Catherine's Career Corner
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December 10th, 2008
6 Reasons Why You Might Not Get The Job Without a Cover Letter

Without a cover letter, you’re basically relying on your CV to make a big enough impact that the hiring manager will call you for an interview. Sometimes, that’s asking a lot. From demonstrating your communication skills to keeping the follow-up ball in your court, a cover letter can strengthen your candidacy and increase your odds of landing an interview. Here are 6 good reasons why a cover letter might be absolutely necessary:
  1. It tells the potential employer who you are and why they want you.
    Yes, the Objective, Professional Summary or Achievements on your CV also does this, but only in so many words. In the body of the letter, you have the room to elaborate on your experiences and interest in the position.
  2. It showcases your writing ability.
    CVs have strict formulas with bullet points and short, choppy statements. A cover letter allows you to write more fluently. Since employers like to see that you can communicate well in writing, a proper cover letter puts the right foot forward from the onset.
  3. It lets you highlight your strengths.
    Your CV lists the roles you played and the significant accomplishments you achieved in your most recent positions. But when you’re constrained to two pages, you may be forced to sacrifice some details in favor of length. In your cover letter, you can explain and draw attention to a few noteworthy experiences from your CV. It also helps to demonstrate your personality, which is often even more important than your qualifications.
  4. It shows that you’re serious about the opportunity.
    One of the biggest complaints recruiters and managers have when they’re actively looking for a new employee is the applicants’ failure to provide a cover letter. When you apply for a job by simply submitting your CV and nothing more, the hiring manager could interpret this as a lazy move on your part. If two equally qualified candidates apply, do you want to be the one who took the time to write a cover letter, or the one who didn’t? Think about it.
  5. It makes up for a CV that can’t stand alone.
    Understandably, your CV should be effective if unaccompanied by a cover letter, but in case that CV just isn’t as persuasive as you thought it was, a cover letter can make up for it. There are numerous instances where a strong cover letter – not the CV – instigates an interview callback.
  6. It sets up the follow-up.
    Instead of leaving the next step in the employer’s hands, use your cover letter to take control of the follow-up process. In the closing, specify that you are available for an interview immediately. The follow-up in your cover letter eliminates too much waiting game so you can move on with an interview.

Remember, a well written cover letter can make or break your chance at an interview. Please share your observation or opinion with us. Have you seen a higher number of interview callbacks when you used them compared to when you  didn’t?

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Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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