Cover letter writing can be time-consuming and challenging to start. With many job applications making cover letters optional, is it worth creating one in the first place? We here at ATSreader.com decided to find out the answer for ourselves. We talked to hiring departments across the tech space to see what cover letter writing tips make a difference, and which ones can end up harming your application.
The first question is, should you even write a cover letter in the first place? If the cover letter writing is optional, is it better to save the time it would take to write one, so you can spend more time on other parts of the application? It turns out that even if a cover letter is optional, you should still write and submit one for two key reasons.
The first reason is how the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) works. In these ATS systems, hiring departments can filter out applicants by keywords, qualifications, and other attributes, such as GPA. Many hiring departments give more points to applicants who have written a cover letter, sometimes before even reading them. This is because a cover letter shows a greater interest in a company, making them more prone to push your application.
The second reason is that it can be a tiebreaker during the later rounds of an application. If you and another applicant have very similar backgrounds, the cover letter can be the part of the application that makes you the choice over them. With hundreds and thousands of people applying to a single job listing, a single-page cover letter can determine your future career.
So if writing a cover letter is so important, how do you write an effective cover letter that impresses hiring departments? The critical cover letter writing tip is to ensure it is not just a copy of your resume.
Since the company already knows about your basic skills, previous experience, and education, there is no point in just repeating what they already know. Instead, you should use the cover letter to bring a face to your resume; share more about your personal story, such as why you entered the industry or what draws you to that specific company.
Due to how cover letters should show the personal side of an application, make sure to avoid falling into the trap of copying a pre-made cover letter template or reusing the same cover letter for multiple companies. This will come off as insincere to the managers reading your application. To avoid coming off as insincere, here are some basic ways to show interest in a company:
Talk about why you want to work in that specific position. Did you have inspiration when growing up, or is there a life mission you want to achieve?
Elaborate on why you are interested in the company. Do you agree with what the company’s goals are, or do you have a unique talent that you think the company will find helpful?
Bring value to the application. Is there anything you haven’t been able to mention in your resume that you think would strengthen your app? An example could be a leadership experience you had for an organization.
Due to the personal nature of cover letters, it is not a good idea to use a template or pay someone else to write them. This can come off as insincere and can hurt your application.
However, regarding your resume/CV, using a template that can pass the ATS system can give you leaps of advantages over your previous application. If you’re tired of rejections and ghosting for hundreds of job postings, your application likely got filtered out automatically before anyone could read it.
If you are interested in seeing how an ATS-approved resume by ATSreader can help you get the career of your dreams, check out our services here: atsreader.com, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org