Don’t Write a Cover Letter, Optimize Your Resume Instead

Video killed the radio star, and online recruiting technology is killing the cover letter.

Between the bevy of personal information readily available on social media, and considering the colossal strides forward in recruitment and hiring technology over the past several years, employers are finding the old school cover letter less useful.

Instead, they’re using advanced technology powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to scan hundreds, sometimes thousands of user profiles in order to find their ideal candidate. This technology has become so pervasive that there are over 8 million active job postings on every day and more than 13 million resumes in our database as of April 2018—none of which include a cover letter.

No Cover Letter Required

Not only do ZipRecruiter candidate profiles exclude cover letters, the option to add one isn’t even available until after an application has been viewed. Even then, it’s neither required nor necessary.

Gone are the days of making a great first impression by wowing an employer with a well-crafted letter. Now the best way to get your foot in the proverbial door is to make sure your resume isn’t passed over by the smart bots tasked with serving them up to the hiring manager.

What’s the best way to get noticed then? Make sure your resume speaks to what employers really want. Many applicants tend to focus on filling their resume with the specific skills that make them uniquely qualified to fill a position. This is important of course, but it can be easy to overlook the more general and essential skills employers are asking for.

We looked through millions of active job postings currently on to determine the skills mentioned most often by employers across all industries. These are the top 5 skills you don’t want to overlook when optimizing your resume:

All-time Top 5 Skills In ZipRecruiter Job Postings
1. Customer Service
2. Communication Skills
3. Entrepreneurship
4. Flexibility
5. Sales Experience

Although these skills seem as though they’d be most important for sales jobs, our data show employers across a variety of industries want candidates with great customer service and communication skills. Communication Skills is the number one most mentioned skills for tech industry jobs, for example. Even customer service ranks in the top 10 skills for tech.

Communication Skills rank in the top 10 within the Healthcare, Construction, and even Manufacturing industries, according to ZipRecruiter data. This means no matter what job you’re applying for, including these skills in your resume will be crucial for getting noticed.

Applying for a senior level position at a tech company? Reconsider dropping that customer service job you had back in college from your resume. Looking for a job in Healthcare? Find an opportunity to mention how you used communication skills to work collaboratively in your previous role.

Thankfully, most of us have these essential skills. With the cover letter going the way of the dinosaur, it’s more important than ever to include them in your resume.

Written by

ZipRecruiter's Data Journalist, Jeffery writes about emerging job market trends using proprietary ZipRecruiter data.

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