Are Cover Letters Necessary When Applying for a Job?

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When you apply for a job, an employer needs more than a resume to consider you as a candidate. You should also include a cover letter when submitting a job application. This article will answer whether you need a cover letter when applying for a job.

Why do I need a cover letter for a job application?

Cover letters are important when you apply for a job because they let you explain your experience. Effective cover letters are written for specific job postings and can position you as a good candidate for the role. 

You should include a cover letter for these reasons:

  • Cover letters show that you are a qualified candidate
  • Cover letters tell stories about accomplishments and improvements
  • Cover letters let you address questions and concerns

Cover letters show that you are a qualified candidate

Your resume includes the highlights of your work experience, but a cover letter gives you a chance to explain why you are a good candidate. A well-written cover letter can share your personality and build a relationship with your potential employer. 

Cover letters tell stories about accomplishments and improvements

While most resumes include bullet points with key details, a cover letter lets you structure your accomplishments into a story. You can create a story about the goals you’ve set, the lessons you’ve learned, your achievements and the improvements you’ve made along the way.

Cover letters let you address questions and concerns

You know every aspect of your career path, but an employer may need more explanation regarding your professional goals. In a cover letter, you can address any concerns you anticipate or answer questions about your employment history. By handling potential objections proactively, you might improve your chances of getting an interview and advancing in the hiring process.

Cover letter template

Follow the prompts provided to understand all of the essential information. Use the template below to structure your cover letter:

Your contact information: Include your name, phone number and email address so the employer can contact you for additional steps.

Application date: State the date of your application.

Employer’s contact information: Include the employer’s contact details, including the hiring manager’s name.

Job and company details: Mention specific reasons why you have an interest in the job and the organization.

Experience and qualifications: Tell a story about your experience, qualifications and accomplishments.

Expression of gratitude: Thank the hiring team for considering your application.

Formal salutation: Conclude on a professional note with “Sincerely” or “Best regards.”

Signature: Add your signature to a printed letter or type your name in an emailed letter.

Cover letter example

Follow this cover letter as an example of what to include in your job application, replacing the example content with your own experiences and accomplishments as you write your cover letter:

Hannah Lee
123 Main Circle | New York, NY 11110 | 555-555-5555 |

July 1, 2019

Pat Smith
Techno Company
123 Business Blvd.
New York, NY 11101

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing to apply for the Product Manager position at Techno Company. I was excited to learn about this position from my mentor, Lee Chen. As Vice President of Accounts at Techno Company, Lee has always encouraged me to take an interest in the organization. I am inspired by the way the company leads the industry with cutting-edge technology and flawless product launches, especially the recent debut of High-Tech Device v.3.

I have eight years of experience working in product development roles within the technology industry, and the past four years have included management components. In my most recent role, I led a team of 12, handling product launch, support and marketing tasks. I contributed to revenue 25% higher than anticipated, which has allowed the company to invest in developing new leading-edge technology. My effective management systems also led to 15% higher efficiency throughout the product team.

My past roles have allowed me to gain the management, decision making and critical thinking skills that this Product Manager position requires. With my experience and qualifications, I believe I could contribute significantly to Techno Company’s ambitious goals.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this Product Manager position with you further. Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to talking with you in person.

Hannah Lee

When should I apply without a cover letter?

It may not be possible to send a cover letter in some cases, such as when an online application system does not include it. In all other cases, you should include a cover letter in your application, even if your potential employer does not request a cover letter.