The competitive world today makes many of us wonder, “Do employers really read cover letters?” The harsh reality is that when there is a public job advertisement, you’re most likely not the only applicant. Companies are bombarded and overwhelmed with resumes and cover letters. Unfortunately, many of them simply do not have the time to go through every single cover letter. So what is the importance of cover letters and why do some companies ask for them? Whether or not they actually read our cover letters isn’t the real issue. If you are applying a job that you are serious about, why risk your chance of not getting an interview simply because you didn’t write a cover letter or spent time to write an effective one?
In fact, many companies use cover letters as a way to filter out the candidates to find the most devoted ones who are serious about the position. I personally know a few people who actually did not apply to certain positions because the companies were asking for cover letters and they were too lazy to write them. But this does not mean that you should have a poorly written cover letter just so that you have one to send in. There’s no guarantee that your cover letter will get read but you should always assume that it does, and thus, a poorly written cover letter can actually hurt you.
There are many advantages to having an effective cover letter. If you are judged as a strong candidate based on your resume, a well-written cover letter can make the difference in helping you get the interview as opposed to other strong candidates with a poorly written cover letter.
Cover letters are also read more often when you appear to be a good match for a certain position. For example, companies may quickly look over your resume to get a general overview and if they see that you might be the person that they are looking for, that’s when they will read your cover letter. This is another reason why having a strong resume really helps. Of course, this isn’t always the case. If you apply to a journalist position, your cover letter and any writing samples you send will probably get read.
Instead of wasting time wondering if employers actually read cover letters, figure out how to get employers to read your cover letter!