QUESTION: Should I always include a cover letter with my resume even if they don’t ask for it?
A hiring manager told me, “I don’t always read the cover letters, but I go first for the applications that include one.” In addition, a cover letter enables you to go beyond your résumé and show your passion. Most people don’t do that. Don’t dismiss a chance to differentiate yourself from the other applicants.
The only time I recommend NOT including a cover letter is when the posting specifically says not to. If it’s optional, always include one. The cover letter is a perfect way to more personally introduce the reader to who you are, why you are the best choice, and how you can help them. Tailor each letter to the job description. The cover letter must be succinct and well written.
As someone who has advertised for positions, I can assure you that candidates who respond, not only with a sharp, attractive resume, but also with a cover letter specifically reaching out to the opportunity, can expect to receive the best response. The cover letter also provides a creative platform to identify those “pain points” that the company is hoping a new hire will be able to address.
Yes.The only time you do not include a cover letter with your resume is when you respond to an advertised position that states, “Do NOT include a cover letter” and you’ll not often see that instruction! It is an instruction and you will demonstrate that you follow instructions. Otherwise, include a cover letter even if the announcement indicates that a cover letter is an option.
Yes! I believe a cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself to a recruiter or hiring manager, it instantly demonstrates you are motivated and can help add further details which your resume cannot do. For example, explaining career gaps, highlighting your transferable skills (important if you are applying for a role in a new industry) and can set you apart from other candidates.
Yes. I always encourage my clients to submit a cover letter with their resume. The cover letter is your opportunity to provide a compelling case for why the employer would want to interview you. Giving examples of specific accomplishments that apply directly to the position not only enhance your application, but begins a dialogue with the employer.
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