“How important is a cover letter… really?" Many industries use cover letters as candidate selection tools. It is always best practice to include a cover letter as you never know which HR professional or Hiring Manager prefers them.
Industries that require cover letters:
- Public Sector (municiple, provincial, federal government)
- Educational Institutions
- Non-for-Profit sector
- Public Relations/Marketing Industry
- Customer Service and Sales
A well written cover letter will stand out in a crowd of applicants with similar qualifications and skills. This is your chance to talk about additional skills and attributes, and put forth your enthusiasm and company knowledge that are not mentioned in your resume.
- Find out about the industry, the company and the department.
- What are their goals?
- What issues or challenges do they face?
The more you understand their business, the more accurately you can present yourself as the person for the job.
The cover letter can also help overcome weaknesses in the resume. Lack of experience, gaps in work history, unrelated work experience or a change in career or industry can be explained in your cover letter. You can downplay these negatives by positioning yourself in a positive way.
Don’t forget! The purpose of your resume and cover letter are to get you to the all important interview.