In recent years, we have seen a steady decline in candidates submitting a cover letter with their application. Some employers are up in arms about this, discounting an application as a careless one if an applicant has not gone to the bother of submitting a cover letter. Other employers – they don’t even notice if there is or isn’t one.

So, the question is, do applicants actually need a cover letter as part of an application?

To answer that question, it’s important to understand the actual purpose of a cover letter. It serves as the introduction of you, the applicant, to your potential employer. Think of it as an attempt to entice them into reading your resume in more detail than just a glance at your most recent position. It’s an opportunity to use your tone of voice to speak directly to the person and connect with them on why you are the right person for the position.

Many argue that with social media and platforms like Linked In, cover letters are no longer necessary and you are able to connect with a person’s personality by looking them up (and we all do it!). Many employers use social media to advertise their opportunities nowadays (check out our Premium and Deluxe advertising packs where we do this for you) and they can access a potential candidate’s personal profile prior to even receiving their resume.

In a circumstance where you connect with an employer about an opportunity via social media, you’re having a direct conversation with them, and in this circumstance, the cover letter almost becomes redundant.

However, in a situation where you are applying for a job opportunity and your application will be your first point of contact, it is essential to introduce and sell yourself in a cover letter so that your personality shines through in your application.

After all, skills are trainable, personality is not!