This is a post by Jobtrakr staff writer Rachael Del Pino, owner of Accendo Careers. If you’d like to be a guest writer here on Jobtrakr, we would love to have you. Just follow these guest writer guidelines.
My clients often ask me about the necessity of having a cover letter. While I personally skim over them and don’t really consider them to be all that relevant (I prefer to just get to the “meat” of the resume), I still recommend that they use one and spend time tailoring it to the job they are applying for.
Even though I don’t usually read a cover letter in great detail; I do regard someone as a more serious candidate if they have one. If I am considering two candidates with identical education and experience, but one has a cover letter and the other doesn’t; I am probably going to give preference to the one with a cover letter because it appears that they put more time and effort into applying for the job.
Many recruiters are split on this subject, so in the event that you are applying to a job where they DO want to see one, it will pay off to spend a few extra minutes creating one, rather than disqualify yourself from consideration as a result of not having one.
The cover letter can also be a tool to address questions that your resume might raise. For example, if you’re planning to self-relocate to the city where the job is located, but your address and work experiences are in a different city, the cover letter is a good place to clarify that information. If you are changing careers, the cover letter is an appropriate place to explain that and to describe what your transferrable skills are.
Some job postings also ask for specific data to be addressed in the cover letter; like salary requirements or certifications. Make sure you answer those questions and provide the data requested so that you aren’t weeded out for something as minor as not following directions.
Although cover letters can be tedious to write and seem unimportant compared to your resume; they could be the employer’s first impression of you and for that reason, they are a necessary evil. While you never know if the hiring professional will read it or not, crafting a cover letter is absolutely worth the effort if it sets you apart from the competition.
Rachael Del Pino has significant experience in recruiting and talent management for Fortune 100 companies, as well as a master’s degree in Management with an HR concentration from the University of Central Florida. She also owns Accendo Careers, a career development and coaching company. She has an innate passion for helping people reach their highest career potential.