Cover Letters: to include or not to include?

While writing, editing, and continuously revamping your resume can all seem like difficult tasks on their own, add writing a cover letter into the mix and its enough to make you throw in the towel.

As discouraging as a cover letter can be it is an important tool during your job search. A cover letter typically accompanies your resume and is essentially an overview of your resume, your interest in the position, the company and a bit about you! Your cover letter should be catered and doctored for each position you apply to. As Allison Doyle, leader of About.com’s job search site, states, the general rule is that your cover letter should complement your resume, not duplicate it.

There has been some debate as to whether or not employers, recruiters and hiring managers actually READ cover letters. Our research has indicated the general consensus is, YES! Believe it or not your cover letter is important and you should not exclude one when submitting your resume. Your cover letter acts as your “first impression” opportunity and we all know that first impressions are lasting. Your cover letter is the first thing an employer will see before they look at your resume and if you don’t take that opportunity to really sell yourself and your skills they may not even bother looking at your resume!

Alison Doyle of About.com states that “Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences (remember, relevance is determined by the employer’s self-interest). They should express a high level of interest and knowledge about the position.”

So yes, this sounds like a lot of work. But, do not fret! All is not lost. Writing your cover letter can be made easy!  You just need to take it slow and follow a few simple steps. We’ve even included some great resources below.