Blog PostCover Letters – Are They Still Relevant?
Posted on: October 20, 2016
Category: Job Search
The days of printing out cover letters and resumes on fancy paper, sticking them in the mail, and hoping to hear back are gone. In the electronic age, many employers ask job seekers to apply for jobs online. So, are cover letters still important in this day and age?
They are. And cover letters can make or break your chances of landing a job. An employer can tell if you’ve put time and thought into your cover letter. Doing so might make the difference between landing an interview—or not.
If you’re a job seeker, below are four important things to consider when crafting cover letters.
- Start with a bang
Don’t start your letter with “Hi, my name is…” A cover letter needs to grab attention right away, and do it in a way that makes the reader want to learn more about you.
What are you passionate about? What attracted you to the job you’re applying for? Make sure your opening line, and the following few lines, are engaging and showcase your interest and skills. Don’t be afraid to start your letter with a question, if it makes sense.
Be prepared to expand on your passions when interviewing. Looking for tips on how to interview successfully? Read interviewing skills for all types of interviews.
- Look for clues in the job description
What is the hiring manager looking for when he or she is going through a stack of job seeker cover letters? Look at the job description and decide what the key elements of the job are.
If the company is looking for someone who has skills A, B, and C, and you have those skills, highlight them right away in your cover letter. It’s great if you also have skills D, E, and F, but mention those later in the letter, if relevant. You can also expand on your skill set while interviewing, but stick to the main points in your cover letter.
- Don’t go on, and on, and on….
Attention spans these days are shorter than ever. Hiring managers don’t have a desire to read through long, boring cover letters. Keeping job seeker cover letters short and to the point is key.
How short? Consider too that your cover letters might be read on a mobile device, or even be included as the body of an email. Keep your fitting to one screen. Also, nobody wants to scroll through a ton of paragraphs, or dense paragraphs, for that matter. You aren’t interviewing for the job of long-winded writer.
- End with a call to action
Don’t wrap up your cover letter without a call to action that will let the hiring manager know exactly how to reach you. Provide your phone number, email address, or invite them to visit your LinkedIn profile. Or, provide all three. Do so, and it won’t be long until you’re interviewing.
Are you a job seeker wanting to learn more about cover letters? Or perhaps you’re curious how Sherpa can take your job search to the next level. Contact us online, or by phone at 704-374-0001.