Recently, I saw the following question on LinkedIn: “Do I always need to send a cover letter when I apply for a job?” Because I was specifically searching in the Answers area on LinkedIn, I felt the need to introduce my viewpoint.

YES! YES! YES! In my opinion, job applicants should always send a cover letter to the potential employer. First, most employers require cover letters when applying for a position. If the advertisement asks for a cover letter, then send one. Many job applicants ignore some or all instructions in an advertisement; this is the first test of a potential employee.

Next, the cover letter provides a way for the hiring manager to learn more about the applicant – beyond the initial ‘form’ format of a resume. While the resume may offer your past job titles, duties, and dates of employment, the cover letter allows you to go beyond the basic information. In the cover letter, you are able to discuss your accomplishments, additional training, and experiences.

Finally, the cover letter IS your first impression. Many employers read the cover letter prior to reading the resume. Your cover letter will be reviewed before you call the company or before you walk through the door. If your cover letter is dull or contains grammatical errors, the potential job opportunity may be lost. Use your first impression and make it count.