Job application season is right around the corner. That means an onslaught of recent college grads hustling from interview to interview, and hiring managers working long hours to accommodate make sure they select just the right employees to fill out their openings. But with so many job applications going through online systems meant to weed out unqualified candidates, it’s all too easy to get lost in the mix. So actually will set you apart and help land you that gig?
Three words: Your. Cover. Letter. That’s right, applicants that present a tailored-to-the-position cover letter get 50% more interviews than applicants that don’t according to a new study from resumego.com. The study also shows that 81% say they value ones that are written for the position, rather than clearly generic.
What You Need To Include
So how do you write the perfect letter? It’s easy to get lost in the sauce with so much job application information living on the Internet, but Peter Yang, CEO of ResumeGo and Allison Cheston, Career Advisor, walked us through it. In any cover letter, it is critical to include the following:
By adding these elements, your cover letter will be considered “tailored.” It is okay to work from a shell, Yang says, as long as you change it to include this information for each specific application submitted.
Your Letter Tells The Story That’s Not In Your Resume
There’s only so much that you can fit on a one-page resume (and yes, with few exceptions — like careers that are decades in the making — your resume should be a single page.) Your cover letter, on the other hand, can serve as a storytelling platform. “Providing a backstory of yourself and connecting it with how this ultimately led you to apply to the job at hand can be an effective way of differentiating yourself from other applicants,” Yang says.
PS: Yes, They Do Get Read
Let go of whatever you’ve heard about cover letters in the past, because, yes, they’re extremely important to any job-seeker’s application, and no, hiring managers do not completely ignore them. In fact, the study showed that 87% of recruiters do read your cover letters. That’s why Yang says that the only time you shouldn’t send in a cover letter is when the application doesn’t ask for one. As Cheston says, “it is your secret weapon to help get you through the door and differentiate you from other candidates.”
With Rebecca Cohen