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For job seekers, writing cover letters is often a major problem. They take a long time to write, and you may feel like your efforts have been wasted if you don’t even make it to the first round of interview.
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If you’re currently looking for a job, you might be wondering if you really need to write cover letters or if they’re just a waste of time. To find out, GOBankingRates asked recruiters whether or not they thought cover letters were necessary.
Magnani believes cover letters aren’t necessary if you’re corresponding directly with a recruiter.
“When responding to a recruiter through a job board, a cover letter is usually not necessary and can even be harmful if not done correctly,” he said. “The purpose of the cover letter is basically a summary of why you are suitable for the position and why you are interested in the specific role. Many candidates use a “standard” cover letter for each job they apply for, and when not tailored to the specific job, it may demonstrate a lack of diligence and harm your application.If you are submitting a CV directly by email to a recruiter, it is more effective to use the email text as a cover letter to describe your interest and suitability for the position, instead of including a cover letter.
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Houston views cover letters as a way to differentiate your application from other candidates.
“When you only have one chance to make a first impression, cover letters are very important,” she said. “A cover letter positions a candidate to showcase their personality, highlight relevant value, and overcome any potential challenges. Cover letters may or may not be read, but it’s always best to send one. L Sending a cover letter can be an extra boost to help a candidate rise above other candidates.”
Zach Howard, Founder of SKLD
As the founder of a recruiting firm, Howard knows firsthand what recruiters want — and he thinks cover letters are important.
“I recently served on a recruiting panel for high-tech companies,” he said. “One noted that recruiters only spend an average of seven seconds reviewing a resume. While that may seem to make cover letters less important, I argue that it increases the value of a cover letter. If a recruiter only spends seven seconds on your resume, writing a really solid cover letter gives you one more chance to make a good impression on the recruiter before they move on to the next candidate.
Claire Sofield, owner and managing director of Four Recruitment
Sofield considers cover letters optional.
“Cover letters tend to be optional now and may be deemed unnecessary in some situations,” she said. “If you use a recruitment agency and you have a complete resume, you can probably do without a cover letter. The profile at the top of your CV should be used to convey essential information, such as your main achievements and why you are suitable for the position. »
Anastasia Khlopova, IT recruiter at Jooble
Although Khlopova also considers cover letters optional, she thinks there are benefits to writing one.
“First of all, this is a great opportunity to describe your experience and accomplishments, and explain the value you can bring to the company,” she said. “Plus, you can show your interest in the company and explain why you consciously chose it. The cover letter greatly increases the chances of getting a response to your CV, because it [demonstrates] your motivations. »
Farber said many clients of his executive search firm no longer require cover letters. He believes they can be beneficial in certain scenarios, but are useless for most job applicants.
“Thanks to technology, recruiters and hiring authorities can use a search engine and social media to gather additional information that a CV may not display,” he said. “If there are two candidates with similar qualifications and one of them takes the time to write a thoughtful and personalized cover letter, I could see that it would benefit that person. However, the scenario is rare. Recruitment companies can get a feel for the candidate through a phone call, video call, or in-person interview to determine the best candidate for their team. Verbally expressing the same message in a cover letter with conviction can leave a stronger impression during the hiring process.
In general, Mangrum doesn’t think cover letters are necessary.
“Cover letters are not required unless otherwise specified in the job posting,” she said. “The majority of employers and recruiters I know, including myself, hardly consider them as determining factors in the hiring process. A candidate’s qualifications, skills and work experience are the most important factors when hiring – nothing that isn’t part of a standard CV, hence the widespread irrelevance of cover letters .
However, there are some exceptions.
“In some cases, such as entry-level positions where most new grads’ resumes look quite alike, a cover letter can give you an edge,” Mangrum said. “Still, there is no guarantee if it will make a difference. As a recruiter, I don’t read cover letters I’ve never requested unless I find myself in a rare situation where I’ve shortlisted two equally qualified candidates for a position and I may need [something] to break the tie, such as a strong cover letter. If for some tricky staffing positions I have requested a cover letter in the job posting, I go through them due to the large number of applications we usually receive. »
“Another instance where a cover letter might be deemed necessary is when you’re changing industries or applying for a position not directly related to your previous one,” she continued. “Explaining your career path and highlighting your relevance to the position you’re applying for, like any transferable skill, is a good idea.”
Joe Coletta, Founder and CEO of 180 Engineering
Colletta, a recruiter with 20 years of experience, thinks cover letters are necessary.
“Cover letters are always an important tool in your application arsenal,” he said. “While the CV highlights your qualifications, the cover letter gives you a good ground to tell your story and in doing so, connect with the recruiter/hiring manager. In your CV, you will list your responsibilities and your accomplishments, but in your cover letter, you can go further to tell your story about a project you were passionate about, the results, and how the skills you developed can help add value to your next job.
This can be especially helpful in today’s job market, he said. “As a result of the pandemic, a cover letter can help you explain job gaps, your values and priorities, and what makes you an outstanding professional who will meet the needs of your (future) employer.
Gabriella Bailey, Senior Talent Partner at Move
Bailey calls cover letters “somewhat outdated.”
“I find jumping on a call and hearing firsthand about people’s skills, experiences, and motivations is much more inclusive and paints a better picture of a candidate’s skills and ability to fit into a team/ business,” she said.
Jim Sullivan, CEO and Founder of JCSI
The recruitment agency’s CEO said that the cover letters are necessary.
“A cover letter is always an important part of your resume because it can set you apart from other potential candidates, and it helps recruiters take a look at you,” Sullivan said. “It makes it easier to know if they want to keep reading your CV. A cover letter also helps give the candidate personality, as it is a brief summary of you and what makes you the right person for the job.It’s easier for the employer to remember you, so think and think about your cover letter and always provide one.
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