Do U Write A Cover Letter
Find Out If You Need a Cover Letter
Learn When You Should Submit a Cover Letter With a Resume
Do you really need a cover letter when you apply for jobs? Can you get by with just a resume? How about if the company doesn't ask for a cover letter?
Should you include a cover letter even when it's not required? With today’s competitive job market, the answers to these questions are important. In most cases, a cover letter will only help your candidacy for the job. Done right, a cover letter is a way to highlight your most relevant skills and qualifications for the job.
Your cover letter is a good way to show an employer what you want them to know about you, without the hiring manager having to figure it out themselves from your resume.
(Almost) Always Send a Cover Letter
Many career experts agree that sending a cover letter is almost always the best decision. Susan Heathfield, a human resources expert, says, "Your cover letter is particularly important. It's the job searcher's opportunity to help the potential employer see that the applicant's skills and experience match what the employer seeks. A well-written cover letter distinguishes your application."
Career expert Heather Huhman notes that "Cover letters allow you – in narrative form – to tell the employer exactly why hiring you, instead of the numerous other candidates, is a good decision.”
A cover letter can make a good impression on a prospective employer and is an excellent way to show that employer why you are a strong candidate for the job.
It is also a useful way to explain away any potential concerns the employer might have about your candidacy, such as gaps in your employment or the fact that you will need to relocate for the job.
Even if a job application does not require a cover letter, you can send one anyway. Often, employers expect a cover letter even if they do not directly ask for one.
Even if they do not necessarily need a cover letter, sending one will demonstrate that you are a motivated candidate.
When Not to Send a Cover Letter
If you're applying online for a job and there is no way to upload or post a cover letter, don't worry about it. You don't need one.
When the employer specifically states what they want in a job application (resume, references, etc.), you don't have to write a cover letter.
Make Sure It's a Good One
While a well-written cover letter may increase your chances of getting an interview, the opposite is also true. A poorly written cover letter will likely cause an employer to reject your application. Therefore, only send one if you have the time to write a clear, concise and well written letter that makes a strong sales pitch for getting an interview.
Make sure you write a targeted cover letter that specifically relates your experience to the job posting. Keep it short and sweet – 3 - 5 paragraphs – with each paragraph focusing on an aspect of your candidacy.
Finally, be sure to thoroughly edit your cover letter. Typos and grammatical errors will demonstrate a sloppy work ethic to the employer.
Review Cover Letter Samples
Before you start, check out these cover letter examples to get ideas for your own letters.
More About Cover Letters:How Long Should Your Cover Letter Be? | Should You Include a Cover Letter When It's Not Required?
Should you always send a cover letter?
Do you always have to submit a cover letter, or can you skip it? We checked in with a panel of career experts to find out.
Cover letters could give you an advantage.
You found an exciting new job posting and are getting ready to submit your resume, but what about a cover letter? Is it always necessary to spend time writing a cover letter, or are there times you can get away without one? We checked in with a panel of career experts to find out.
Pro: Cover letters can set you apart
“Skip the cover letter, and you miss out on an opportunity to sell yourself,” says Evelyn Salvador, author of Step-by-Step Cover Letters: Build a Cover Letter in 10 Easy Steps Using Personal Branding and principal of Creative Image Builders, a resume-development and career-coaching firm in Coram, New York.
Sending a cover letter along with a resume helps you build your brand the same way an advertising company promotes a product’s brand. “A well-defined brand wins interviews, maximizes salary potential and puts job seekers in the top 2 percent of candidates considered for positions,” Salvador says.
Think of your cover letter as another tool in your job search arsenal, says Betty Corrado, owner of career-coaching and resume-writing firm Career Authenticity in Cos Cob, Connecticut. “The cover letter is a key part of your marketing package,” she says. “Use it as an opportunity to convey your brand and value proposition.”
Pro: Cover letters let you reveal your personality and build rapport
A resume tends to be fact-based and somewhat formal, but a cover letter can be infused with personality. “Don’t be afraid to inject personal notes about interests or philosophies that may help employers determine if you will fit into their culture,” says Roleta Fowler Vasquez, professional resume writer and owner of Wordbusters in Fillmore, California. To increase the “wow” factor of their cover letters, she encourages applicants to add a few standout accomplishments that don’t appear on the resume.
Laila Atallah, a Seattle career counselor and owner of Career Counseling with a Twist, agrees that a cover letter can be more revealing than a resume. “The best cover letters are infused with energy, personality and details about the applicant’s skills and achievements,” she says. “I get a sense of the person and what they’ve accomplished, and it’s easier for me to picture them in their next job.”
Job seekers often make the mistake of sending a resume without a cover letter, says Ann Baehr, president of Best Resumes of New York in East Islip, New York. “This is a missed opportunity to establish rapport with employers and provide a sense of who they are beyond their work experience,” she says.
Thinking about skipping the cover letter when applying for an internal position? Don't. Use the cover letter to show how well you understand your employer’s mission and remind management of how much you have already accomplished.
Include a cover letter even if a colleague is submitting your resume for you. The letter is a chance to introduce yourself and mention your contact as a reminder that you are a referral. This is what a cover letter should include, should you decide to send one.
Pro: Cover letters let you tell a story
The cover letter can include information that would be out of place on the resume. “Job seekers can include the name of a mutual contact or referral, state how they would benefit the employer if hired and explain tricky situations such as changing careers, relocating, returning to the workforce and so on,” Baehr says.
Atallah encourages job seekers to learn about the requirements of the job opening and use the cover letter to express how and why they are uniquely qualified. “Use your cover letter to tell a story,” she says. “Studies show that stories are memorable and engaging, and cover letters are a perfect vehicle for expressing your successes in a more storylike format.”
When not to send a cover letter
Given all the reasons to send a cover letter, is it ever a good idea not to? “If the application instructions expressly say not to include a cover letter, or if an online application offers no opportunity, then you can forego the cover letter in these cases,” Atallah says.
Vasquez agrees that you should not send a cover letter when the employer specifically says not to. “This may be a test of your ability to follow directions,” she says.
What if you think the cover letter won’t be read? Corrado says that while some hiring managers say they don’t read cover letters, those who do may dismiss your application if you don’t send one. “Why take this chance when you need every possible advantage in this job market?” she asks.
While writing cover letters is time-consuming, the consensus is that the effort could give you an edge and help you land more interviews.
Looking for more ways you can stand out in your job search? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume and cover letter. Recruiters search Monster every day looking for exceptional candidates just like you.