Cursive letter e and number three within a blue circle with a trademark TM
Image of writing materials scattered on a desk (pencils, notepad, phone and keyboard)

When should you submit a cover letter with a resume?

Do you really need a cover letter when you apply for jobs? Maybe you think a resume is enough and a cover letter is just overkill.

Writing a good cover letter takes time. You have to talk about the skills that you’ve already included on your tailored resume, so it seems like double the work. The fact is, cover letters do more than just copy your resume. They allow your personality, voice, and accomplishments to really shine (this is especially important for a competitive job/industry). If you create a good cover letter, it could be the difference between you and someone else getting the job.

Your cover letter is a good way to show an employer what you want them to know about you, why you want the job and what your future goals are.

Our advice?
If they ask for it, send a cover letter.
Job applications nowadays (especially online) are like school work. Following the instructions is half the grade. If they are asking you for a cover letter and you choose not to send it, you get kicked out of the running.

Why?

You didn’t pay attention and follow instructions.

Chalkboard with the question "whats your story?" written on it.

How is a cover letter different from a resume?
Resumes give a brief overview of your career, your job skills, and experience. A cover letter tells a story. A story about you. It’s a chance to show off your personality, excitement for the job and how your skills and experience fit into their business. In short, a cover letter should convince an employer to at least bring you in for an interview.

Is there a time you shouldn’t send a cover letter?
Definitely! If there isn’t a place to upload your cover letter, then don’t worry about it. They’re making it clear that you don’t need to send one.


If the job posting has a list of items you need to send (like your resume, references, certifications etc) and a cover letter isn’t included; you don’t have to send one.


In some cases, an employer may forget to ask for a cover letter. If its a job you really want, and you have a really good cover letter, it can’t hurt to send it. Some employers see this as going above and beyond which could be a sign of a great employee.

Depending on the job, cover letters can make or break your application. Spend some time working up a really good cover letter that you can tweak for different jobs. While a great cover letter could help you land an interview, a terrible cover letter may result in your application on the trash pile. This post can provide some valuable cover letter tips.