Career Advice: Are Cover Letters Necessary Anymore?

Posted February 21, 2020 by in Career
Woman writing cover letter

Cover letters are inarguably the most laborious part of job hunting. To make writing one worth it, you need to tailor it specifically to each employer. There’s a lot of research and even more headache involved if you’re applying for more than one or two listings. But are cover letters necessary anymore? Do recruiters read them? Is there any way to make them worth it?

Here’s what you need to know before you sit down and write another one:

cover letter advice

Are Cover Letters Necessary?

We have bad news: cover letters are still important.

The level of importance assigned to them depends heavily on the employer and recruiter. A read of a few studies suggests that around half of employers want to see one, and when they do, the cover letter is vital to their decision-making process.

In other words, if the recruiter asks for a cover letter, then you better write a good one.

Why? Because your resume is only a window into your professional life. It checks the experience and education box, but it says little to nothing about you as a person or employee.

The cover letter invites the recruiter into your home. To continue the house analogy, it lets the recruiter into your living room to sit down on the nice furniture. They’ll learn a lot more about you – or at least a curated version of you. That’s why they’re still popular.

Is There a Time Not to Include a Cover Letter?

Don’t include a cover letter when the job description says to not submit a cover letter. Often, those employers will look for other introductory documents, like a Google Form or a video introduction.

It’s also better to leave a cover letter out if you aren’t going to spend the time writing a good one. However, you’ll run the risk of the recruiter passing on your CV immediately, too.

Tips for a Great Cover Letter

If you’re going to write a cover letter, make it one that’s worthwhile. Fortunately, you don’t have to write them all from scratch. Software can help eliminate some of the slower parts of the letter. The Write Cover Letter function offered by Adobe Spark speeds up the process.

While you can use a formula to get started, be sure it’s targeted. Read the job description again and write to answer the questions a recruiter might have for a candidate.

However, don’t worry about writing an essay. Make it concise and keep it one page or under. Think about it as an elevator pitch. Hook them in, give them some helpful details, and leave them wanting to interview you.

Are cover letters necessary? The answer is yes. But rather than thinking of them as a chore, consider them as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Cover letters aren’t always fun to write, but they are a chance for you to show off. And when you land the right job, the time you spend crafting the perfect introduction will pay off in spades.

Looking for more great tips? Check out our career archive for more helpful content to help you land your dream job.