The Job Description Doesn’t Request a Cover Letter. Should I Write One Anyway?

As you’ve hunted for a job and read description after description, you’ve probably noticed that some postings request a cover letter in addition to your résumé. Others simply state to submit your application or résumé but don’t mention anything about a cover letter, and most people will just omit it if it’s not requested. But, a cover letter is an important way to highlight your achievements to help you land the job or at least an interview. Check out these reasons why you should write one, whether or not an employer requests one.

Your résumé only says so much. With only one, or maybe two, pages to explain your qualifications, previous experience, and education, you can’t always get everything into your résumé that might convince an employer to interview you. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to share more information, such as why you want the job, specific examples of why you’re qualified for the position, and how you’d be an asset to the company or organization.

You’ll be ahead of the competition. Most people don’t take the time to write a cover letter if one isn’t requested. In this case, when your résumé arrives with a well-written cover letter, employers will take notice. You’ll stand out from other candidates that only turned in a résumé, and have the added bonus of being able to say in your own words why you’re qualified for the job.

The more information you can share with an employer, the better your chances are for an invitation to an interview. Make sure you include a cover letter the next time you apply for a job, and you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.


  1. Lindsey

    I completely agree with this posting. When I have a stack of resumes to go through, I’m going to go to the ones with a cover letter first and pay more attention to their submission than someone who didn’t include one simply because they took their time to show me they were serious about applying. It’s easy to just send in a resume without customizing it, but it takes time to write a customized letter or modify the resume to better fit the job. It’s usually difficult to really tell if a person is worth an interview strictly from a resume, so the cover letter really helps set people apart.

  2. Bobby

    It’s not that hard to just pull a cover letter template off the internet and spend a few minutes modifying it to fit the position you are applying for. Hate to say it HR managers, but if you think that putting a cover letter on a resume indicates putting SO much more effort into an application, you’re wrong…I discussed this with a number of my colleagues and all of them that are currently employed used either a modified template that they spent an average of 2-3 minutes changing to their needs or payed to have their cover letter done professionally and modified it later (essentially they just put another name on it and sent it to someone else).

  3. Tiffany | Express Job Blogger

    @ Bobby – This is an interesting point. You’re right that it doesn’t HAVE to take a lot of extra effort to send a cover letter. So what? That doesn’t mean that people who do take the time and effort to write one don’t benefit.
    If you’ve ever looked at a stack of resumes before, you’ll learn that those “canned” cover letters are pretty easy to spot. And really, that’s not the most impressive thing. Like with most things, in the job search process you get out what you put in.

  4. Lisa

    In these economic times, and with so many individuals vying for the same position, every little bit of extra effort is necessary. As other writers have mentioned, there are so many “canned” templates of cover letters that anyone can produce one. Better yet, write your own, and stand out from the crowd.

  5. Thomas

    If the job ad specifically says “Do not include a cover letter” (or something like that), which I have found a few of them, then do not send it. If you do, more than likely you will be at a disadvantage since the employer may think you do not read instructions. A few employers do this so that inboxes do not get clogged.

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