Is a Cover Letter Still Required to Apply For a Job?
Cover letters seem to have gone the way of handwritten letters in the mail. Few employers are asking for cover letters these days, and job applicants are happy about it. After all, simply emailing or uploading a resume is a lot easier than customizing a cover letter, right?
However, don’t underestimate the power of a good cover letter. Whether or not one is requested, you may want to consider including a custom cover letter with every job application. While a cover letter often isn’t requested, it may still benefit you to include one. Even one or two short paragraphs gives you an opportunity to do things like:
Explain Job Gaps
If you went off on a long family trip or decided to go backpacking across Europe, you may have a big gap between jobs, which is a red flag for employers. With a cover letter, you can explain the reasons for the gap and even leverage it to look like that gap gave you life skills that you can use in the job.
A cover letter gives you the chance to highlight times you’ve earned promotions and ensures that the hiring manager doesn’t dismiss or overlook your many promotions.
Make Yourself Stand Out
A cover letter allows you to showcase your unique qualities that make you a more qualified applicant. For example, the fact that you cared for your elderly parents at home isn’t a paid job, but in the cover letter you can make connections that show you are the best applicant to work in a daycare center.
Make sure that you carefully proof your cover letter before sending. Because they are customized, there is a greater chance of typos. And however well your cover letter is written, a typo could get you tossed out of the “possible” pile. Include a cover letter, but make sure it’s perfect!