! It is an unfortunate fact of recruiting that there are people who go blasting their resume onto each and every job posting they see regardless of the fit. A well-written cover letter definitely stands out to me as somebody that has a genuine interest and is likely at least a half decent fit.
I'm also right there with you regarding length and content. A cover letter need not be a novel and there are plenty of people who need to learn that. I advise that people use the swimsuit method when writing a cover letter. Long enough to cover the necessities, but short enough to keep things interesting! Keeping things short and sweet eliminates the option of cutting and pasting half the resume which, aside from being redundant shows a serious lack of effort and creativity. The cover letter should be a segue way between the job description and the resume that ties it all together.
Again, thanks for the post!