A cover letter is required, not just important, in the following cases:
- If the job offer requires a cover letter.
- If the employer, hiring manager, or recruiter requests one.
- If you’re applying directly to a person and know their name.
- If someone has referred you for the position.
- If you know something about the job and the position.
However, cover letters aren’t always necessary. For example, you might not need a cover letter if you’re applying online. Some applicant tracking systems don’t allow candidates to submit them. If that’s the case for you, you don’t have worry about a cover letter.
Is cover letter important?
About 26% of recruiters read cover letters and consider them important in their decision to hire. Another study on employer preference suggests that 56% want applicants to attach a cover letter to the resume. A CareerBuilder study found that 49% of HR managers consider a covering letter the second-best thing to give your resume a boost (number one being customizing your resume.)
What does that mean for you?
Let’s say that most recruiters don’t read cover letters. But at the same time, half do expect to get one. Strange, right? Think about it this way: Even if recruiters don’t read cover letters, they might want to pass them to the hiring manager or employer. If the company is small, employers read cover letters to vet their candidates. The fewer the applications, the easier it is to focus on each candidate. Plus, companies receive hundreds of resumes for most openings. To get the job done, they might reject resumes that are too long or are missing a cover letter.
When not to include a cover letter?
Short answer: when the job posting explicitly states you cannot submit a cover letter.
Here is a link to sample cover letters to assist you: