The job-hunting process is a long and tedious one, with overwhelming and lengthy applications. You think that just a resume will get you by, but then you run into an application that requires you to fill in the blanks and disregards your beautiful PDF. So after you have sifted through this never-ending questionnaire, there is a request for a cover letter. Now you have to sit down and compose a persuasive letter that should land you the job. At this point, many job seekers skip this step, or simply stop the application here. Isn’t your resume enough? Short answer—no. A cover letter gives you the opportunity for your future employer to get to know you, not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level. A perfectly crafted letter can show more about you than you think.
1. Shows off your writing skills.
Most resumes consist of abrupt bullet points and brief summaries about your educational background and work experience. The cover letter is a chance for you to show that you can write well and in an elegant way. No matter what industry you fall into, everyone communicates via e-mail. Your employer needs to know that you can construct a convincing and professional letter to their clients, business partners, and fellow co-workers.
2. Demonstrates your attention to detail.
Almost all applicants like to add this skill to their resume but very few actually possess this ability. Your cover letter is a chance for you to prove that you do pay attention to detail. However, this skill is disproven when your letter is riddled with grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. In turn, your future employer will begin to question the rest of your resume. So don’t discredit yourself.
3. Personalizes your application.
This is your opportunity to make your application more specific for the job you are applying to. Many resumes are generic with the need to be able to apply to multiple positions with one sheet of paper. The cover letter allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and what you enjoy about what they do. Don’t hesitate to compliment the company—it never hurts to boost an ego.
4. Advertises your assets.
Your resume illustrates your work experience and the basic tasks that you took on. But your cover letter allows you to get into the nitty-gritty details of your positions and the numbers you produced. You need to be able to demonstrate how you can contribute to the company if you were hired. Maybe highlight three to four key professional accomplishments. Really focus on the connection of these accomplishments and the qualifications for the position. You want your future employer to see you as a leading candidate, and this is how the cover letter can help.
5. Brings you closer to the employer.
Most importantly, the cover letter allows you to reach out to one individual in a company, rather than sending an application blindly. Do your research and see who will really be looking at your application and then tailor your letter to them.
Ultimately, think of the cover letter as an extension of your resume. So don’t just copy your resume into paragraph form, but rather use this as an opportunity to add more to your profile.