It seems that in 2016, the cover letter is officially dead, at least in a traditional sense. Multiple surveys have confirmed, and people all over the world seem to agree, the majority of recruiters no longer read cover letters. That may be true, but you still need one. And you still should hire a professional resume writing company to create a stunning cover letter for you.
Why should you submit a cover letter if recruiters don’t read them?
Now we know what a cover letter is and how it should be written, but the key question is – should you always submit a cover letter or not? After all, most recruiters don’t even read them anymore. Yes, that may be true, but they’re still a very important piece of the hiring process. It is a document with plenty of content which will be read by the ATS system (Applicant Tracking Software).
ATS systems scan all incoming applications, filter out the irrelevant ones, and ranks those they consider good, based on keywords and search phrases previously submitted by hiring managers. The more keywords and search phrases a cover letter has, the higher the ATS system will score and rank a job applicants profile. And that basically means better chances at scoring an interview. So, by submitting a cover letter and resume, you are now submitting two documents that have more content to be scanned and read by companies Application Tracking Software systems which help increase your score.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter, sometimes also called “letter of intent”, is a letter accompanying the job seekers’ resume, whenever they apply to a new position. It is designed to give more perspective about the potential employees as individuals and as professionals, as well as to give recruiters more insight into what motivated them to apply in the first place.
The cover letter’s tone is formal, but the format is different from the resume – it should be written as a classic letter. In it, job seekers should highlight most important skills and experiences related to the job they’re applying for, describe why they decided to apply to a specific position, and ask for an opportunity to meet the recruiters face to face.
How many words should a cover letter have?
A very common question asked is "how many words should a cover letter have?" A general rule of thumb is that a cover letter should not be more than a page long. If you think you have enough information to go beyond a single page, you’re probably not being concise enough, and are probably adding too much information to the cover letter. Going even more specific, looking at how many words should a cover letter have, it’s safe to say anywhere between 300 and 400 words is ideal. Generally, approximately 300-400 words is enough to fit all the necessary information, and with proper formatting, the page should not look poor, or lacking in any way.
How detailed should a cover letter be?
There is a simple rule that can, and should be applied to everything related to job hunting – do not submit generic things. Anything that’s generic and lacks personality should be avoided, including pale resumes, bleak CVs and cover letters that lack essence. Just because the candidates are limited to a page, or 300-something words, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t write a professional and tailored, custom cover letter. Remember – cover letters should include the skills and experience most related and most important to the specific job you’re applying for. The cover letter should also include the reasons why you decided to apply for the particular position. Cover letters should be specific, but not beat around the bush – they should get straight to the point.
Should a cover letter be an attachment?
All of this leads us to one final question – should a cover letter be sent as an attachment, as a separate page within the resume, or within the email’s body? Recruiters should definitely not send it together with the resume in the same file. Either create a separate file, or send it in the email’s body. Between these two choices, there is no definitive answer. It depends on how the company organizes its recruitment process, but it will usually give clear instructions. If the job posting states “Send resume and cover letter”, then two separate files should be sent, as it probably means that’s how the ATS can read it. If the job posting states ‘No Attachments’, then everything should be in the email’s body.
Recruiters are probably not reading cover letters anymore, but that doesn’t mean the words don’t get read at all. They do – during an extremely important time in the recruitment process – the ATS scan. The software will use the cover letter to score and rank a job applicant’s profile, and that can be a deciding factor between getting called in for an interview or not.
For this very reason, you should consider hiring the largest professional resume writing company in Arizona, DoMyResume.NET to craft a stunning cover letter for you. Why, you ask? They understand how to make your cover letter search engine optimized in order to pass companies software screening systems.