First things first: the best start-up cover letter is usually not a traditional cover letter at all. It’s a warm introduction to someone important, at your start-up of choice, from someone important… you, their next team member. Additionally, whoever is reading your application at a start-up is inevitably pressed for time, and probably doesn’t even have “hiring” in their job description – at a growing company, everyone pitches in where help is needed most, regardless of whether it’s part of the definition of their job. To make sure you shine in the few seconds your cover letter spends with that
Job seekers often ask me, “Do I really need a cover letter?” or “Does anyone actually read a cover letter?”
The answer to both is a resounding yes. Yes, you really need a cover letter—and yes, recruiters and employers actually DO read them. Furthermore, it absolutely CAN hurt your resume response rate if you do not use a cover letter.
Allow me to elaborate on the advantages of utilizing a cover letter and what you’re missing out on by not writing one:
Here are 5 advantages of using a cover letter:
Rather than start a cover letter in typical, ho-hum fashion, lead with a personal story that either happened at work or on your free time. It can be dramatic, interesting, unique (like Amanda Munster’s genius savings plan for a first home), exciting or downright unusual.
If the anecdote relates directly to the job you’re after — and the skills it requires — you stand a much greater chance of the employer being impressed with your application.
In other words: a stronger cover letter might just get you hired…
I read an article recently that detailed why 95% of recruiters don’t read cover letters. One recruiter put it best when he said cover letters were generally so bad, he concluded they weren’t worth reading.
From the candidate perspective, it is clear we don’t like writing them: “Well, it doesn’t say a cover letter is required, so I must not need to send one, right?” Wrong!
Each job or internship you apply for is different from the last… different job, unique requirements, another company. So, it remains very important to customize every cover letter as you apply!
The hiring manager wants to know you’re not just sending out a generic letter to all employers; in fact, if they sense a “form letter” hiring managers will often immediately delete the application…
For most job seekers, cover letters seem to be the bane of their existence; they hate writing a cover letter even more than their resume. When job seekers ask if they really need to send a cover letter, I have a short answer for them: “Only if you really want the job.”
Here’s a simple formula for writing an effective cover letter that will entice recruiters to want to get to know you more…