You might have seen your peers submit cover letters with their job applications and wondered if you should do the same. These documents are considered optional unless the employer has specifically requested them, but submitting one can still do wonders to help you stand out from other candidates applying for the same job. For this reason, you should definitely consider spending time crafting a good cover letter and submitting it along with your application.
Many people who take on this task for the first time are unsure about where to begin. They also receive conflicting advice from different people, such as their career guidance counselor or other professionals in their network.
In this guide, we will debunk a few common cover letter myths to help you get on the right track.
1. Cover Letters Only Repeat What’s Already On Your Resume
While there may be an overlap between the information you include in your cover letter and the information presented in your resume, these two documents differ in many ways. The key difference is that your cover letter gives you a chance to explain things in greater detail than you could in your resume. After all, most resume guidance counselors recommend describing your work history and skills succinctly in your resume.
With this in mind, your cover letter can elaborate on some of the past roles you’ve had that are relevant to the position you’re currently applying to. You can highlight specific achievements or tasks you completed in that role and how your experience in the role can add value to your future employer if they hire you.
2. Longer Cover Letters Are Better
The notion that longer cover letters are better is incorrect. People who fall for this myth often craft elaborate cover letters that delve into each of their past roles and discuss their passion for their field. However, reading through a long cover letter is tedious for employers, and those who encounter overly-long cover letters are likely to discard them after glancing at their length.
So, what’s the ideal length for a cover letter? There’s no fixed word limit, but an experienced career guidance counselor will recommend writing 3 to 5 paragraphs. This means you should talk only about past work roles relevant to the position you’re applying for and offer vital information about yourself.
An employer who’s sifting through dozens or even hundreds of applications per day won’t have time to read your novella, so keep it short and sweet.
3. You Can Use the Same Cover Letter For Every Job Application
Creating a cover letter isn’t easy, and people struggle with this task when attempting it for the first time. However, the truth is that you will need to create multiple cover letters while job hunting. This is because you can’t use the same cover letter for each job application.
The reason behind this is the cover letter’s purpose. These letters are intended to highlight your specific work roles and skills that are a good fit for a particular job position. Therefore, you should create a unique cover letter for each role you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in the healthcare sector, your cover letter can mention the work you’ve done as a receptionist at a hospital. If you’re applying for a job in the finance sector, it’s better to talk about the finance-related courses you took in college rather than your hospital receptionist role.
4. The Cover Letter Should Focus Just On Your Needs
Writing a cover letter gives you an opportunity to describe how the role you’re applying for will aid your career development. Doing so successfully may convince an employer that you will be committed to the role. However, your cover letter should also convey the different ways in which your experience and skill set offers value to the employer.
Focusing solely on yourself and the benefits the role will provide you isn’t enticing to the employer. After all, their goal is to hire someone who can benefit their company.
So, consider striking a good balance between mentioning your interest in the role and how you can perform well in it.
5. You Shouldn’t Follow Up After Submitting Your Cover Letter
Once you’ve submitted your job application and cover letter, it’s tempting to leave things there and allow the employer to reach their decision without contacting them further. However, following up with an employer is usually a good idea.
Reaching out to the employer demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and your eagerness to get it. It also helps you stand out from the pool of candidates that applied for the role. This is why you should consider crafting a well-tailored cover letter and following up with the employer after submitting it.
Why Choose Resu Consulting?
The cover letter myths described above have negatively impacted many job seekers. Writing and submitting these letters can greatly boost your odds of receiving an interview, so keep the aforementioned points in mind when creating your cover letters.
If you need help writing a cover letter for a specific role, consider contacting Resu Consulting. As one of the best career guidance platforms, we offer career guidance for students and professionals. Our list of services also includes career coaching, resume writing, and LinkedIn profile writing.
Book an appointment with our career guidance consultants today.