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Do I Need to Include a Cover Letter, Even if It’s Not Required?

One of the standard parts of most job application processes is the cover letter. Composing cover letters during your job search is time-consuming, but it’s extremely important. But should you include a cover letter with your application, even if it’s not a requirement? Let’s take a closer look at some of the rules and recommendations around cover letters.

What’s the point of a cover letter?

Your resume is important for showing the employer your experience, education, and skills. But the cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself. It lets you explain why you’re an ideal candidate for the role, and why you’re interested in the job. It serves as the first introduction between you and the employer — and first impressions make all the difference. A well-written expertly crafted cover letter is simply the best way to increase your chances of landing a job.

When should I write a cover letter?

Simply put, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and include a cover letter in your job application (with a few exceptions, described below). Most job applications will have a clear place to add a cover letter. It serves as the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and make a good first impression. Additionally, cover letters are great places to include details that aren’t found on your resume. Volunteer experience that relates to the job, your willingness to relocate for the position, or an explanation of an employment gap, for example.

When shouldn’t I write a cover letter?

One of the few times that you’ll want to avoid submitting a cover letter is when the employer or job application expressly instructs that you shouldn’t give one. Also, if there’s no way to attach or paste in a cover letter, you can forego it. Otherwise, it’s always best to assume that the employer wants a cover letter and to go ahead and write one.

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