Are Cover Letters Still Needed in 2023?

A lot is changing about the way we work and the way we apply for work in 2023. Remote work is becoming more popular, Applicant Tracking Systems are fundamentally changing the job application process, and AI is becoming an integral part of some jobs. So, if you’re looking for new opportunities this year, you might be second-guessing a lot of what you know about the job application process and asking yourself all kinds of questions, including “are cover letters still relevant in 2023?”

And rightfully so.

After all, there is a widespread belief that recruiters don’t even read cover letters. If that’s the case, why waste your time writing one, right?

Are cover letters relevant in 2023?

Many applicants think that submitting a cover letter when applying for jobs is not necessary and will likely go unnoticed by recruiters.

That’s because they view the cover letter as a summary of their resume, rather than as a complementary addition that can add value to their application.

This is reinforced by the fact that if you google “do recruiters read cover letters?” you’ll find plenty of sources claiming that cover letters are useless and that we should cut them out of the job application process entirely.

We think otherwise. Done right, cover letters can still be extremely useful in helping you land your next gig in 2023.

Here’s why:

Cover letters are still required by most employers

Most employers still require candidates to submit a cover letter when applying for jobs. While they may not have the time to read each and every cover letter they receive, they’ll definitely check out a cover letter if they’re on the fence about a candidate.

In such cases, a well-written cover letter can improve your chances of getting hired.

Not to mention, failing to submit a cover letter when it’s specifically requested in the job description will be considered a red flag and might get you disqualified.

Cover letters show dedication

When applying for jobs, most candidates submit a very generic cover letter with minimal personalization.

By writing a thoughtful and well-crafted cover letter, you demonstrate your commitment to the job and the company.

It shows that you are willing to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the application process and that you have a genuine interest in the position.

Cover letters can set you apart from other applicants

Sometimes, recruiters have to choose who, among several candidates with the same level of professional experience, to invite for an interview.

In such a case, submitting a cover letter can help set you apart from other candidates.

A well-written cover letter can prove to the hiring manager that you’re a skilled candidate who has taken the time to research the company and the position and is genuinely interested in the role.

Your cover letter can highlight your unique skills, experience, and achievements, all of which are reasons for the hiring manager to pick you over other candidates.

Cover letters provide additional information about the candidate

A resume provides an overview of you as a candidate, but it doesn’t provide you with enough space to go into detail about certain key parts of your career.

This is where the cover letter comes in.

Whether you have a significant career gap in your resume, you’re going through a career change, or are looking for a relocation, you can use your cover letter to explain the “why-s” behind your decisions more comprehensively.

Moreover, a cover letter is your chance to discuss your professional achievements, talk about how you gained your skills, and even let the hiring manager know just how hiring you over other candidates can benefit the company.

In short, a well-written cover letter can provide a more comprehensive and personal view of you as a candidate and complement your resume in more ways than one!

5 tips for a well-written cover letter

The bottom line is this:

A cover letter is still an essential part of any job application in 2023 and you should include one with your resume.

So, as you can imagine, your cover letter should be on par with your resume. Before you start writing your cover letter, here are a few tips to make the process easier for you:

  1. Keep it short. The optimal cover letter length is between 250-400 words long, so don’t overdo it with the writing.
  2. Follow submission instructions. In the job description, look out for specifics on the cover letter format (Word or PDF), or on formatting rules, such as the fonts and margins.
  3. Always proofread. If there’s one mistake you should avoid at all costs is submitting a cover letter with obvious grammar or spelling mistakes. Make sure to proofread your cover or run it through an app like Grammarly letter before submitting it.
  4. Be specific. You want to be as specific as possible when you’re explaining your achievements and skills in your cover letter. Instead of just mentioning specific skills, for example, explain exactly how using them can help you excel at this position. Or, instead of just saying you love the company, mention exactly what it is you love about it. 
  5. Use a cover letter template. Choosing a cover letter template can save you the time and energy needed to format and personalize your cover letter. The result will look professional and modern at the same time.

Andrei Kurtuy is the co-founder and CCO at Novorésumé. He’s a Resume, CV, and Cover Letter Writing Expert. He enjoys reading, writing, and learning about creating a bridge between recruiters and job seekers, as well as improving the job application process, trends, and technologies.

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