The advice you’ll get on cover letters is likely to be mixed, too. You’re likely to hear any or all of the following:
- Write a new letter for each position and try to show your potential match for a company’s current needs;
- Write a generic letter for each type of position, but worry more about the résumé; and
- Forget about the cover letter–nobody reads them anyway, so you’ll be wasting your time.
Here are 6 reasons why you should write one anyway:
- You are not a mind reader.* As such, you can’t be sure about the preferences of the person(s) screening the applications. (*apologies if you are indeed, a mind reader!)
- If a committee is handling the screening, people on the committee might have different thoughts on the value of a cover letter. Better to cover your bases.
- The recruiter(s) are not mind readers, either. Cover letters provide context about your education, experience, motivation, and possible fit. Your résumé should include plenty of information about education and experience, but the cover letter lets you tie all the pieces together into a coherent whole. Essentially, the job of the cover letter is to make the screener’s job easier, by helping the reader see how your motivation rounds out your education and experience, and molds you into someone who will fit their needs.
- Not sending in a cover letter will make you look lazy. Basically, it sends the message that the recruiter needs to do the work to figure out why you are interested in a job, and then to sell you on the value of working for their organization. And the recruiter probably has enough work to deal with already.
- The recruiter may interpret the lack of a cover letter as an indication that you are desperately applying for anything and everything, and that you haven’t really taken the time to determine why you are interested in the specific position.
- Some recruiters will consider your application incomplete and remove you from further consideration.