Are cover letters still necessary?
It can be argued that hiring managers could be missing out on exceptional candidates, with equally exceptional CV’s, but because their cover letters are lacking they have not be given a chance to excel. This should not be the case in this day and age. Understandably, employers want to see a cover letter because after all, they separate you from your competition. However, a cover letter may not be the perfect answer for this; raising the question as to whether cover letters are still relevant and necessary today?
A cover letter details why you are qualified for the job, not just in a way your CV does but rather, providing information as to why you would be a good match for the job requirements. A cover letter in this way is useful for the employer to find out your interest in the job and what you offer to the role as well as your writing ability in a professional process. Making it the difference between obtaining a job interview or having your CV completely forgotten about. On the other hand, this does not have to be the case. With modern technology allowing us to create ways of standing out from the crowd, surely we can apply this to the job application process.
Statistics highlight that 50% of employers don’t read cover letters and the others scan it in 5-10 seconds, it is clear that even hiring managers are sick of them. Yet if a job is asking you to provide a cover letter, your application will be discarded if you don’t. Handing over a poorly written cover letter simultaneously reflects on a poor character. So what can we do differently?
It is clear that candidates need something to accompany their CV’s, but the age of cover letter is, in fact, dead. A better and more effective way of selecting candidates based on qualifications and personality is to start using video resumes or creative online portfolios or anything that will highlight real skill and experience.
A cover letter does not practically provide employers with enough information to choose candidates, meaning they may be missing out on great candidates, duly because their cover letters are not. They are an outdated and time-consuming custom and a lot of the time you may not reap the benefits of writing one in the first place. So it’s time to start incorporating modernity into our job applications and leave the medieval ones behind.