The Importance of a Great Cover Letter

John Krautzel
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With some career experts claiming that cover letters are no longer necessary, many job seekers find themselves leaving this document out of their application packets. In reality, the cover letter is a vital document with several advantages that make it worth your extra time and energy. Check out these five reasons why a great cover letter is an important piece of your job search preparation.

1. Make a Good First Impression

While most resumes serve as a list of educational experiences, career endeavors, job skills and qualifications, cover letters go a step further by letting you make a personal connection with the hiring rep. Use this opportunity to let your personality shine by sharing an impressive accomplishment from your career or explaining why you're so passionate about the industry. Make the most of your cover letter by addressing the document directly to the hiring manager.

2. Set Yourself Apart From Other Candidates

When all the resumes submitted for a particular job start to look the same to hiring reps, your cover letter provides an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. Rather than using cliché phrases and boilerplate language, be genuine in your cover letter. Whether you're enthusiastic about the industry or passionate about career challenges, let your unique voice be heard.

3. Prove You Can Do the Job

Your resume may list job experiences and educational degrees that qualify you for the position, but it doesn't prove that you can handle the work. Use your cover letter as a chance to show off your knowledge of the industry, demonstrate your ability to perform the functions of the job and describe past achievements that can solidify the hiring organization's confidence in you.

4. Explain Your Resume

Your cover letter also lets you clarify irregularities in your resume. If there are gaps in your work history, use your cover letter to explain why you took time off from working or how you performed volunteer work while you were laid off from your previous employer. If you have a nontraditional work history, the cover letter lets you explain this well in advance of any job interview.

5. Demonstrate Attention to Detail

Submitting a cover letter and resume that are well-written and impeccably formatted shows your attention to detail. Creating a flawless resume and cover letter shows that you're a detail-oriented worker with the ability to organize information and present it professionally.

Build your professional arsenal for any job search by creating a resume and cover letter that let you shine. Your resume shouldn't stand alone; a well-written cover letter gives you a chance to let your personality shine, differentiate yourself from other job candidates and provide greater detail than a resume allows.

Photo courtesy of Roger Bakker at



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  • Bret B.
    Bret B.


  • Suzanne G.
    Suzanne G.

    heres something to help after called for interview please note time day and who interview you write a Thank-You to that person and let them know you are still interested in working for there company

  • JessiLouise M.
    JessiLouise M.


  • Joe W.
    Joe W.

    I think hiring managers turn to the work history because it gives them something to ask about -- see where you have. You could find different ways to address this in interview. For instance, list experience and skills and the have a shorter list of previous experience. Invite them to ask about those jobs, and then map back what you did to the position you are applying for -- connect the dots by sharing something you learned that will help you succeed in the current position. If the job of the resume is to get the interview, the job of the interview is to get them to remember you as someone they they might like to work with who they think could do the job.

  • Joe W.
    Joe W.

    Sonia, if you are making it to the interview, then your initial cover letter and resume have done their trick! The first role of the resume is to get the interview by matching the experience they are looking for. But, you could have a second version of the resume that you bring to the interview that focuses on the skills and current status.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Sonia it's tough when your work history doesn't display your passions. When you get to that point in the interview, tell them that you are in the process of changing careers. Explain your passion for your new career. Let the interviewer see your excitement about the change. Then indicate how some of your past work experience can help you in your new career. We all have some experience from our past positions that would be beneficial in the new position/career. Dig deep and find that so that you can communicate that both in your cover letter and during the interview. Hope that helps.

  • Sonia R.
    Sonia R.

    Hello John, my experience lately is as I sit in front of the person interviewing me and they have my resume in front of them they immediately turn the cover page over and go straight to " work history" and with my resume I have changed career so my work history is not as important as my current status and my goals.
    What are your thoughts on this ?

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