And Now for a Different Point of View about Cover Letters

John Krautzel
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Job candidates spend hours upon hours crafting cover letters that are designed to impress hiring managers. The reality is that many employers don't even read through letters and dive right into the resumes. Is crafting these materials worth your time during the job search?

The purpose of a cover letter is to prompt a potential employer to invite you to an interview. Employers want a glimpse of who you are professionally, and this letter can help you make a good first impression if it highlights information that is not on your resume, such as accomplishments, goals met, deadlines achieved and the ability to work well with teams.

A well-written letter can increase your chances of obtaining a position when hiring managers expect the document to be included in your application materials. An individual who creatively engages the hiring manager with details about why he wants to work for the company may stand out above other candidates. During the job search, take every opportunity to demonstrate business strategy competency within that specific industry.

Many industries are discouraging candidates from writing cover letters. A poorly written letter riddled with grammar and punctuation errors can hurt your chances of obtaining an interview. Potential employers may view your work as careless and sloppy, thus assuming that you are not as credible as your resume details. Job seekers who use general templates that are not personalized for each position also hurt their chances of catching the interest of hiring managers. Application materials should be customized for each position, showing that you have put in the time and effort to think critically about why this position is the right fit for you.

You may also be wasting your time when crafting a cover letter, according to Sarah Grant of Bloomberg Business. A study hosted by Chicago-based consulting firm Addison Group revealed that only 18 percent of potential employers find value in introductory letters that accompany job applications. The interview, according to the study, is the most important element in the hiring process.

Businesses are focusing on technology to capture accurate snapshots of candidates versus requesting cover letters. Some companies request videos from applicants detailing why they want to work for the company or highlighting their most impressive skills. Social media is also playing a big role in the hiring process. Potential employers seek social media profiles and rely on Google searches to investigate candidates versus reading introductory letters and application materials.

It is difficult and often erroneous to assume you know what employers are seeking. A cover letter may be a critical part of the hiring process for some employers and a waste of time for others. Discover what the employer emphasizes by following instructions on the job description and ensure you are submitting the required tools and resources.

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