Fast facts about cover letters: 86% of executives said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. Source: OfficeTeam
49% of hiring managers consider a cover letter a top tactic for applicants trying to boost their chance of getting a job. 36% of hiring managers indicate a generic cover letter makes you more likely to be dismissed. 29% say addressing the letter to the hiring manager, or recruiter by name is a best practice. Source: CareerBuilder
26% of recruiters find cover letters helpful in the application process. Source: Jobvite Survey
So, are cover letters even worth writing, and are they read? The answer is yes! Consider that a recruiter, while they may not find a cover letter to be an added benefit, is also not the person making the hiring decision. No offense, recruiters, but your opinion will not be taken into consideration!
The job search can be brutal, and job search burnout is real. Keep this in mind when submitting your application. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my resume sell the skills required by the job posting?
- Do I meet the minimum qualifications they are listing?
- Can I sell myself using a cover letter, or how can a cover letter enhance my interview chances?
What if you don’t have any experience in the position you are applying? This is common for recent graduates starting a career. But if you are outside this group, go back to the three questions above. If you find yourself struggling to align your background with the job posting, rethink your application. 65% of applicants are not qualified for the jobs. In short, you are wasting your time, the recruiter’s time, the hiring manager’s time, and in the end, you are affecting your mental wellness when you mass apply and hear nothing back.
Before drafting your cover letter, research the company and the job description: 75% of your cover letter should be unique to the job requisition and the company. Bring focus to what you can bring to them by doing the following:
Address the cover letter to the hiring manager or recruiter. Use the LinkedIn search feature to identify the hiring manager or recruiter. On LinkedIn, search by company name, then filter by location and position to find the right contact.
Start the cover letter with a demonstration of your understanding of the company and tie it to your interests or background. The best advertising campaigns instantly pull viewers in with expressive narratives. The specifics show the hiring manager you have a genuine interest in the company and foreshadows how you can help the company.
Incorporate soft and hard skills into the body of the cover letter. Job descriptions have an average of 28 skills but resumes only average 13 skills. Take the job posting and use a word cloud generator to see what words are used most and then organically add those words to the cover letter’s body.
Match the tone of the company and position and add some personality. Friendly, genuine tones using everyday language and speech patterns leave positive impressions. Consider the audience and industry. Creative roles have more creative freedom when writing a cover letter, whereas someone applying to be a bank teller should stick to a more formal approach.
Keep your cover letter “to the point.” Brevity is key. Three-quarters of a page is ideal (single-spaced, 12 pt font).
Cover Letter Example (Client Has No Experience)
In this example, the client hired me to help with finding an internship. I started the cover letter by tying it to the company’s mission and the client’s passion. I used the bullets to include some keywords from the job description, specifically around technology, to highlight the client’s understanding and familiarity with the position requirements. I ended with a story about one of her favorite characters to deepen her relationship with the game and company. The client’s target position was Intern at Blizzard Entertainment:
Niantic is admired for viewing the world differently. I’m an avid gamer and game designer who views the world differently. Let’s connect to incubate some audacious thinking.
Although my primary responsibility in a team is design, I also work on the operations side, conducting multiple playtest sessions to gain feedback from different players. I have mastered reading micro-expressions, which has led to our ability to capture meaningful feedback. Some of my experience includes:
- Developing a local multiplayer fighting game in Unity (GameFest winner)
- Collaborate with developers to determine target players and find potential problems with the current build
- Conduct multiple playtest sessions and generate actionable recommendations for improvement of the game
I have played Pokémon for more than ten years; every single generation of the Pokémon game for more than 50 hours each. As the daughter of a biologist, I loved joining his students on field trips, Pokémon GO released, it felt like a childhood dream come true with the two worlds colliding.
My desire to design my own Pokémon began when I was eight and carried a sketchbook filled with doodles of living creature inspired Pokémon. I once did a project where I researched previous generations of Pokémon and extracted the elements that mark their visual style and color palette. I researched extinct creatures, abyssal animals, and even myth. I viewed my Pokémon as actual living beings, so I also considered questions such as “How will they interact with the surrounding environment?”, “Are they aggressive towards invaders?”, and “What are their personalities?”
I would welcome the chance to discuss how my passion for game design and Niantic can translate into growth for your company.
Cover Letter Example (Client Has Experience)
For this example, the client came to me after taking a career hiatus to raise her family. She was concerned that the absence of the last few years would make her less marketable and present a challenge in finding her next job. When creating this cover letter, I used the company’s career page and the job description to tailor the cover letter’s content. I also used the cover letter to explain the employment gap that recruiters and hiring managers will see when reviewing the resume. The client’s target position was account management, and the target company was TikTok:
As I reenter the workforce, after taking a brief hiatus to raise my family, I am targeting specific companies that I want to join and effect change. TikTok is at the top of my list. I am a curious creator that connects people and companies around the world. So maybe I got this from your website, where you say, “We explore possibilities,” “We empower creators,” and “We connect people,” but the truth is, that is precisely what I do. Finding digital media solutions for customers is my forte, which is why I am submitting my interest in the Regional Lead-Account Manager position at TikTok.
At Facebook, Microsoft, and CareerBuilder, I managed and developed teams of account managers, created gold standards in relationship management, and generated record revenues. Whether it’s working with mega clients like State Farm, to become the first advertiser ever to run on Instagram, or guiding small business clients to shift their focus to driving revenue, my innovative solutions worked.
The attached resume highlights my experience building scalable processes for a growing team, managing client relationships with advertisers of all sizes, defining processes and workflows that deliver fantastic customer experiences, and much more. Here are just a few of the achievements you will find:
- $22M gained by conceiving, producing, and rolling out a first of its kind strategic plan by working with the sales team on pre-sale research and pitch
- Slashed branded advertisers’ expenses in half and changed clients’ internal business strategies by proposing a strategic solution allowing organizations to prioritize brand and direct response (DR) marketing
- ~485% revenue growth attained by building scalable processes for an expanding account management team
Out of respect for your time, I will keep this letter brief and welcome the opportunity to discuss my background as an Account Manager and how I believe I can bring change to TikTok.
Fun fact: she is now employed at TikTok.
If you have an employment gap, use the cover letter to explain the gap and what you did during your time of unemployment. Some examples of this include raising a family, going back to school, taking continuing education and professional development courses, or volunteering.
Short on time? Use an email introduction to cover the most crucial details in one paragraph.