The Wall Street Times: Industry Veteran Argues Cover Letters are Unnecessary
Cover letters have long been a staple of the job application process, but many have questioned their usefulness in today’s digital age. While it may seem like a small detail, the time and effort that goes into crafting a cover letter can often be significant, and the question remains: are cover letters worth it? For this article, we sat down with Maz Artang, Principal and Founder of Aughdem Recruitment. We discussed five reasons why cover letters may be unnecessary in today’s job market. By examining the current state of hiring practices, the role of technology in the application process, and the preferences of hiring managers, we will explore why cover letters may no longer be necessary or practical.
Hiring Practices Have Changed
Gone are the days when cover letters were the only way to introduce yourself to a potential employer. With the proliferation of online job boards and applicant tracking systems, it is now common for job seekers to apply to multiple positions with a single click. This means that hiring managers are often inundated with resumes and have little time to review each in detail. In such an environment, it is likely that a hiring manager will only spend a few seconds skimming through a resume before deciding whether to move on to the next candidate. In this context, a cover letter may be considered unnecessary, as the hiring manager already has all the information they need to make a decision.
Technology Has Transformed the Application Process
The rise of technology has also had a significant impact on the way that job applications are reviewed. Many companies now use automated systems to scan resumes and cover letters for keywords and qualifications. These systems are designed to streamline the hiring process and save time, but they can also make it difficult for cover letters to stand out. For example, suppose a cover letter is not tailored to the job and does not include the right keywords. In that case, it may be overlooked by the automated system and never make it to the desk of a human hiring manager. Even if it does make it through, the hiring manager may not have the time or inclination to read it thoroughly, making it less effective as a tool for making a good impression.
Most Hiring Managers Do Not Value Cover Letters
While some hiring managers may still place value on cover letters, others may view them as a waste of time and effort. For example, in a Society for Human Resource Management survey, only about a third of hiring managers said they always read cover letters. In contrast, the rest said they either sometimes or never read them. This suggests that, even if you take the time to write a cover letter, the hiring manager will not guarantee that it will be read or considered. Therefore, instead of crafting a cover letter, it may be more effective to tailor your resume and highlight your skills and qualifications.
A Resume Is a More Comprehensive Overview
A resume is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of your work history, education, and skills. It is a concise document that allows a hiring manager to quickly assess your qualifications and determine whether you are a good fit for the job. In contrast, a cover letter is more like a supplementary document to provide additional context and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. However, given hiring managers’ limited time and attention, it may be more effective to include this information in your resume rather than relying on a separate cover letter. Even if a hiring manager reads your cover letter, it is unclear whether it will significantly affect their decision-making process. In a study conducted by the career website Ladders, researchers found that cover letters had little impact on whether a candidate was selected for an interview. The study analyzed over 50,000 job applications and found that candidates who submitted a cover letter were no more likely to be selected for an interview than those who did not. This suggests that while a cover letter may be a nice touch, it may not be a deciding factor in whether or not you are considered for a job. Instead of spending time and effort on a cover letter, it may be more effective to focus on your resume and ensure that it accurately reflects your skills and qualifications.
In conclusion, cover letters may be considered unnecessary in today’s job market for several reasons. First, hiring practices have changed, with many companies using automated systems to scan resumes and cover letters. Technology has also transformed the application process, making it more difficult for cover letters to stand out. Additionally, hiring managers may not value cover letters, with many choosing to skip them altogether. Finally, a resume is a more comprehensive document that allows a hiring manager to quickly assess your qualifications. Cover letters may not make a significant difference in the hiring process. With all of these aspects, it is important to think about whether writing a cover letter is worthwhile or whether it would be better to concentrate on customizing your resume and emphasizing your talents and qualities.