Your source for free career tools and tutorials
When to Use a Cover Letter
How do I know when to use a cover letter when dealing with an employer? Each company has its requirements as to how it wants to proceed with the job application process. Cover letters have several benefits and often can better describe you as a person and a potential employee. When you are involved in the job application process they are not always necessary.
Cover letters can be applicable when you are applying for a job, an internship, or trying to get into a graduate program or university.
Their purpose is to briefly tell a story about you and paint a picture for the reader about who you are as a person. Providing more insider details about your plans for the future and what happened in your past to make you the way you are now will aid recruiters in their search for you, the perfect candidate.
When to Use a Cover Letter
The following list contains several examples of when you should and should not use this document. You will find that many positive situations arise from using an effective cover letter. However, other times the material may be unnecessary.
- Using a Cover Letter
While it can often benefit you to use one, following these suggestions and tips doesn't mean that you will be easily accepted by whoever is reading your portfolio.
Your experience and meticulous care with your writing are what will determine your success.
- Unique Story Opportunity
A positive aspect of using one is that if you have a particularly unique story or background, you can make it known to whoever is considering you. Sometimes your diversity or adversity can benefit you in a selection process, especially when applying for certain university programs. Now is your chance to be set apart from the other candidates. To be remembered for some different aspect of your life or history.
- Reveal the Person You Are
Another great reason to use a cover letter in with your professional portfolio is that you have the chance to reveal the type of person you really are. You can express yourself more freely in paragraph form.
When writing a resume, you are restricted to bulleted lists and brief descriptions about your academic and professional history. With a cover letter, you can talk about the experiences that you had and how those shaped your feelings about where you are now.
Sometimes when you explain to someone why you love doing what you do, they are more inclined to want you on their team as they believe you to be genuine.
- Begin to Build Rapport
When you use a personalized cover letter, it helps to speak about your character traits and what makes you the type of person you are.
A potential employer will begin to get a general feeling of the type of person you are, and how you may fit into their place of business.
Building up a positive reputation among everyone that you encounter at the institutions to which you apply is incredibly important. To have a good application process and potentially more success at acquiring the position that you desire.
- Show Some of Your Skills
You have the opportunity to demonstrate some of your skills and certifications by describing them in your writing.
Having certain skills and resources is important to the position for which you are applying. Make sure that you depict some of the knowledge you have gained and specific skills that you have acquired during your time in the field.
- When Wouldn't You Use One?
As we have mentioned above, there are countless positive reasons why you would use a cover letter along with your professional portfolio.
It seems as though after observing all of the great things that you can get from using one, there wouldn't be a time when using one is not needed.
However, when the job application explicitly states not to use one, you should avoid using one. If you feel that it will be ignored or otherwise not read if you attach one, then perhaps it could be in your best interest to save time and avoid using one.
Most of the time cover letters are helpful during your application process. They provide a chance for you to show how valuable you are and why you are a perfect fit for the position which you are applying.
So don't miss an opportunity to help yourself. Assess your situation and make an informed decision as to when to use a cover letter.