications, and a close – which includes thanking them and offering your contact information. While it’s important to be concise, make sure the information you provide in your cover letter really makes you shine. Remember, this information could be someone’s very first impression of you.
Examples of what not to write in the cover letter section include one sentence greetings like “Looking forward to hearing from you” or the ever stale and boring “Here is my application for consideration.”
While it’s tempting to take a shortcut and not treat the white text box as you would a normal cover letter, try to resist – the success of your application depends on it!
Here are some tips for creating a top-notch cover letter in 2019.
Review cover letter samples. Before you start, look at some cover letter examples to get ideas for your own letters. While you don’t want to copy samples, reading them helps reveal what kind of tone is appropriate. Plus, you might discover a better way to emphasize your experience.
Make sure your cover letter is a good one. While a well-written cover letter may increase your chances of getting an interview, the opposite is also true. A poorly written cover letter will likely cause an employer to reject your application. Therefore, only send one if you have the time to write a clear, concise, and professional letter that makes a strong sales pitch for getting an interview
Highlight your qualifications and explain any gaps in employment. Your cover letter shouldn’t mimic your resume. Instead, it should provide specific evidence of what you could bring to the company. For example, if you want to highlight your experience and skill tutoring children, provide an example of a time you successfully tutored a student. You can include a particular teaching moment when you were particularly successful. You should also use your cover letter to explain any gaps in employment or the reasons for a career switch.
Familiarize yourself with cover lettering formatting guidelines and make sure that your materials meet these standards. Remember: you want your experience to stand out, not your formatting or style choices. Keep it simple and let your skills shine through.
Proofread and test before you submit. Finally, be sure to thoroughly edit your cover letter. Typos and grammatical errors will demonstrate a sloppy work ethic to the employer. Review proofreading tips to remind yourself of what to watch out for. A few examples of common cover letter typos and mistakes: misspelled names of companies or interviewers, incorrect addresses, and inconsistent verb tenses and/or punctuation.
If you’re still unsure, experts agree that the only time you shouldn’t submit a cover letter is when the job posting explicitly states you cannot submit one. While a cover letter may seem like an extra hoop to jump through, it could make or break a job application. Happy writing!