Cover Letters: Necessary or Not?
A lot has changed about the job market in the last 10 years, but what has not changed is the need for cover letters, especially if you are currently unemployed. Still, many question the necessity of a cover letter. Can a resume stand alone? The short answer is no. Sure, your resume shows your job history and accomplishments; but a cover letter gives you a chance to explain yourself and to share a bit of your personality with prospective employers. If you’re unemployed, a cover letter is where you’d explain your situation and what you’re looking for in your next position. If you’re currently working, your cover letter allows you to share what you’re looking for and why that company is right for you. Cover letters give you a voice.
Now, technology has changed both the way we apply to jobs and the concept of the cover letter.
This is what a cover letter used to look like:
Today, this qualifies as a cover letter:
The rigid formality is gone; the length is shortened and there is more flexibility with regards to formatting.
If you are applying via e-mail, including a personal note expressing interest in the position takes the place of the traditional cover letter. Make it compelling and keep the tone professional without being too formal. If you’re applying through a job portal that requests a cover letter, don’t neglect to include one, though it will need to lean more towards the original cover letter format.
Your cover letter speaks for you and represents you in ways that your resume cannot. It allows a glimpse into your personality and demonstrates your ability to communicate with clients. It’s a chance for you to sell yourself a bit; don’t pass up the chance to tell the world how awesome you are.