“Do I need a cover letter?” This is one of the most common questions our clients ask. There are countless articles claiming that the days of the cover letter are over but in our experience, most Australian employers still expect job seekers to submit a cover letter and resume as part of the job application process.
While resumes are perfect for providing an overview of your career, carefully crafted cover letters give you the opportunity to tailor your application by matching your skills and experience to what the employer is looking for.
A well-written cover letter gives you a chance to tell the employer why you are the right person for the job, would you want to miss out on this opportunity?
Here are the four most common mistakes we see when it comes to writing a cover letter.
Myth #1: Your cover letter should outline your resume
Your cover letter should be an informative document in its own right and shouldn’t repeat the same information already covered in your resume. Use your cover letter as a chance to introduce yourself, outline your skills and abilities and highlight the very best reasons why you’re a great match for the job. The letter should be brief so choose the two most important skills of the role you’re applying for and focus on them. Be as specific as you can so you really demonstrate your capability.
Cover letters offer the ideal opportunity to show your personality. Employers don’t just select candidates based on skills, they are also looking for someone who will fit into their team and organisational values so don’t be afraid to infuse yourself into the letter.
Myth #2: Your cover letter is all about you
It goes without saying that your cover letter should include information about your experience and supporting information about how brilliant you are (!), but it’s not meant to be all about you. Consider how your work experience fits into the broader needs of the company and how you’re a good fit for the role at this particular company. Include answers to these questions in your cover letter to demonstrate how you can add value to the employer.
Myth #3: Your cover letter is not as important as your resume
While there is no doubt that taking the time to create a standout resume should be at the top of the list, it would be a missed opportunity to not invest in your cover letter. A well-written cover letter demonstrates to the hiring manager that you are really interested in the role. By showing the employer you have done your homework and understand the skills the role requires, you automatically make your application stand out.
Myth #4: It’s fine to use a generic cover letter
While a tailored cover letter can make your job application shine, a generic cover letter can have the reverse effect. When you use a generic letter that doesn’t reference the company’s values or the role requirements, you run the risk that employers will conclude you haven’t taken the time to prepare your application properly. An even greater risk is that they assume this is the approach you take to work.
So there you have it. Four important myths about the cover letter explained. We cannot emphasise enough how important an impressive cover letter can be in your job application. If you’d like assistance with the design and production of a contemporary and professional cover letter, please contact Successful Resumes to discuss your options in further detail.