Hi, is cover letter still able to raise the likelihood for an applicant to stand out and get hired these days? And if it does, what is the high quality ones look like? Thanks!
If it makes it to a real person and speaks to specific qualifications referring to the job posting - Yes.
Do not tell them your life story.
Explain why you are qualified for the job and cite examples.
If you have been networking beforehand especially and find out some real-world problems they are having, you can speak to how you solve those problems and bring value to the company.
I have a generic cover letter for ATS but I always, always write custom cover letters if I'm handing my application via a person (e.g. a referrer). I investigate what issues I can help solve and bring them up in the letter along with all my experiences.
Hope that helps!
I largely believe that cover letters are a waste of time.
I like Xue's approach (especially for startups), but if you have that level of connection, I would just message them with that context directly through email, DMs, or an initial call if you're able to get one.
For any big company, especially those that are publicly traded, nobody's going to believe that you were born to work at Airbnb or whatever (let's be real, you just want a great job like all of us do). In those cases, I would send in a copy-pasta cover letter or you can be spicy and use ChatGPT to do it!
Here's a cover letter I generated just now with the following simple prompt: "Write me a 2 paragraph cover letter about why I'm a great fit to be a React developer at Airbnb."
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to express my enthusiasm for the React Developer position at Airbnb, and I am confident that my skills and experience align well with the dynamic and innovative environment at your company. With a proven track record in developing robust and user-friendly web applications using React, I bring a strong foundation in front-end development. In my previous role at [Previous Company], I led the implementation of complex features, collaborated closely with cross-functional teams, and consistently delivered high-quality code within tight deadlines.
What sets me apart is not only my technical proficiency but also my passion for creating exceptional user experiences. I am adept at translating design concepts into seamless and responsive interfaces, ensuring that users have an engaging and intuitive interaction with the applications I develop. Airbnb's commitment to revolutionizing the way people travel resonates with me, and I am eager to contribute my skills to further enhance the platform's user interface and overall performance. I am excited about the prospect of being a part of the Airbnb team and leveraging my expertise to contribute to the continued success of your groundbreaking projects.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
For more advice on how to get a ton of job interviews, check out the advice and linked resources here: "How to get interview calls?"
It matters more for companies that are starved of love and attention.
Everyone can say "I love Airbnb" in a cover letter, but you'll stand out a lot more if you say it about a fledgling seed-stage startup in a non-glamorous domain.