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Does Your Resume Need a Cover Letter?

You’ve worked hard at crafting a strong resume, and now you’re ready to send it out to potential employers. You’ve compiled an impressive list of previous positions and valuable skills, so you feel that your resume should speak for itself. As such, you might be wondering whether you really need to include a cover letter every time you submit your resume.

The short answer is “yes.” With very few exceptions, every resume submission should be accompanied by a cover letter. Ahead, discover four reasons why cover letters are a can’t-miss part of the application process.

A Cover Letter Gets Your Resume Considered

Skipping the cover letter could very well cost you a job. Often, hiring managers will automatically discard any resumes that were submitted without cover letters. It doesn’t matter how strong your resume is if it’s tossed out without a single glance.

Your letter should be a hook that makes potential employers want to read more about you. It should draw them in so that they’re eager to see what information your resume contains.

A Cover Letter Shows Your Ability to Follow Instructions

Often, hiring managers will specifically request that applicants include a cover letter. Some employers report that as many as 40 percent of their applicants ignore that directive. If that describes you, don’t expect to get the job. Employers want to know that their team members will listen and follow directions.

Be sure to include all requested information on your cover letter. This may include information about:

  • When you could start working
  • Your desired salary package
  • Your contact information

On the other hand, if a job posting specifically tells you not to include a cover letter, then you shouldn’t do so. This is another way that you can show your ability to follow instructions.

A Cover Letter Gives You a Chance to Infuse Personality

Done correctly, resumes and cover letters are very different things. Your resume should be straightforward in its approach and loaded with factual information. In your cover letter, on the other hand, you have a chance to let your personality shine through. It’s your first opportunity to let the hiring manager really get a glimpse of who you are and what you’re like.

Obviously, your cover letter shouldn’t be overly casual, but you should write it in a way that makes those who read it think, “I’d like to work with this person.” You may even be able to work in a brief personal story that connects to the position.

A Cover Letter Allows You to Connect to the Position

Hiring managers want to know that you’re interested in their particular opening rather than blindly tossing resumes at anyone who will accept them. Therefore, you should craft a fresh cover letter each time you turn in a resume.

In your letter, connect your particular skill set and strengths to the open position. Communicate that you understand what the job is and how you’d be an asset in that role. If someone inside the company referred you to the job opening, it’s smart to mention that in the letter.

Your cover letter should work hand-in-hand with your resume. Done well, the two documents will help you land in-person interviews with potential employers.

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