Six Reasons Why Cover Letters Are More Important Than Your CV
A cover letter is your first opportunity to make an impression and sell yourself, in detail, to a prospective employer - it may be your only opportunity to stand out from the crowd, so give it your very best effort. Just think - if you can write a good letter, then your CV will be read; if your CV is a good one, then you could be called for interview; and if you are called for interview...
Here are some further reasons why your cover letter may actually be even more important than your CV in securing that job offer:
1. Complementary content
Your cover letter is your best chance to detail the relevance of your CV. Above all, you must write the letter so that it entirely complements and works together with your CV without merely duplicating facts and information. Thus you can refine, comment upon and highlight qualities and skills particularly relevant to the advertised post, and also add further points in more telling fashion than you could ever manage via CV listings.
2. Confirm literacy
Your cover letter is your opportunity to confirm you are a competent, literate person. Wherever possible you should aim high - a well-written letter which strikes just the right tone shows you are a positive and confident individual. Without resorting to empty arrogance, you can demonstrate your awareness of context and ability to respond appropriately. Make sure you proofread and spell check your cover letter carefully, and get at least one other person to do likewise.
3. Confirm value
The cover letter is the place to show why you are applying for the job, and why you are the unique candidate for that position. Your reasons why this is so must all be matched to, and focused upon, the job advertised (which states what the employer is seeking on most good job boards such as the government's own Universal Jobmatch). . Remember, you are aiming to convince an employer that your particular experience, skills, professional and academic qualifications, personal qualities, ambitions and more, set you apart from other candidates. The more interesting and compelling you make your case, the more likely you are to be considered for interview.
4. Confirm attitude
A cover letter can establish you are professional and businesslike if you can present yourself in a concise, efficient and practical manner, observing formal conventions. Equally important, your cover letter can show you are enthusiastic and convince the person reading your application you really want the job, explaining how it fits in with your personal career goals.
Your potential employer, as a preference, would wish to employ someone who has taken the trouble to learn about the company or organisation. If your cover letter can show you know something about an employers business, your application is much more likely to be taken seriously as it suggests you have thoroughly considered the commitment involved.
6. Value added
The advertised job description will probably have detailed the essential qualities and skills the post demands. In your cover letter, you can reference extra skills, personal qualities, experience and other attributes relevant to the position. Where this applies, be sure to outline how these extra qualities will add value to the business and thus make your application an even more appealing prospect.
No cover letter?
In the unlikely event you decide upon this course of action, employers will make some (negative) assumptions about the lack of a cover letter. They may decide you are lazy, lack confidence, have poor writing skills and just don't want the job - or all of these. No letter is just as likely to rule you out of contention as a poor one.