Are Cover Letters Obsolete?Mar 28, 2022
It's no secret that hiring standards change over time. One of the latest trends is HR's attitude towards cover letters. What used to be a requirement is often not even requested anymore.
Recently, the Personal Touch Career Services surveyed the members of the Mile High SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) to see what HR really thinks of cover letters.
The answers were very insightful…
Interestingly enough, the survey respondents were split 50/50 on the cover letter issue. 50% felt that a well-written cover letter could improve a candidate's chances with their company. However, the other 50% didn't even ask for them or only looked at them as screening criteria. So basically, those who didn't send in a letter were screened out, but HR didn't care about the content.
LinkedIn profiles often replace cover letters
While HR recruiters may not care about your cover letter, many require that candidates send in the letter to show their level of professionalism. So instead, many companies are migrating to using LinkedIn over the traditional cover letter. This is why 90% of employers are looking at your profile.
One of the purposes of a cover letter is to customize it to the specific job, capturing more relevant keywords and highlighting your top achievements. Yet more employers default to reviewing the LinkedIn profile for this additional information. In our same survey, corporate recruiters are checking the completeness of the profile, followed by the number of Skills and Endorsements:
Not only that, but your number of Recommendations and the consistency between your resume and the LinkedIn profile is paramount. While the LinkedIn profile doesn't need to be a word-for-word recreation of the resume, it does require the facts to be consistent, such as job titles, employers, dates, and education.
So, why are they looking at Skills and Recommendations? To compare your expertise to their needs while seeing what others say about you.
Cover letters are not dead…yet
While it is tempting to cast aside the traditional cover letter in favor of a comprehensive LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that 50% of employers still find them valuable. The kicker is that a stale, boring repetition of your resume will not do the trick. HR – and hiring managers – want to see a well-written cover letter that highlights your strengths while explaining what you can do to help them. After all, if you can prove that you can help the company make money, save money or solve problems, your chances for an interview increase exponentially.
Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline