Many job seekers wonder whether they should send a cover letter with their resume when they are applying for a job that didn’t specifically ask for one. Technically, because it isn’t listed in the job advertisement, you don’t need to send a cover letter. However, neglecting a cover letter could hurt your chances of getting the job. Read on to learn why you should always send a cover letter with your resume.
Cover Letters Say What Resumes Can’t
Resumes are structured so that each job is listed along with your responsibilities and achievements. However, because resumes are so structured, it’s easy for a manager to overlook something important. Fortunately, when you write a cover letter, you can highlight a specific achievement, point in your career or pertinent job so that it stands out from other things included in your resume. Cover letters can also be used to explain the story behind a nontraditional job that you held or a gap in your employment.
Speak Directly to the Prospective Employers
You’ve probably heard that you should tailor your resume to suit the job that you’re applying for, however, it isn't always possible when you’re applying numerous jobs. It’s much easier to create cover letters for specific types of jobs within your industry, and even more specific details for the company that you hope to work for. Take the time to create a cover letter that tells the hiring manager about your perspective on the industry, why you want to work for their company and why you would be a good fit.
Set Yourself Apart from Other Applicants
If a cover letter wasn’t specifically asked for in the job advertisement, chances are, a lot of people are going to send resumes without cover letters. By sending a cover letter with your resume, it instantly sets you apart from other applicants and communicates that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get the job.
Take Control of Follow-Ups
Don't leave the next point of contact up to the potential employer. Instead, use your cover letter to retain control of what happens next. In your closing tell the hiring manager that you'll call them to follow up on your resume at a specific time and date. This way, you don't have to worry about playing the waiting game. You already know that you're going to follow up with the potential employer, which allows you to relax a little bit and spend time pursuing other opportunities.
Ultimately, everyone needs to send a cover letter with their resume. Whether you need to use your cover letter to explain an employment gap or you want to highlight your career achievements, a cover letter lets you communicate more effectively than you can with just your resume.
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