When should you include a cover letter

When it comes to writing letters of motivation, we don’t know about you – but we’re still wondering if anyone actually read the letter that took all that time and effort to create. Do you know who knows the answer to this question? Our friends at fairygodboss, Who shared the two occasions when you shouldn’t write a cover letter – and the one time you absolutely should. Here’s what they had to say!

Tedious and time-consuming. These are the first adjectives in many people’s minds when it comes to cover letters. But traditionally, they are considered pretty much mandatory.

Where are they? Today, does it really matter if you include a cover letter? As always, the answer is: it depends.


When You Shouldn’t Include a Cover Letter

“I rarely, if ever, read cover letters,” Joan Williams, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, written in the Fairygodboss community feed. “My hiring managers don’t read cover letters. Cover letters are opinion pieces. Resumes are factual documents. A CL will never make someone who is not fit for my job fit.

“I don’t think cover letters are an indication of the quality of a candidate,” agrees Barb Hansen. “Cover letters are an indication of a person’s ability to write (and sometimes write fiction) or a person’s ability to edit a cover letter template they found on the web.

1. You are not adding anything new to your application.

Too often cover letters add nothing of substance to your application. If you’re just regurgitating your resume, rather than adding new information, then why write one?

2. You are not ready to invest time.

The real value of cover letters comes from personalization and attention to detail. Their goal is to add the details that make you human – the ones that aren’t on your resume. So if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to personalize it and talk about your relationship with the employer, you’re making that (minimal) effort for nothing.

When should you include a cover letter

Sometimes a cover letter is required. If so, then of course you need to include one. “I wasn’t a fan of writing them, but I’d say 75% of the jobs I applied to required them on the application,” writes one FGBer.

What if it’s not required? There is another time you should include it.

woman on computer

1. You really personalize it.

“In state work, you have a state application (which basically has the same information as a resume), so we rely on your cover letter to tell us things we can’t find out otherwise. “, notes Claudia. “I always read cover letters.”

If you are truly in a position to personalize your cover letter, then by all means submit one. For example, if you’re very invested in the role, add details that speak to that in your letter. You must also attest to any personal ties you may have with the employer, such as a reference who works there.

Whether or not you choose to submit a cover letter, it IS important to include evidence of your qualifications, such as a portfolio or LinkedIn profile. And, of course, don’t forget to register your interest.

“I would prefer a candidate to follow up with a meaningful and insightful email after the interviewsays Hansen.

Did you include a cover letter the last time you applied for a new job? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more career tips and tricks!

About Raymond A. Bentley

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