I've received basically opposite advice from various people (including my advisors!) on the topic of the cover letter. Some have told me it can make or break an application, and is an important part of convincing the search committee that you are a good fit. Others have said that, when they are on a search committee, they literally don't even read it but move right on to the statements. So what gives?
I think the best policy is to treat every part of the application as important, but this makes me wonder how much space should be devoted to the cover letter. I've seen cover letters from successful applications that fit on a single page vs. three pages, but don't know if brevity or detail is preferred.
What is your experience? Does the cover letter matter? How much detail/ what length is appropriate?
Thanks so much!