Are cover letters starting to crumble?

By Mackenzie Dineen – Arts Editor 


Illustration by Tom Baker

Cover letters are under fire. The formal letter of introduction has always been presented as a law and not a tradition, but in a turbo-drive speed world, who writes letters of any sort? According to various job sites, CNN and even previous Apple recruiters, cover letters are dead.

Selling yourself can start to feel daunting. We know ourselves best, and that makes it difficult to consider what our best characteristics are, or what about ourselves is most marketable.

No matter how difficult, this is still a vital skill to sharpen. One promotes themself every time they have a conversation, post on social media, or choose an outfit. We have a set of personality guidelines embedded in our DNA that we utilize every time we interact with others. Knowing how to portray yourself extends far beyond the practice of cover letters, and therefore isn’t a sound argument in opposition to them.

The sensibility of writing these may also be called into question. Infinite sources claim that the letters could actually be hurting your chances at a job. A bad cover letter could send your resume to the trash before it is even read. Besides, your resume contains all information that differentiates you from your opponents, and it’s easier to read. Slaving away on a potentially detrimental project seems counter-intuitive.

Truthfully, I have always enjoyed writing cover letters. Promoting yourself requires both introspection and creativity; I enjoy indulging in both practices. A major pro of writing cover letters  is that they’re a personal tie to the company, and are an excellent way to personalize your application. If you have an extensive knowledge of, or are a user of the product or service provided by the company of choice, a cover letter is the ideal place to include that information. Better yet, if the job involves writing or correspondence, you have an excellent opportunity to show off your vocabulary, composition and grammar skills.

Nonetheless, one typo can doom you, so proofreading is a must. Depending on the company of choice, a cover letter may read as a tip of the hat to tradition, or a herd-mentality act of conformity. Engaging your audience is an inescapable step in both your resume and cover letter.

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