While many recruiters don’t read them, many do expect to get one because most employers and hiring managers still expect one. Crafting a cover letter also shows that you have put some time and effort into applying to this specific job, rather than just sending out your resume to the masses.
Here are some tips if you want your cover letter to be read:
- Keep it short and sweet – recruiters and hiring managers are busy, and will likely only scan it. Don’t muck it up by filling it with fluff.
- Don’t just rehash everything that is in your resume. Explore relevant experiences in greater detail – they want to see how the experience in the resume that follows matches to the job description and company culture.
- Rather than sending an email with your resume and cover letter attached, write the body of the cover letter in the email. It’s unlikely that a recruiter or hiring manager will open two attachments.
- Customize it – if your cover letter sounds like a template, then it’ll make you look lazy and won’t differentiate yours from anyone else’s. Find the name of the hiring manager and address it to them, use the company name, etc. It’s amazing the amount of times a cover letter gets copied and pasted, and the candidate forgets to edit the company name for the new role they’re applying to.
- Make it personal – Use your writing style and inject your personality. On our forum topic about resumes, one recruiter — who admitted 99% of the time she doesn’t read resumes — took the bait when a candidate caught her eye with a humorous sentence about his accomplishments so far this year.