Do I Really Need to Include a Cover Letter With My Resume?

cover letterWhen you’re getting everything together to apply for a job, every moment counts. This is especially true if you’ve heard the word of an exciting post and want to apply quickly. You probably know that your resume and cover letter should be tailored to each position you apply to—never generic. But this can raise a question: cover letters are time-consuming to write, so is it actually important for you to include one? The short answer is almost always yes.

What to know about cover letters

If an employer has said you don’t need to include a cover letter, or the application software won’t allow you to include one, you can probably skip it. But if it’s optional to add a cover letter, opt to include one. Cover letters let you introduce yourself and start to build a connection in a way resumes can’t. They can help you stand out from other people who have applied to the same role and set yourself apart as uniquely qualified.

What to include in your cover letter

First and foremost, explain why you want the job. It’s a great idea to describe your career passion and what made you decide to choose your field, including a short story if you have one. Also include keywords, which you can find by checking out the job description and job posts for similar jobs with other companies.

Your cover letter is also a great place to explain work gaps in your resume. You can give more explanation about why you weren’t working, adding a positive spin, of course.

Many companies want to be sure you’re a good fit for the company culture, and your cover letter is a perfect place to let a bit of your personality shine! This helps you advertise your personal brand and describe what makes you uniquely qualified for the role. Of course, you will match up your work experience and job skills with what the company is looking for. Check out the qualifications section of the job description to learn more.

Give yourself every advantage

Unless they’ve stated they don’t want one, you should send your potential employer a cover letter along with your resume. Though it may tack a little time onto your application process, it will be well worth it if you land the job.

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