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During the job-hunting process, you might find yourself asking “do I really need a cover letter?”


Cover letters may not be as important as resumes, according to a lot of recruiters. Even some recruiters admit they don’t even read cover letters.

No wonder Twan here is unsure about the process.

In this article, The KC Group discuss when you actually need a cover letter (and when you don’t).

Do I need a cover letter then?

Your resume should be accompanied by a cover letter.

The reasons are as follows:

  1. Most job openings require a cover letter. Recruiters might not have the time to read ALL the cover letters they receive. However, they will definitely read cover letters if they’re on the fence about a candidate. Besides, even if they never get to your cover letter, failing to submit one when required is a red flag.

  2. A cover letter shows that you’ve put in the extra effort. So, even if recruiters don’t read them, they will know that you really want the job. They will also know that you are committed to taking all the necessary steps to show you’re worth it.

  3. A cover letter can distinguish you from others. Imagine this scenario: a recruiter looks at two candidates with the exact same background and resume. The difference? One submitted an A++ cover letter that showed exactly why they’re the perfect fit for the job, while the other just copied and pasted an internet template. Which one would you pick? Our point exactly!

There are a few cases where a cover letter isn’t necessary.

Cover letters: when not to include them

Your application does not need a cover letter in the following three circumstances:

  • The job description doesn’t require one.
  • You don’t have the time to customise it for the recruiter.
  • There is no instructions to add one on the application system.

Putting the effort into your cover letter when needed

You should always submit a cover letter with your resume for any job, internship, or internal position that you apply for (unless you are explicitly asked not to).

It’s worth putting in extra effort to make a cover letter meaningful in a few cases, however:

  1. You have significant information to add. Basically, anything you won’t be able to detail in your resume, like a career gap, relocation, or career change. You can explain it in your cover letter (especially if it is valuable to your application).

  2. A personal connection/referral exists. Include a note in your cover letter if you were personally referred to the company. If you can mention a personal referral, you will receive bonus points for your application.

  3. There is a link between you and the company. Do you have any internship experience with the company? Perhaps you know the hiring manager or someone higher up the chain of command. In your cover letter, you should be upfront about any connections you may have with the company. At the very least, it will demonstrate your transparency to those who read your application.

  4. Your dream job awaits you. Make your cover letter a reflection of who you are professionally, and how this position will help you succeed. It takes passion to succeed!

To make your cover letter writing process easier, follow these tips:

  1. Don’t make it too long. When it comes to cover letters, one page is plenty. Cover letters should be between 250 and 400 words in length.

  2. The submission instructions should be followed. The job description should specify the format of the cover letter (Word or PDF), fonts and margins, and content (such as what sections to include).

  3. Make sure your cover letter is error-free. Once you’re done writing, check your cover letter for grammar and spelling errors. Use an effective spelling checker that you be on the safe side.

  4. Whenever possible, avoid cliches. “Great team player” or “effective communicator” won’t get you anywhere. Instead, demonstrate it through your experience. “I’m a great communicator” versus “I’m a great communicator, having closed 50+ sales per month in my last job.”

  5. Develop your personal brand. Make sure your resume and cover letter use the same fonts, margins, colors, and style. By doing this, the hiring manager will be able to get a better idea of your personal brand.

  6. Don’t forget to use action verbs. Make your achievements stand out by using action verbs. Instead of repeating “I was responsible for” or “I was in charge of,” use action verbs such as “managed” or “coordinated.”


Author ianh22

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