Applying for a new job can be exciting. It could bring you increased career opportunities and interesting projects to keep you fully engaged. You might even be rewarded with a higher salary. However, according to the latest research by GoRemotely.net, you should not take success for granted. Every corporate job in the United States attracts an average of 250 applicants.
Your resume may list your amazing qualifications and experience, but so will many of those belonging to your unseen rivals. Could a cover letter be the deciding factor in making your resume stand out, or is writing one simply a waste of time?
What is the difference between a resume and a cover letter?
Resumes and cover letters both perform different functions. A resume concentrates on hard facts. It should list your qualifications and the work experience you have gained. You should write in chronological order the companies where you have been an employee. Include details such as how long you were there, and the reasons why you left. Each fact should be concise, and very easy for a recruiter or manager to speed read.
A cover letter presents a much more personal approach. It is your opportunity to provide an insight into your character. It should focus on what motivated you to apply for this particular role. You can explain how you think your personality traits might help you quickly adapt to the company’s culture and become a great asset for team projects.
Research by HubSpot has highlighted that companies in the US face a 57.3% turnover in employee loyalty. Your cover letter should outline your long-term ambitions within the company. It could emphasize how your enthusiasm might benefit the business you’re applying to.
How many people write cover letters?
Writing a cover letter can be time-consuming. Ideally, each one should be tailored to the job you are hoping to win. However, according to Zippia.com, it takes up to eighty applications to receive just one offer of work. Perhaps the high volume explains the analytical data published by HumanResourcesOnline that 60% of applicants don’t bother writing introductory cover letters.
Will anyone read your cover letter?
Cover letters are a traditional method of introducing yourself to strangers. They provide personal background details or opinions that a factual resume cannot include. However, Jobvite’s detailed Recruitment Survey has revealed the discouraging fact that 74% of managers ignore cover letters when appointing a new employee.
FinancesOnline.com seems to agree with their discovery that managers spend less than thirty seconds on resumes, regardless of any accompanying cover letter. However, to provide a balanced view, consider that HumanResourcesOnline has found that 36% of recruitment managers always begin with the applicant’s cover letter.
The great dilemma you face when submitting a job application is that you simply do not know the manager’s preferred recruitment tactics. Even if the majority choose to ignore your cover letter, what if your intended target is one of the few who relies on them? However, there are other factors to consider.
Social media versus the cover letter
Modern technology appears to have already undermined the role of the cover letter. Social media sites such as Linkedin and Facebook are now believed to exert a significant influence on job applications. Data collated by ApolloTechnical.com has revealed that 67% of recruitment managers use social media to learn more about the characters behind individual job applications.
35% of managers completely ignore a resume if the applicant does not have a presence on Facebook or Linkedin. You always must beware of how your current online activities could affect your future career prospects. According to SHRM.org, 54% of recruitment staff reject a promising resume if the applicant’s social media account contains views or actions they consider unsuitable. Hiding an account might not improve your prospects.
What is automated recruitment software?
Another threat to the cover letter is Artificial Intelligence. Managers can devote their time to other matters while leaving some or all of the stages of candidate selection to automated recruitment software. This can scan the fine details of hundreds of resumes in minutes to select those with the most suitable criteria such as specific qualifications.
An independent study by HubSpot has discovered that 71% of companies favor Artificial Intelligence as a means of recruitment. 61% believe that such software can help improve issues such as cultural diversity when recruiting new staff members.
However, the downside of recruitment automation is that your cover letter is almost inevitably left unread. Artificial Intelligence has many merits, but it cannot replicate that human instinct for finding an inspirational candidate who may not have the exact qualifications or work experience.
Are cover letters career appropriate?
Although there are many indications that cover letters could soon be irrelevant, they might always be important in specific careers. Professional business roles such as content marketing, analytical research and human resources require excellent communication skills.
In these instances, writing helps increase productivity and teamwork by being concise and easily understood. Your cover letter could be of immense value because it provides a recruitment manager with an example of how effectively you communicate.
Do you need to write a cover letter when applying for a new job? The prospect of your application being assessed by a robot or a recruitment manager with no time to spare is daunting. However, approximately one-third of recruiters still value this addition to the standard resume.
Consider the type of job you are applying for. If it involves writing skills or a particular type of character, a cover letter could be beneficial. Ultimately, it can be difficult to land any job. Writing a cover letter is one method of improving your prospects.