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Do you really need a cover letter when you apply for a job? Can you get by with just a resume-or is a cover letter truly needed, even if the company doesn’t require a cover letter?
It’s natural to wonder if a cover letter is necessary at all. Cover letters can be a time-consuming task. In most cases, when the job market is competitive your cover letter can separate you from the rest of the other applicants. When a cover letter is done right, it can highlight your skills and experiences and your level of interest for the job.
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Your cover letter communicates what you want the employer to know about you in a more concise form. Cover Letters offer more flexibility in communicating why you want the job and what you can offer the organization. A well-written cover letter differentiates your application from the rest.
Why Cover Letter?
- Can make a good first impression
- Excellent way for employer to see how strong of a candidate you are for the job
- Provide an overview of your career, without spending all the time reading your resume
- Can share a story and/or show off your personality
- Demonstrates your motivation and interest toward the position and company
- Create a compelling case for your candidacy
Are Cover Letters Required?
Employers may not state a cover letter is required, however, you may want to include one. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give the hiring manager more information about you that can help you stand out. A Cover letter is a great way to make a first impression and build a little excitement about the prospects of you working at the company.
Cover Letter Tips
Write a cover letter targeted toward the job posting. For every job posting, you will want to make your cover letter specific to the job requirements and the specific skills and experiences that apply to the role. Review the job posting carefully to ensure your cover letter sells you and your qualifications, and you are clear why you would be a great candidate for the company. Aim for three to five paragraphs and match the skills required to your own skills.
Review cover letter samples to get ideas. You’ll quickly learn the tone needed for cover letters and what information you should include. Also, you may even discover a better way to showcase your experiences. Fortunately there isn’t only one way to write a cover letter. This gives you freedom to insert your personality.
Determine the right cover letter format. There are standards you should follow with the salutation, body, and closing. The body of course is where you can give them something memorable about you to pique their interest.
Proofread before you send. Take time to edit typos and grammatical errors. Mistakes are easy to make when many applicants misspell companies, indicate the wrong address, or incorrect punctuation. Have a friend or co-worker check you cover letter before you send. A fresh set of eyes always helps and can help you catch any mistakes not seen. You want to make sure you get it right the first time.
What to Leave Out of Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter is about your qualification for the job, not about you personally or your social media accounts.
- No need to share personal information about yourself or your family
- If you don’t have all the qualifications in the role don’t state that in the cover letter. Focus on the credentials you do have.
- Don’t include salary expectations. Wait to qualify you salary expectations when you are asked during your initial phone interview or when you are offered the job.
- Save questions about the company or role for the interview. Don’t include them in your letter.