In a recent post I covered a key reason for the cover letter: to show you’ve done your homework and can relate your skills to the specific company and job.
Here are five more good reasons:
- You can say things in a letter that might not be appropriate in your resume. For example, you can explain a career change or gap, discuss a personal interest that is highly relevant to your candidacy, or tell a success story in paragraph form rather than as an ultra-short bullet item.
- Communication skills are important in nearly all jobs. A letter is evidence of these skills.
- A letter may convey your personality better than a resume, helping the employer feel that they know you.
- Failing to comply with a request for a cover letter can make the employer doubt whether you’re a team player. If you failed to deliver on this requirement, they may think, what are you going to be like as an employee?
- If the letter is not required, then you’re “going the extra mile” by including it. This demonstrates thoroughness and motivation.
Every recruiter, HR person and hiring manager is a unique human being with his or her own opinions and habits. While some may ignore letters – especially the large number of uninteresting or poorly written letters – other employers find them very revealing. Why knock yourself out of the running with these employers?