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When Should You Use a Cover Letter?

Cover Letter

To include a cover letter or not?

If you are actively searching for a new job, this is one of the questions that will possibly come to your mind when sending out a resume.

Often, the job description specifies whether candidates are required to provide a cover letter in their applications. When that is not the case, you need to determine whether or not you should use a cover letter.

So, should you write one?

When it comes to cover letters, the right answer is yes… and sometimes no.

I’m leaving this as an open-ended street because your cover letter could work in your favor or against you.

A well-written cover letter makes a statement before you enter the room, and sets you apart from other candidates.

A recruiter reviews a number of resumes, which can be challenging if candidates have similar qualifications. Even with the best applicant tracking software algorithm at their disposal, the process of filtering through all the resumes remains an arduous task. A cover letter can get you recognized in front of others.

Creating A Emotional Connection

Your cover letter is a short synopsis of highlights in your resume, and a way to make an emotional connection with the hiring manager.

Your resume will already be bulked up with words that make you sound like another stern-faced professional out there. In a cover letter, you show a little bit of your human side and appeal to that same side of your recruiter.

It also tells the story your resume cannot.

As an example, your resume might not be able to explain employment gaps with ease, but you can briefly discuss the circumstance in your cover letter.

Showing Interest in Your Cover Letter

Additionally, the cover letter shows interest. Even before the hiring manager looks at the content, he recognizes the extra time taken to craft a cover letter for the position means you are truly invested in wanting to work for the company.

This approach works best when the company had made no request for a cover letter in the job posting.

Nevertheless, there are times when you would not use a cover letter.  Using a cover letter is great, but using a bad cover letter is counter-effective.  It is better to omit a cover letter than include one that is poorly written.

If, you don’t find the time to craft a unique cover letter that stands out, avoid using one altogether. Reading a poorly written cover letter will most likely leave a bad impression, negatively impacting the way they review the rest of your package or resume.

That being said, the ball is in your court. If you’re trying to decide whether to include a cover letter, make sure you’ve asked yourself if you are willing to do it the correct way.