That said, cover letters are over-rated when it comes to searching for a faculty position. While a great cover letter will not hurt you, it might not help much. This is because networking is what really works for finding a faculty position.
What caught my eye is that this PI considers networking very important to the academic job search. For years, I've had a networking presentation that includes a line that networking is more important when you want to leave the academic world behind. I knew that some top academics are great networkers, but I never really considered that the best way to get a job in academia is to network. It seemed to me that most people find their positions by scanning ads and following the procedure as outlined "Send full CV with publications and three letters of reference to our hiring committee").
This site is chock-full of networking examples from the industry perspective. Can someone give me some examples of networking on the academic side? Are there differences? I'm sure you can't expect a Department Chair to throw her weight behind a hire simply because you know that person from a networking call.