The debate about whether or not to use a cover letter is worthy of discussion. You will find people in both camps. Some recruiters and HR professionals may never read them; while others, including many hiring managers, will toss your resume in the digital trash can if your resume is not accompanied by a cover letter. I am a huge proponent of the cover letter and here is why.
1. Set yourself apart. The cover letter allows you to tell the employer why they should hire you rather than the hundreds of other applicants who apply. It gives you the opportunity to toot your horn and convince the employer why you are the perfect candidate.
2. Market your written communication skills. With so many professionally written resumes out there, the cover letter allows you to demonstrate your writing skills. Written and oral communication skills rank at the top of the list of the most desirable skills sought by employers. Use the cover letter to showcase your writing ability especially if the job you are applying for requires it.
3. Elevator pitch for your resume. You need a tool that will encourage recruiters to read your resume. The cover letter, if carefully written, will do just that. Give recruiters a reason to pick your resume out of the stack.
4. Beat the odds. Sure, not everyone is going to read it but someone out there will require it. While I have never heard of someone getting hired solely on their cover letter, I have certainly heard of applicants not getting an interview because they failed to provide one. Why take the chance?
5. Fill in the gaps. A cover letter can be used to explain employment gaps. It can also make a case for the uniqueness of your career, especially when you are trying to make a career change. It helps the reader see parallels between diverse experiences in your resume.
Not everyone may agree with me when it comes to the value of the cover letter. But if I were applying for a job, I would much rather include one than risk the chance of being excluded for an interview because someone on the other side of the hiring desk required it. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.