For years the routine was to send a cover letter and resume when applying for a job. Tips and tricks on how to write the best cover letter and impress the hiring manager were in high demand. Cover letters are now falling off of the requirements for a job application, and many job seekers aren’t sure if they should include them or not.
According to a Jobvite survey, 47 percent of job seekers did not submit a cover letter with their latest job application. With tools like LinkedIn and Facebook utilizing online job boards with one-click application processes, cover letters are sometimes kicked to the curb. The survey also found only 26 percent of recruiters will consider a cover letter an important part of their hiring decision. With such a small percentage, it seems applicants should not put all their eggs in the cover letter basket when applying for jobs.
If you are no longer submitting a cover letter with your application, you have to impress the hiring manager in other ways. Even without a full page to detail your skills and experiences, you can still tweak your resume to land your dream job. Here are some ways to spruce up your resume in place of a cover letter:
- Emphasize achievements. Placing numbers, like percent of sales or people reached, on your resume, shows bottom-line results of your work. Quantifying your success truly shows your worth to a potential employer and can set you apart from other applicants.
- Include a skills section. Read over the job description a few times and add applicable skills to a section on your resume. Without a cover letter to talk about your skills and how they would bring value to the company, you can display a condensed skills section showing off your talents.
- Add your contact info. By including your preferred method of communication on your resume, employers will know how to contact you, and you’ll know where to look when they reach out. It can also be helpful to link (on your digital resume) to your portfolio. If the employer is interested, they can explore more of your work and hopefully read more about you this way.
- Make every move count. The elimination of a cover letter means less exposure to your personality for a hiring manager. Carefully contacting and interacting with a company when applying can help you in the long run. Send your application to the right person, follow-up and write a thank you note if you’re lucky enough to snag a phone call or interview.
When you still need the cover letter…
Though cover letters are losing their seat at the table, they’re still relevant in many cases. If you’re applying for a job that requires a cover letter, you should take the opportunity to write about your skills and desire to work for the company. Not submitting a cover letter when one is requested can immediately land your application in the trash. A lot of hiring managers still want to see the effort of a cover letter, though it may not hold as much weight as it used to.
Cover letters aren’t immune to the ever-changing trends in the hiring and staffing industry. Make sure to keep up-to-date on best practices so you can nail your next job application and land the job! If you’re not including a cover letter, make sure to compensate with some resume changes and personal touches!