Real Talk: Is a Cover Letter Necessary?
If you’re thinking about skipping the cover letter, don’t. Your cover letter should always accompany your resume, much like cookies and milk. You cannot have one without the other. This step is extremely important to get a job. It’s your chance to spark the employer’s interest. Written correctly, you will make them want to meet you.
Cover letters allow you to expand on your resume, highlighting examples from your career. Unlike the bullet-list format of a resume, a cover letter tells a story, your story. Put simply, it says what your resume can’t. In a cover letter, you have several paragraphs to take the reader through your education, qualifications, successes and skills. You can explain career choices, your passion for your work, and any gaps in employment.
Connects Your Skills to the Job
Every cover letter should be tailored to the job for which you are applying. When discussing your skills and experience, reference the job description and information you know about the company to illustrate that you’re a good fit. A resume by itself couldn’t make those correlations between your experience and the job. You need the cover letter to make this clear.
Gives You a Voice
It’s hard to convey tone through a resume. But your cover letter shows your personality and style, and it humanizes you to the hiring manager. You act as your own cheerleader, telling the reader why you are qualified. You are really marketing yourself by showcasing your enthusiasm. You can be passionate and excited, writing that you are sincerely interested in the company.
Shows Your Writing Abilities
Since most jobs involve at least some form of written communication, the cover letter is your writing sample to the hiring manager. A well-written letter is free of errors, and tells your story both logically and eloquently. Employers will be impressed if you write well, so be sure to have a friend proofread your letter before you send it out.