QUESTION: Should I always include a cover letter with my resume even if they don’t ask for it? 

Edward Lawrence, Getstarted LLC

A hiring manager told me, “I don’t always read the cover letters, but I go first for the applications that include one.” In addition, a cover letter enables you to go beyond your résumé and show your passion. Most people don’t do that. Don’t dismiss a chance to differentiate yourself from the other applicants.

Lisa Hebert, LMH Advisors, Inc.

The only time I recommend NOT including a cover letter is when the posting specifically says not to. If it’s optional, always include one. The cover letter is a perfect way to more personally introduce the reader to who you are, why you are the best choice, and how you can help them. Tailor each letter to the job description. The cover letter must be succinct and well written.

Grant Cooper, Strategic Resumes & Business Plans

As someone who has advertised for positions, I can assure you that candidates who respond, not only with a sharp, attractive resume, but also with a cover letter specifically reaching out to the opportunity, can expect to receive the best response. The cover letter also provides a creative platform to identify those “pain points” that the company is hoping a new hire will be able to address.

Jane Roqueplot, JaneCo's Sensible Solutions

Yes.The only time you do not include a cover letter with your resume is when you respond to an advertised position that states, “Do NOT include a cover letter” and you’ll not often see that instruction! It is an instruction and you will demonstrate that you follow instructions. Otherwise, include a cover letter even if the announcement indicates that a cover letter is an option.

Louise Duffield

Yes! I believe a cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself to a recruiter or hiring manager, it instantly demonstrates you are motivated and can help add further details which your resume cannot do. For example, explaining career gaps, highlighting your transferable skills (important if you are applying for a role in a new industry) and can set you apart from other candidates.

Nancy Grant

Yes. I always encourage my clients to submit a cover letter with their resume. The cover letter is your opportunity to provide a compelling case for why the employer would want to interview you. Giving examples of specific accomplishments that apply directly to the position not only enhance your application, but begins a dialogue with the employer.

Donna Tucker, CareerPRO Resume Center

No. Follow directions. When applying online, if there is no place in which to upload your cover letter separately, then they don’t want one. And don’t ever include your cover letter in your resume file (unless instructed to do so). However, if the employer has asked you to email your resume, copy and paste your properly addressed cover letter within the body of the email. Make it short.

Ginger Korljan, Take Charge Coaching

Some employers never look at cover letters. Other employers will discount an applicant if they don’t include one. Therefore, it is always best to include one unless you are specifically asked not to. When writing a cover letter, make sure that you let the company know why you are specifically applying for this particular job at this particular company. Generic letters will get a generic response.

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