Q:

Are cover letters necessary?

A:

Quick Answer

Cover letters are necessary in many cases. Even when a person isn't required to submit a cover letter for a job, the letter is an extra opportunity to make a case for an interview. When applying online, sending a cover letter to the hiring manager is often a critical step.

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Full Answer

A cover letter allows an applicant to state a case in a narrative format for getting the interview. The applicant is able to deliver a strategic message that ties together education, work experiences and abilities to motivate the interviewer. For some open positions, the cover letter is required, and failure to submit one may lead to an automatic rejection of the application.

Cover letters also provide an additional resource through which a hiring manager or committee member can screen applicants for qualifications. If a resume doesn't clearly depict a particular skill or experience, the cover letter may.

Many employers have online application processes. In some cases, they don't allow for electronic submission of a cover letter. However, sending a cover letter to the hiring manager allows an applicant to differentiate himself from the competition and possibly gain an advantage. The cover letter, along with a resume, can sell the hiring manager on the candidate before he begins searching through online applications.

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