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How important is a cover letter?

Benefits of a cover letter

By: Lamar Hinchen

The importance of a cover letter cannot be overstated. The cover letter should not be an afterthought. In actuality, it can be instrumental in helping your resume leap to the top of the pile.
Here are some important principles in writing a great cover letter:

  • Sell your qualifications: Briefly mention elements of your resume that employers may find of interest, and what you have achieved that is relevant.
  • Be Brief: The cover letter shouldn’t tell your story, if it looks like a long read, it will be quickly discarded.
  • Identify yourself: Immediately let the reader know who you are. Leverage any connection you may have with them. (If you met before, went to same college, have a common hobby).
  • Exhibit your passion:Tell them why you’d LOVE to join their organization. Let them know how the company and job match your interests. This should be a sentence or two not in paragraphs.
  • Formatting is as important as content in a cover letter.

When you're networking in an attempt to get an interview, a cover letter is still a powerful tool. A great cover letter won't land you a job, but if it is well written it will encourage the recruiter to spend time reviewing your resume and it will help get you an interview.

According to a survey, 91 percent of executives polled said cover letters are valuable when evaluating candidates. The importance of a cover letter is still paramount, even when applicants submit resumes electronically.