Yes, You Still Need a Cover Letter and Here's Why

Nancy Anderson
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A key element of the job preparation process is compiling a compelling cover letter that prompts the employer to seek out your skills and experience. Applicants often believe that an introductory letter is not necessary when they have already submitted a resume, but this is just a myth. This crucial piece of paper can make or break your chances of obtaining an interview.

A well-written cover letter has the potential to take your job materials and resume from the bottom of the candidate pool to the top, explains hiring manager Heather Huhman with Focus a significant portion of your job preparation on enticing potential employers with your creativity and professionalism by writing a strong introductory letter, she advises.

Make your cover letter stand out from the rest by including keywords and details from the job description. Describe how your skill set and experience match the qualities and proficiencies the company is seeking. For example, if you have experience working in sales, utilizing software programs and managing equipment the company uses on a regular basis, include this information to show that you are ideal for this position because you already possess the skills required and desired.

A cover letter also gives you the opportunity to show off your professional personality. Identify how you would fit into the company culture. Candidates who note that they are flexible, willing to work within teams and plan to significantly impact the company's productivity and profits are often more appealing than candidates who send in a generic form letter. Avoid using templates for your application materials and customize each letter to adhere to the qualifications, skills and nature of the company from which you are seeking employment.

Show that you are well-informed about the operations and processes of the company through your cover letter. Research significant accomplishments of the company and relay how you would like to be a part of its winning culture. Show how your skills can impact company operations and detail your eagerness to get started quickly and efficiently. Describe how your skills, beliefs and personality are in line with the company's mission and goals. Candidates who take the time to research the company, evaluate its values and mission, and describe how they would fit into the company culture are often more impressive to hiring managers than candidates who don't take the time to really get to know the business.

Candidates who pay close attention to proofreading when writing a cover letter increase their chances of employment by showing off their attention to detail. A letter that is filled with grammatical and punctuation errors often ends up in the trash. Show off your professionalism with each and every word by carefully constructing an introductory letter that is clean, concise and personable.

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  • Francis B.
    Francis B.

    Wish this could work in my country.

  • Blanca Rivera
    Blanca Rivera

    In the country where I live, talent with over 50 are not considered, regardless of cover letter or even your resume must be modified to a very lower entry level.

  • Keith Enste
    Keith Enste

    I have read that the Cover is even more important than you resume in the job search. The reason the Resume informs; the Cover Letter sells.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Larry the truth of the matter is that you need to create an awesome resume and cover letter - even for a part-time job. Although the economy is starting to recover, there are still hundreds of people competing for one job. If you are applying for part-time work online, more than likely your resume is going to go through an applicant tracking software to check for keywords, etc. If the resume/cover letter doesn't contain them, it will be discarded. The world has changed in the past ten years and this is the way things are done now. Of course you might be able to see a help wanted sign displayed in a store and go in and get the position without having to go through an online system. We wish you all the best.

  • Larry H.
    Larry H.

    I can't see getting all the bells and whistles included in a resume considering I am only looking for part time work to keep me occupied. After all I just retired from a major Corporation that bought out Heritage Management and put out millions of dollars upgrading the park as well as 5 other parks in the Cincinnati area. Just need part time work don't need high profile positions any more.

  • Richard M.
    Richard M.

    it depends

  • Erika R.
    Erika R.

    i like it

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Troy there really isn't any right or wrong here unless the job posting gives specific directions. I have always tended to write my cover letter as part of the email text and then attach my resume. But make sure that you read the instructions thoroughly as it will hurt you if they ask you to attach a cover letter and you put it in as part of the email text. Also, make sure that you have clearly identified yourself on the cover letter so that your resume and cover letter stay together. And, make sure that you are including keywords - even in your cover letter - so that it doesn't get thrown out when it goes through the ATS that most companies use today. For instance if you are applying for a software engineer position and have x, y and z qualifications as per the job posting, make sure that you include a mention of those qualifications in the cover letter also. What I like to do is set up a little table in my cover letter: one column has their qualifications and the other my matching skills. It's a quick and visible way for the hiring manager to see if you have what they are looking for. Just a thought - not a requirement. Hope this helps. We wish you the best.

  • Troy FORSTON
    Troy FORSTON

    @Nancy, what are your thoughts on drafting the "cover letter" in the body of the email versus creating another document for the hiring manager to open? While a traditional cover letter (as its own attachment) may seem more professional, I have my doubts that the hiring manager actually opens it.

  • Eric L.
    Eric L.

    thank u

  • Peggy  B.
    Peggy B.

    Hard, enterprising

  • Audrey H.
    Audrey H.


  • James L.
    James L.

    Keep cover letter short and succinct, but to all points outlined above.

  • Chris  Y.
    Chris Y.


  • Ariel  .
    Ariel .


  • Norma T.
    Norma T.


  • Barbara  .
    Barbara .


  • Joseph E.
    Joseph E.


  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Deanna take a few minutes and do a search on samples of cover letters. That should give you a good idea what your cover letter should look like. Best of luck.

  • Mary L.
    Mary L.

    i like

  • deanna r.
    deanna r.

    What does a cover letter look like?

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