If a job listing asks for a cover letter, you might wonder why is a hiring manager asking for it? Will anyone actually reading these?
Yes. Yes, they are. And they’re reading them for several good reasons.
First off, every part of an application needs to be as strong as possible. If your resume is a little weaker than you’d like (maybe you’re applying for a more senior role or a job within a different industry than you’ve experienced), a cover letter could provide additional information to a hiring manager about your capabilities.
Secondly, if a job listing requires a cover letter, it’s one way to see whether a candidate follows directions and reads the entire listing. Companies want to hire thoughtful individuals -- no matter your talent or experience, not following the simplest directions signals that you don’t really care.
If it’s between you and several other candidates, a great cover letter can make you stand out from other qualified candidates. Plus, a well-crafted cover letter shows off your writing skills. Even if your job doesn’t require writing, effective communication is a cornerstone for any position, creative or otherwise. Moreover, a cover letter allows you to demonstrate that you’ve done your research on this company or job, and can articulate why you are the best candidate.
What information should be included in your cover letter? Make sure it is not boilerplate. A generic cover letter will look like just that -- standard. You want to stand out, so share details about why you feel you’re a good fit for the job. If you’re looking at a graphic design job at a fashion company, explain how you started taking sewing lessons or how you follow trends closely.
Highlight successes at previous jobs. If you were responsible for driving traffic to a new website, your resume can only convey so much of that information. However, a cover letter offers you the opportunity to discuss your achievements in more detail (for example, you increased web traffic by 36 percent in a 9-month period).
Finally, a cover letter is a great way to show off your personality. Your writing style and what you choose to include helps paint a picture beyond your resume and portfolio. How are you a leader? What story can you tell? What makes you a great cultural fit for this environment?
In short, your cover letter is your calling card and can demonstrate additional information not readily available on your resume.
Looking for a job? Artisan always has open job listings for creatives!