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Are Cover Letters Still Necessary?

are cover letters necessaryWriting a cover letter for a job application is still a good idea

In this day and age of electronic job applications and LinkedIn profiles that tell everything about you, is it really necessary to write cover letters for job applications? Does anyone even read them? The answer is not 100% certain.

While it’s true that some hiring managers never look at cover letters, there are others who look at the cover letter as a test of your writing skills. Others see it as proof that you put significant effort into your job application. For these reasons, most job experts still recommend that you submit a cover letter.

On the bright side, writing a cover letter can help set you apart from any competitors who skip this step. It is also an extra opportunity to market yourself and another chance to use keywords that can help increase your chance of being noticed. Here are some tips on cover letter writing in today’s market.

1. Revise your cover letter for each job application
When it comes to cover letters and resumes, one size does not fit all. It’s advisable to customize your cover letter for every application you submit. You want the cover letter to speak to the things that the job posting is asking for. This helps the employer know that you’ve given thought to the job responsibilities and how you are a great candidate for the position. You will also want to include the keywords that the job posting uses. Using keywords to optimize your resume and your cover letter for applicant tracking systems is an important step.

2. Highlight your strengths, but don’t re-hash your resume
A cover letter is the place for you to summarize what makes you the best candidate for the job. It should not be a re-hashing of your resume. Instead, pick out one or two experiences that demonstrate why you are qualified for this job, and focus on how your skills will help the employer reach its mission. You can even get a little creative. Creativity may help your cover letter stand out in the hiring manager’s mind.

3. Stick with a simple format
There’s no need for your cover letter to be long. Stick to a simple and brief format to say what you need and no more. It should fit on one page. Aim for 3-4 paragraphs with 1-3 sentences each:

Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself and say why you are good fit for the job

Paragraph 2: Include examples of past experiences that demonstrate how you are qualified for the job

Paragraph 3: Summarize your most important qualities/strengths

Paragraph 4: Thank you and closing

4. Link to your LinkedIn account
If you’ve developed a LinkedIn profile, you should definitely include your URL in both your resume and cover letter. (Simply add it along with your other contact information.) This will encourage the hiring manager to go to LinkedIn to learn more about you. It will also show them that you care enough about your career to have developed a profile.

5. Proofread
Before submitting your resume or cover letter, ask a trusted friend, family member, or career advisor to proofread it for you. It can be hard to catch your own mistakes, so having a fresh set of eyes can be a great help.

We hope these tips have helped you navigate the process of writing a cover letter for your next job application. It takes a little time and effort, but it’s worth it!

 

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The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health offers job training programs for adults in the Manchester, New Hampshire area. Find out more about us today.