I just filled out six online applications and not one company required it." If you're applying online, a cover letter may not be necessary, but it's still a good idea. If you are applying via a Web site, you probably won't know who to write to; you'll be stuck writing a "To Whom it May Concern" letter if you get to include one at all.
It's an opportunity to personalize your application. But, when working your network, as we advise so often at Careers, you'll be able to e-mail people directly and include a nicely formatted Microsoft Word or PDF document addressed to them personally. Writing a letter also forces you to consider the uniqueness of the opportunity in front of you.
"In another instance, there may be a very strong emphasis on communication skills for a particular job, and there's no better way to get a grasp on that than to see how they write their cover letter.
Lastly, if there's a significant gap in employment—or perhaps a series of short stays in jobs—I want to see an explanation there in the cover letter." The passage of time is most obvious in the cover letter's changing format and appearance.
A quick Internet search turns up many comments from job seekers who are glad to see it go and career experts who say, "Toss it." But some people still advise, "Better write a good one; they're important." I fall into the latter camp—but I do recognize that the role of the cover letter has changed.
No longer do you introduce your resume or industry CV with a letter on the finest linen stationary; the letter will be printed out, if at all, on whatever paper the human resources (HR) department happens to have in the printer.You start to differentiate yourself, to focus on what you can do for them, and to sell that to the company.You should never use a "generic" cover letter that fails to make specific reference to a particular job or reader.My first priority with (name of company) would be to ensure that production is completed according to company standards while continuing to produce products consistent in both quality and design - the two primary elements the final customer will use to judge the product and brand in order to decide whether to become a loyal client or not for us in the future.I wish to thank you for the time taken today to read through this letter and I hope that my (enclosed/attached Resume/C.But before we get to that, I'll talk about how cover letters can be an advantage to employers—even if, as you may have discovered, they don't ask for them very often.Just because you've written a great cover letter doesn't mean that everyone is going to read it.And it's true that a lot of people don't even read cover letters.Yet, the cover letter still serves a purpose that no other part of your application package can serve: It makes a strong, upfront, specific case for your candidacy for the position.I wrote about the importance of succinct writing in part one of this series; the cover letter should carry that forward.You will, in fact, utilize one of those "Challenge-Approach-Results" (C-A-R) paragraphs from part one later in this column.