Are Cover Letters Needed When Working with a Recruiter?


These tips will help you focus on what you need to focus on during the job application process. 

As a job seeker, all you think about are position descriptions, the companies at which you’re applying, your resume, and of course, your cover letter. You’ve hit the jackpot and found a job you’re interested in and well-qualified. Your resume is all buttoned-up and ready to be attached to your application. You think to yourself is a cover letter even necessary? Will the recruiter or hiring manager read it? 

You’re not alone. These are very common questions many job seekers ask themselves while applying for jobs. We spoke with a couple of our recruiters to determine the status of cover letters in today’s staffing and job markets, and what prime candidates need to focus on during the job application process.  

Focus your time on your resume and summary section rather than your cover letter

It’s been thought that a cover letter builds a bridge between yourself and the hiring manager. Rather, your resume should be that bridge between yourself and the hiring manager.  

Mark Hellard, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager at Haystack, notes, “A lot of the information in cover letters is in the summary section of a resume. Our clients don’t have time to read cover letters, and the candidate’s window to capture the hiring manager’s attention is very small.” Recruiters roughly spend six seconds reviewing a candidate’s resume. Six seconds. Kristi Camp, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Mission Essential, indicates, “I look at resume summaries every day. Typically, I would say the summary section is like the candidate’s cover letter.” Your resume summary is your shot at “selling” yourself and driving home why you are the best candidate for the job. It should be short and to the point. “Tailor your summary section with three to five bullet points highlighting your experience for the position in which you’re applying,” says Camp. Incorporate keywords from the job description and marry how they pertain to your professional goals and skills to better your chances of landing your first interview. Your resume, especially your summary section, is your first impression with a recruiter as well as an employer. Furthermore, when you take the time to develop a thoughtful summary section, not only do you shed light on what you bring to the table, you get the added bonus of knowing exactly how to market your skills the next time your networking, interviewing, or updating your online professional profiles.  

No matter how you slice it, applying for jobs with preparation and confidence can be a challenge. Maintain focus on your resume and a summary section rather than a cover letter to draw the recruiter’s and hiring manager’s attention. This is just the first step within the application and interview process. 

Follow along for our next blog where we’ll dive into the details of crafting a personalized resume summary that will shine.