Studies show that HR executives only glance at your application for a mere six seconds on average. Given this situation, do you really need to submit a cover letter? Can you be confident that anyone will ever even read it?
Look, we get it. Job applications are often frustrating and time-consuming. You want to take any opportunity to cut some corners. The cover letter often becomes the first victim of this instinct.
However, you can gain a lot of value from a cover letter. Before you talk yourself into leaving out that step, consider your options carefully. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider whether to submit a cover letter.
Read the Situation
Whether to submit a cover letter or not depends on the situation. Some companies will give detailed instructions on what to include in a job application. If they ask you to skip the cover letter, or don’t provide a way to upload one, you can assume one isn’t needed.
On the other side of the spectrum, some firms will pointedly request a cover letter, along with instructions on what to include. Of course, you should follow these guidelines as closely as possible. For all other situations, you’ll have to use your best judgment. But, as we’ll explain, you’re usually better off assuming that a cover letter is required.
There’s Little Downside
Submitting an unnecessary cover letter usually won’t hurt your chances of scoring an interview. If the company doesn’t provide specific guidelines, you should probably include one. Certainly, don’t include a cover letter if the company specifically asked you not to. But, otherwise, the only risk is that they will ignore your document.
And, if the HR staff reads your cover letter, you should only help your chances. In more extreme cases, potential employers might reject your application out of hand if they don’t receive a cover letter as expected. For that reason, in ambiguous situations, there’s usually more risk in not sending a cover letter than in sending one.
Boosting Your Chances
But it’s important not to view the cover letter as an annoying chore. Don’t just see it as a requirement. Rather, treat the document as an opportunity.
You don’t get much space to introduce yourself to prospective employers. Take every chance you have to highlight your best skills and background. A cover letter helps you make your best sales pitch. Here are a few of the ways a cover letter can boost your profile with a company:
Get More Space
Resumes are short and very formalized. You don’t get much room to expound on your most attractive traits. A cover letter grants you additional space to present your reasons for getting hired.
Fill In The Gaps
Some points on a resume require clarification. Most obvious of these: time off from your career. The cover letter lets you explain things like resume gaps.
Go Beyond the Resume
Resumes present an excellent snapshot of your career. However, the documents don’t encapsulate you as a complete individual, or even as a complete employee. A cover letter lets you convey that additional information.
Form a Connection – You don’t just want to meet the minimum qualifications for a position. You want the HR staffers actively excited about meeting you. A cover letter can help you form that personal connection. It gives you a chance to build a relationship with people you haven’t met yet.
Cover letters can help you stand out from a crowded field of job applicants. You can also get a boost in this department by partnering with a strong staffing firm like PrideStaff. They can give you the expertise and insight you need to find the perfect career fit.
Contact PrideStaff today to find out more.