Cover letters seem like a lost art when it comes to applying for jobs in this digital world. They are becoming less of a requirement and more of an option.
Electronic application processes make it easier for many candidates to apply, which sometimes means many more applications need to be sorted through before decisions are made. This may be the reason that a cover letter doesn’t hold the same value it used to, and in many cases, job seekers are *glossing over it.
“Only a small percentage of applications we receive include cover letters, perhaps 10 percent,” says Tracy McShane-Wilson, executive director of talent acquisition at a US-based accounting firm.
However, those who *omit a cover letter, or submit one with an obviously *halfhearted effort, could be missing out on an opportunity to set themselves apart from the crowd.
“You can generally tell when a candidate is very interested in a particular position and/or the organization, as they will take more time to *delve into why the role and/or organization fits well within their own professional goals and passions (in a cover letter),” says Valerie Keels, head of D.C. Office Services for Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.
Set yourself apart
A well-written cover letter could be the difference between getting your foot in the door and getting the response letter from a company telling you that those in charge of hiring are impressed with your qualifications but have decided to pursue other candidates at this time.
“The number of applicants has increased significantly over time, due to the greater *availability of information about open roles through job sites and social media,” says McShane-Wilson. Given the amount of competition, she and other hiring managers say putting a little effort into *composing a thoughtful cover letter could go a long way.
For one, it tells a hiring manager how passionate you are about the position you’re applying for.
“If you are the type of person that is thorough, fully engaged and takes the time to write a cover letter, then you’re probably also the type of person that cares about making sure it is well-written, informative and persuasive,” explains McShane-Wilson.
Including a cover letter also tells a lot about a candidate’s most basic communication skills.
Andrea Alaimo is the director of human resources at US-based *logistics firm Redwood Logistics. She said that normally she's normally not the only person involved in the hiring process, meaning candidates have to impress more than one person if they want to make it to the next round of the hiring process.
Andrea Alaimo 是美国物流公司红杉物流的人力资源总监。她指出，通常情况下并非只有她一人参与招聘流程。因此，应聘者们如果想要进入招聘流程的下一环节，单给她留下深刻印象还远远不够。
“In the end, each hiring manager determines how important *mastery of the written word is for the role they are seeking to fill, but confirming good written communication skills can only help our review of a person’s total communication skills, from traditional writing skills to today’s technology-based communications methods,” she said.