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Cover Letters: 5 More Reasons to Use One

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Communication skills are important in nearly all jobs. A letter is evidence of these skills.
  3. A letter may convey your personality better than a resume, helping the employer feel that they know you.
  4. 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?
  5. 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?

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