There’s no asterisk and the job posting doesn’t mention anything to show a cover letter is a mandatory requirement.
Then, are cover letters necessary?
You don’t always have to include them. Anyway, you’ve already spent restless hours editing and creating the perfect ATS resume.
With a resume that beats the applicant tracking system and is specifically designed for that one company alone, is it still not enough?
It’s a controversial topic that isn’t quite as simple as black and white.
Once you’ve finished going through this, you’ll understand why cover letters are necessary and why there’s so much noise about including one.
Why Cover Letters Are Important
Cover letters are important because it allows you to provide further information on the things you’ve mentioned on your ATS resume. That means you can go into more detail to how your skills, expertise and work experience make you the best company fit.
While job seekers can send a good quality resume, not everyone is willing to take the extra step to send a cover letter.
What that means for you is a chance to stand out by showing you’re more committed and serious.
Recruiters can tell when someone is genuinely interested about the job position and can see who’s put in the effort in their applications. Then again, just because you have a cover letter doesn’t always mean you’re still going to get the job.
But, 83% of recruiters have admitted that cover letters have been a determining factor in making their hiring decision.
If you still think cover letters aren’t important, think again.
When Should You Include a Cover Letter?
Whenever you have the option to submit a cover letter, then you’re free to send one along with your resume if you choose to.
In some job applications however, you might notice an asterisk for a cover letter requirement. Or, it’s been clearly stated in the job advertisement. If that’s the case, then a cover letter would be necessary and just as important as your resume.
Including what’s just been mentioned, there are three main situations for when cover letters are necessary:
- It’s a job application requirement
- You’ve been requested for one by the hiring manager
- Someone has referred you to the job
You should be sending a cover letter if any of these apply to you.
For some companies, they won’t even want you to send a cover letter because their values and recruiting processes are different. Other times, the applicant tracking systems won’t bother as it’s not important for those hiring managers.
At the same time, there are exceptions and times where you shouldn’t include a cover letter because they’re not necessary.
Before we look into that though, you’re not just limited to including cover letters purely because of those three situations above. There are another three reasons I’ve pointed out for why cover letters are necessary and how it can increase your chances of getting hired.
1. To Show You’re Genuinely Passionate
If it’s a company you really want to work for, it’s a good idea to show you’re genuinely passionate by taking the extra step.
A natural consequence of sending a good cover letter to emphasize this is that you’ll stand out.
A cover letter is a good chance to make your application more personal and memorable. As long as you show how and why you match the company’s culture, mission, values and environment, you’ll leave a strong impression.
2. You Have a Warm Network
By warm network, I’m referring to your network of people who are already in the company you want to work for. These can be connections to either the employees, employers, or the hiring managers.
According to research taken in 2020, 82% of employees rated referrals as the best sourcing option to provide the biggest ROI for the company.
It’s super delightful to know and makes prospective employers look forward to meeting you in person.
If you know someone there and you’ve been referred by them, be sure to let the hiring manager know. It gives the idea you’re just as skilled as the person who referred you since they’ve acknowledged your ability.
Plus, it’s always exciting and makes for a good potential conversation. Therefore, it can increase the odds of being called for an interview.
3. To Cover The Gaps In Your Work History
This is very applicable particularly for the younger job seekers, students or fresh university and college graduates.
Generally, for those of you who have little to no work experience a cover letter is necessary.
When you don’t meet all of the desirable criteria of the job description and requirements, you should always take advantage of a cover letter if it’s an option. To make up for your lack of skills and work experience, it’s time to show why you’re still a better fit for the company. Make sure you demonstrate that you’re self-motivated and passionate.
It’s not all the time the hiring manager prefers someone with tonnes of work experience.
From time to time, they’ll want a fresher working environment. Because of this, they’ll prefer having new employees like you with little to no experience as they can mold you into their own and build your habits the way they want to. That’s one advantage you have.
When Do You Not Need a Cover Letter?
The only real time cover letters aren’t needed is when the job posting has made it clear they don’t accept them.
Other than that, you’re free to send a cover letter alongside your ATS resume if you want to.
Acknowledging that, there are two major reasons for when cover letters aren't necessary. For example, if what you’re writing doesn’t correspond with the purpose of a cover letter, you’re better off just sending the resume by itself.
Anyway, let’s look at what those two reasons are.
1. You Have No Real Value To Show
Imagine if you're reading a sequel but the second episode is more or less the same as the first episode.
It’s boring. There’s nothing new, unique or valuable for us because everything we’re looking at has already been made clear in the first place.
In other words, if you’re only repeating the things mentioned on your CV without any continuation or adding anything new, there’s no point in including a cover letter. Back to what I said earlier - a cover letter mistake like this can do more harm than good.
If you’re not adding any real value, you’ll be leaving the recruiters with disappointment.
A cover letter needs to be impactful. If all you have to say is already on your CV and you’re just rephrasing a couple words, you’re better off skipping it out.
2. You Have No Genuine Interest
You applied to this job because you’re interested. But, not in the same way some of you might be thinking.
I mean, you’re not genuinely interested or passionate about how you can benefit the company. It’s more so a case of, what the company can do for you.
In these situations, some job seekers tend to still send a cover letter believing it will increase the probability of getting hired. However, when it comes to the actual interview, the hiring managers can see if you’ve rushed a cover letter or only created one for the sake of having one.
(Read our full guide on the 11 common cover letter mistakes and how you can avoid them!)
Are Cover Letters Dead?
Cover letters aren’t always necessary. Despite that, they can greatly increase your chances of getting hired so it’s worth including one when you have the chance.
You’re taking one step further by putting the extra effort and hard work into a cover letter that nicely complements your ATS resume.
So, to answer the question: cover letters are not dead and are still a thing in 2021.
Here on Rezi, we understand the stress of having to perfect a cover letter. It can seem daunting right after you’ve been through hell just to feel completely satisfied with your resume you spent hours on creating.
It’s another big reason why we’ve developed an AI cover letter feature.
Rather than endlessly drafting and editing your cover letter, you can use Rezi’s AI feature to create a tailored cover letter in seconds!
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Enter your job title
Step 2: Copy and paste the job description
Step 3: Step 3: Press the “AI Writer Ready” button
Then, that’s a wrap.
Just like that, you’ll have generated an entire cover letter specifically designed for the company you want to work for. It won’t require an extra couple of days before you can apply and you can edit and finalize your cover letter from there at ease without any trouble!
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