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Do employers read your cover letter?

Do employers read your cover letter?

One of the biggest questions on jobseekers’ minds is whether to write a cover letter. Should you spend hours doting over your cover letter or are they a waste of time? In a recent survey, 49% of hiring managers said that including a cover letter will boost your chance of landing a new role. Whilst this is a decent number, it still shows that a large portion of hiring managers don’t value a cover letter.

So how do you know when to include a cover letter? Is there a way of identifying which jobs you should send one to and which jobs you shouldn’t? Read on to find out whether you should include a cover letter with your job application.

  • What is a cover letter?
  • Does anyone read cover letters?
  • When should you include a cover letter?
  • Cover letter benefits

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short letter addressed to the hiring manager that accompanies your CV. It goes into more detail about your achievements and skills. The point of a cover letter is to convince the hiring manager they should invite you in for an interview.

Does anyone read cover letters?

Truthfully, not everyone will care to read your cover letter. Those least likely to read your cover letter are large companies who receive hundreds of applications and who have several screening stages before face to face interviews. On the other hand, cover letters can be very impactful when applying for a job with a smaller business that doesn’t hire mass volumes of people. These kinds of employers tend to have a more personable approach to hiring (especially during the early stages) and are more likely to read your cover letter.

When should you include a cover letter?

When asked for one

This one’s a no brainer. If an employer specifically asks you to provide a cover letter as part of your application, include a cover letter!

When given an option

Sometimes employers won’t specifically ask for a cover letter, but they give you the opportunity to upload any additional documentation/information. You could use this as an opportunity to upload a cover letter… especially if it’s a small business!

When it’s a small company

When applying for jobs with smaller companies, always include a cover letter. Smaller businesses tend to hire less frequently and receive fewer applications. So sending a cover letter will make more of an impact as it won’t get drowned out amongst an ocean of other applications.

Cover letter benefits

Strengthens your case

One of the biggest benefits to writing a cover letter is that you get to go into more detail about yourself and include information that didn’t fit into your CV. 

Shows keen interest

Writing a cover letter automatically shows the employer you have a keen interest in the role. Where some candidates may just submit their CV, you’ve actually taken the time to craft a tailored cover letter.

Explains unemployment gaps

Unemployment gaps over 3-6 months can sometimes be a concern for employers if left unexplained. In your cover letter, you have the opportunity to explain any lengthy unemployment gaps in your CV. 

Makes an impact on smaller businesses

Again, writing a cover letter for a role at a smaller company is a great way to elevate your application. It will likely be read by the hiring manager and, as a result, create a very strong first impression.

To cover or not to cover?

When it comes to including cover letters, it’s clear there’s no hard and fast rule. In some cases a cover letter will really strengthen your application, whereas in others it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a waste of time. So approach each job opportunity individually and use your own discernment to decide whether a cover letter will be effective.

Need help with your cover letter? Don’t miss our tips on how to write a cover letter!

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