Do Employers Read Cover Letters?

Do Employers Read Cover Letters?


I want to step back on this one for a second. Everybody, when you submit your email let’s
say, then there’s many ways to submit your cover letter. Sometimes you’re submitting it in an applicant
tracking system. Sometimes you’re attaching it to an email
that you’re sending along with your resume. You’ve got an email, some words in the email
about who you are, an attached cover letter, and an attached resume. If you go that route, what happens in, I dare
say 100% of the time, the person opens the email, and then glances at your email, the
text you put in the email, and then clicks your resume and opens it. Then they look at the resume, because they
want to get right to the answer, they want to see if you fit. Then if they like your resume, then they kind
of hop over the cover letter, they open it up to see if there’s really anything else
in there. That’s the sequence. They don’t read the email, then open the cover
letter, then read the cover letter, then open the resume, then read the resume. That does not happen. When it’s submitted in an applicant tracking
system, it’s never read, even though it says this is required, because most of the time
what’s happening is the applicant tracking system’s engine is working. There’s a tolerant set based on keyword matches,
how closely your resume, submitted resume, or entries into the system align to what the
employer’s looking for. They get a small fraction of the number of
resumes that are submitted into either their inbox, or they will go into the applicant
tracking system and open up the system, and then have the system basically tell them who
to look at.

Author:

12 thoughts on “Do Employers Read Cover Letters?”

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  • You're exactly right about this. As a hiring manager, I would only glance over cover letters if the resume looked promising. In thousands of resumes/cover letters, I rarely saw a cover letter that added anything valuable. On the contrary, it was quite common that the cover letter was poorly written which gave me concerns about the candidates communication skills.

  • Wow Andrew these applicant tracking systems are crazy. 🤔 But, I never really thought about the order in which employers open an email and read through your cover letter and resume. I haven't applied for a job in a long time so I'm way out of the game! thanks for teach an old dog new tricks! We didn't have tracking systems when I use to apply online for jobs IKE! 🙄

  • Professor Heather Austin says:

    So many valuable tips Andy! I love that you mentioned ATS when it comes to cover letters. This is so true and can be so discouraging for candidates. I'm a big fan of resume and cover letter ATS optimization. Thanks for sharing!

  • sir i am having difficulties in making sentence with good communication, so i am copying from internet.
    is it ok or i can put myown words.
    it will affect my level from employer point of view?

  • Hi Andy, can you please elaborate on why hiring managers/interviewers do NOT reply to thank you letters, emails? Is there a reason why it’s suggested that we send thank you letters/emails if receipt is not acknowledged by the receiving party? Thanks.

    Signed,
    Confused Candidate

  • Hmm I've got two questions after your video:
    What to put in the email text, and can it replace the cover letter in practice?
    If the Applicant Tracking System is automated using keyword matching, does that mean a lengthier CV will be more advantageous than a concise one when you're applying to a human recruiter?

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