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Are cover letters still relevant in 2024?

About 1 month ago By Potentia

Cover Letter Blog Cover

​Over the last six months, we’ve been seeing Chat-GPT written cover letters everywhere. We’ll be the first to say that there’s nothing wrong with using generative AI to support your job applications, but when it’s 100% AI-regurgitated nonsense, you’ll more than likely send readers running in the opposite direction (yes, it’s obvious…and happens a lot!). But AI aside, the real question is…do I still need to write cover letters for my applications in 2024?

First, let’s briefly look at what a cover letter – in theory – is used for. It’s all about bringing your CV to life. Generally a few paragraphs, it’s your chance to set yourself apart from other applicants and detail all the reasons why you are not only just the best person for the role, but why you can add real value to the organisation. On the other side, recruiters and hiring managers use them as a way of assessing written communication skills, attention to detail and other role-specific information that may not be in your CV.

But…are hiring managers and recruiters actually reading them though?

The short answer, yes. The long answer, it depends on a number of different factors! The reality is, people are so accessible nowadays, that there are many ways to assess a candidate, from LinkedIn and online portfolios, to a quick pre-screen over the phone. Sometimes it comes down to the individual hiring manager or recruiter and the process that they follow. Another factor could be the level of the job e.g. we definitely see cover letters playing a more significant role in entry level positions.

And then we come to the elephant in the room: generative AI. On one hand, in a sea of AI-regurgitated content, originality is standing out more than ever. But on the other hand, the overuse of AI has meant a lot of hiring managers and recruiters are bypassing cover letters completely in favour of other mediums.

The verdict

The bottom line? There’s no straightforward answer with this one. The cover letter certainly plays a different role than it was originally created for in the 50s, but with the digital footprint that candidates now leave behind them, there are so many other avenues that recruiters and hiring managers can take when it comes to screening. One thing is for sure – if it’s requested in the job advert, then writing a cover letter is still a must!