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Asked by Emily on May 17, 2017

I'm currently applying for jobs, and I want to know if I should be including a cover letter with my resume if the company doesn't specifically ask for one? If so, what should I say in the cover letter?

Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on May 17, 2017

Great question! I think all recruiters have a different opinion on cover letters. For me personally, I do not typically review cover letters and usually only look at the resume. If recruiters are receiving hundreds of applications for a position, they don't always have time to read through cover letters. With that being said, it definitely doesn't hurt you to include a cover letter. If you choose to include a cover letter with your application, I would keep it brief and to the point. Use it as an opportunity to elaborate on your experiences and strengths that maybe weren't highlighted as thoroughly in your resume. You should highlight the skills that most align with the position and company you are applying to so it is not uncommon for candidates to have multiple versions of a cover letter.
Good luck!

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Answered by Allegra, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on May 18, 2017

Hello,
Great question!

Yes, you should always include a cover letter. Unlike your resume, your cover letter rounds out who you are, what you're passionate about and why you are the best person for the job. Additionally, you can leverage your cover letter to discuss gaps between your background and what the company listed in the job posting. A cover letter provides you with perfect opportunity to stand out from other candidates and distinguish yourself as the top choice. Focus on the value you bring to the role and the company, and most importantly, make sure that your cover letters are personalized for every company.

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Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on May 22, 2017

Hello!
This is a question that we hear a lot, coming from both hiring managers and applicants, on whether or not to submit/review a cover letter. We recommend that you should submit a cover letter if the employer specifically asks for it, if you are applying to a position that written communication is used frequently and seen by public (marketing, communications, advertising, legal, etc.), or if you are making a career change. Cover letters are often expected for folks applying to high level positions, as well. It doesn't hurt to send in a cover letter if you've got one prepared, but if a company doesn't ask specifically I would save your time. If you do submit a cover letter, be sure to discuss the company, it's values, and how you would be a good fit for the organization and how you can contribute to the overall goal.

Best of luck!  

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