Don’t Underestimate What Your Cover Letter Can Do

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Tips for Job Seekers
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Don’t Underestimate What Your Cover Letter Can Do

With fingers-crossed, hoping the answer will be “no,” every job seeker asks: Is a cover letter necessary?

Do hiring managers read cover letters in 2021? Not all of them, but many, such as I, still do.

Whether the hiring manager reads your cover letter shouldn’t be your focus. Your focus should be, why take a chance? Why wouldn’t you want to give yourself every competitive advantage possible?

A cover letter will never be held against you by a hiring manager who doesn’t read them, but for those who do, not having a cover letter can mean your résumé will not be read. During your job search, you want to stack the odds in your favour of getting a “yes” to move forward in the hiring process.

A quick guide for you: a cover letter is absolutely necessary if …

Not Writing a Cover Letter Is, Quite Frankly, Lazy

Cover letters have one job—to get the reader to read your résumé. Suppose your résumé’s recipient doesn’t know you (a likely case). Why should they read your résumé over the hundreds of other résumé they receive, many accompanied with a cover letter?

I read cover letters to assess your writing skills and how well you can sell yourself—it’s a critical component of my decision-making process. Call me old school, but I view not having a professionally written cover letter accompanying your résumé as being lazy.

It’s worth noting that there have been several times where I’ve granted an interview based on the candidate’s cover letter, even though their résumé was far from impressive. Yes, a cover letter can make up for flaws in your résumé.

Most importantly, use your cover letter to tell me something that isn’t on your résumé that’ll help me decide you’re worth my time to interview—convince me!

What to Include in Your Cover Letter

How do you make your cover letter convince the reader to call you in for the interview? First, grab them at “Hello.” Next, draw them into your professional story, making sure you’re coming across as a solid “Yes” to each of these questions:

Your cover letter is your first opportunity to explain your value proposition (what you’re able to bring to the employer), and therefore stand out from the many other candidates just as qualified as you. It’s also your chance to explain the reason(s) for any gaps in your employment and what you’ve been doing during the gap(s).

There are 5 parts to a cover letter:

Tip: When writing your cover letter, try to give the reader a sense of who you’re going to be should they meet you (presuming you’re invited in for an interview). Don’t be afraid to convey your personality; it’s the most straightforward, high-yielding approach to standing out from your competition.

About the Author

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at or connect with him on LinkedIn.