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Tuesday Tip: Do I really need a cover letter?

Should you always use a cover letter when applying to jobs? 

I will leave that for your discretion. Personally, I don't include a cover letter each time I have applied for jobs. However, I will provide you with 4 reasons of when to include your cover letter. First, let’s start with the basics. 

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is an introduction or proposal to your resume. The goal is to get the reader to look at your resume. A professional cover letter can contain, 2-3 short paragraphs with some of your key strengths and skills. Example, introduce yourself and tell how you learned about the position in first paragraph; Next, mention key aspects of your experience and strengths and last mention how you believe you are a good match and refer the reader to your resume.  Cover letters are meant to be tailored to each job you apply to. 

When should I include a cover letter?
  1. Required. If the position you are applying for states that a cover letter is required, then definitely include one. This is a no brainer. You want to do everything requested to get to the interview stage.
  2. Relocating. If you are relocating to a different area or another state include a cover letter and a short sentence to when you will be officially in the area. Set the expectation for the reader but be honest. You don't want to step into the phone interview stage to proceed to face-to-face interview and cannot because you haven't moved yet. Be transparent.
  3. Changing Careers. For example, if you have been working in retail as a cashier but want to change careers because you have been in school for Medical Assistant plus you graduate soon; include this in your cover letter. I would assume you are applying for the careers you are seeking. I would suggest lead with your interest in the intro (perusing medical assistant career) and last sentence can be when you expect to graduate or when you graduated. 
  4.  Senior level positions. Senior level positions such as Directors, VPs, President, GM, etc. In my Talent Acquisition Career, I have seen these levels of positions pass their resume's and cover letters first. This population is generally known to network first then apply as required. 
Overall, always keep a draft a your cover letter saved. Be job ready!
Do you use a cover letter each time you apply to jobs? If so, let us know why and why you think it is best.

If you need assistance with a cover letter, reach out to me. Basic cover letter fee is $15 and Professional cover letter fee is $25.

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