Should I Always Include a Cover Letter With My Application?

As Seen In:
Wall Street Journal cNet Forbes Recruiter.com MarketWatch TheJobNetwork

While technology has certainly changed the way candidates apply for jobs, some things remain the same. This includes the need for a cover letter. Unless you’re applying online and the system doesn’t allow you to submit one, you should consider sending one in.

Why? Because most hiring managers want to see a cover letter. Even if they don’t fully read it, they expect to have one in hand from applicants. So if you don’t send one with your resume, you could stand out for the wrong reasons.

In addition, while a recruiter might not read your cover letter from beginning to end, they can often pass it along to the hiring manager and others on the hiring committee. It can therefore be the difference between getting a call for an interview – or not.

Finally, your resume is the place for you to list out your accomplishments and tasks. Your cover letter, on the other hand, is where you can tell your story. This makes you a more memorable and intriguing candidate, hopefully leading to job search success faster.

So unless a posting explicitly states NOT to send one, or the application process doesn’t allow it online, invest the time and effort into writing and submitting a cover letter. Some tips for doing that include:

  • Use the hiring manager’s name when possible. Do what you can to avoid addressing it “To whom it may concern” and instead find out the hiring manager’s name. If it’s not in the job posting, call the company or email the department to see if you can uncover it.
  • Include the job title. Hiring managers and recruiters are often hiring for multiple positions. Avoid any confusion by stating the position you’re applying for in the first paragraph and what drew you to the role.
  • Strike the right tone. Do some research on the company and try to determine what tone will work best for them. If it’s a more corporate, formal organization, you’ll want to use fitting language. On the other hand, if it’s a small, family-owned business or promotes a more laid-back culture, then strike a more casual tone in your writing instead.
  • Explain what makes you different. Focus on one or two strengths or accomplishments that are most relevant for the role or company. Explain the value you can offer through them and why your background best aligns with the company’s needs. Remember, hiring managers and professional recruiters are busy and you want to make it abundantly clear and easy to understand why you’re the candidate to consider.

It’s true that some employers won’t read a cover letter. However, many still do and it’s not worth all the potential risks of not sending one. Instead, go the extra mile and write a cover letter that makes it easier for you to set yourself apart.

Would you like more help with your cover letter?

Read these additional tips, or turn to ResumeSpice for more assistance. We can offer you professional cover letter templates to follow or write yours from scratch. Whatever your needs, we’ll distinguish you among other candidates and showcase why you’re uniquely qualified for a role. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.