If you are applying for a job and the company requests a cover letter, writing one is no brainer. But what if they don’t mention it? Is a cover letter necessary or can you skip it?
You may find it tempting to omit the non-required cover letter. After all, creating this extra piece for your application takes time. However, done correctly, it’s worth the effort. In most cases, a cover letter improves your chances.
Benefits of a Cover Letter
Illustrate Your Qualifications
A resume provides an overview or summary of your skills. You only can pack so much information into a one-sentence bullet point. A cover letter, on the other hand, allows you to explain, in detail, why certain experiences and abilities make you a perfect fit for the position. To design an effective letter, choose two or three of your qualifications match those in the job posting. Then, write a short paragraph for each. Include memorable examples, brief descriptions, numbers and data. Be sure to go beyond the resume. Your cover letter shouldn’t simply be your resume rewritten in paragraph form.
Highlight Your Soft Skills
Characteristics including communication, adaptability, problem solving, creativity and attention to detail routinely appear on Top 10 Soft Skills lists. Guess what? You can show off these traits in your cover letter by composing an engaging, concise and well-planned piece that reflects your personality. To further impress your future employer, keep your letter short (no more than one page), targeted to the job, professionally formatted and, of course, free from misspellings, errors and typos.
Address Possible Questions
An employment gap or an out-of-state address may cause a hiring manager to raise their eyebrows. What’s going on with this person? Use your cover letter to answer any concerns. Did you take two years off from work to stay at home with young children? Or, are you relocating because you need to be closer to your aging parents? Once explained, these situations shouldn’t count against you, but unexplained they might.
Leave a Positive Impression
Writing a quality cover letter takes time, thought and effort. By going the extra mile (especially if the letter wasn’t required), you are showing employers you are motivated, dedicated and enthusiastic about the job. What a wonderful way to start the application process!
When Not to Include a Cover Letter
Occasionally, you don’t need a cover letter. This applies to the following situations:
- If the employer says not to add a cover letter, follow directions.
- If you can’t find a way to upload your cover letter, you probably don’t need one.
- If you must apply quickly, don’t write something in a rush. A poorly written letter will hurt more than help.
Could You Use More Job-Hunting Advice?
At United Talent Staffing Services, we place industrial, medical, clerical and professional workers throughout West Virginia and the Tri-State area. Our professional recruiters will review your application materials and assist you in landing the right opportunity. To get started, Submit your resume and cover letter today!