Cover Letter: Relic or Relevant?


You’ve just finished crafting the perfect resume to apply for a job and you come across the “Cover Letter Optional” line of your application; what do you do? There is much debate over whether the cover letter is still a relevant part of the application process, or if it is simply a waste of your precious time.  It is impossible to blanket an entire job market with a yes or no to this question. Whether your cover letter is still relevant in your career field depends on a variety of factors. Check out the factors discussed below to see if your job application will benefit from a cover letter, or if it is a good idea to craft a different way to make your job application stand out.


When To Write a Cover Letter


When it is Mandatory


A cover letter is absolutely relevant and necessary if it is stated anywhere in the job application or listing that a cover letter is required. In this case, the hiring manager will most definitely be paying particular attention to your cover letter, making it the ideal opportunity to express yourself in a way that your resume and other documents will not allow.


A Creative Job Field


If you are applying for a job in a creative field, a cover letter is an opportunity to showcase your creative talent. Be sure to craft a unique cover letter that highlights your creative writing talent relative to the job you are applying for.


When Not to Write a Cover Letter


Other Documents are Stronger


If the cover letter is optional, you may make the decision that you have other documents that may make a stronger case for your talent. In place of a cover letter, consider attaching a portfolio, link to professional website, or recommendation letters to your job application. These additions provide hiring managers with a new and refreshing application to look through.


Instructions Explicitly Say No


If an application specifically says not to include a cover letter, do not include one anyway. Resist the temptation to set yourself apart by including a short cover letter because this may be a hiring managers opportunity to test your ability to follow directions.


            As you can see, there are valid arguments for and against including a cover letter in your job application in today’s competitive job market. The general conclusion seems to be that for the most part, if you are given the opportunity to include a cover letter; take it as an opportunity to market yourself and showcase your personality on your job application.


Written By: O.Greendyk