Do Employers Care About Cover Letters?

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 8, 2021

Related video: How To Write a Cover Letter: Top 3 Tips, Format and Examples**
In this video, Holl at Indeed explains what employers want from a cover letter, the optimal cover letter format and three key strategies for success.*

Cover letters have long been an important part of the job application process. However, some now suggest that modern recruiting methods may make the cover letter obsolete. In this article, we explore whether you still need a cover letter with your resume and provide you with some tips on how to write a cover letter.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples):

Are cover letters important?

Yes, cover letters are still important. Even if your cover letter goes through the application process unread, an employer may still expect to see it attached to your resume. This is especially true if the hiring manager asked for a cover letter as part of the application process. A cover letter also shows the employer that you take the job opportunity seriously and are prepared to take more initiative to be considered for the job. It's also possible the hiring manager will actually look at your cover letter when selecting applicants to interview.

Purpose of a cover letter

A cover letter gives you the chance to highlight anything on your resume in more detail to point out your special qualifications. A resume documents your skills, education and experience. With a cover letter, you can make the connection between the resume and the job. This could mean that you may not have to customize your resume as much for each job application, since you can use your cover letter to show how your skills and experience are relevant. Your cover letter also allows you to show your writing skills, which is important for creative and administrative roles. These could all be important considerations for the hiring manager when selecting quality candidates for an interview.

When do you need a cover letter?

There are occasions when you need to include a cover letter with your resume. These include:

  • When the job application tells you to include a cover letter

  • If the hiring manager or recruiter asks for a cover letter

  • When you know the hiring manager by name or have an existing relationship

  • If someone referred you to the job, in which case you should mention who referred you in the cover letter

Related: How To Include a Referral in Your Cover Letter:

When should you not include a cover letter?

On the other hand, there may be times when you should not include a cover letter with your resume. For example, if the job application explicitly states that you should not send a cover letter or if the application process doesn't provide a way for you to submit a cover letter with your resume, which sometimes happens with online application forms.

How to write a professional cover letter

As you adapt each cover letter to make it relevant for each job application, there are certain things you should include in all of them:

The hiring manager's name

If possible, address your cover letter to the hiring manager. This information may be given on the job posting. Alternatively, you could call or email the company and ask to whom the application should be addressed. If you are unable to get the person's name, you can replace it with their job title, team or department.

Your contact information

Be sure to include your name, email address and phone number on the cover letter. This information will be on your resume as well, but putting it all on the cover letter can help save the hiring manager time. Also, should your cover letter and resume be separated, the hiring manager can still contact you.

The job title

Quote the exact title of the job for which you are applying. You can put this at the beginning of the letter, either on its own line ("Re: Systems Analyst/Programmer position") or in your opening sentence.

The correct tone

Your cover letter should be formal and professional. However, you can adapt your cover letter to fit the style of the business. Check the company's website and social media to help you determine the appropriate tone to use.

What you offer

Discuss how your skills and experience can contribute to the company's success. This is an opportunity to show how much you know about the business. It also allows you to demonstrate how the qualifications on your resume line up with the needs of the company. Look for keywords in the job description and be sure to include them in your cover letter.

A call to action

This is simply a closing line thanking the hiring manager for considering your application, and inviting them to read your resume and call anytime to schedule an interview. If there are times you are not available, this would be a good place to mention them.

Cover letter templates

You can use this template to guide you when creating your cover letter. After you have decided on the information to include, you can change the wording to suit your own formal style and the tone of the business.

Basic cover letter

[Your name, address, email address and phone number(s), either as a header or on the left side of the page]

[Date]

Re: [exact job title] position

Dear [Mr./Ms.] [hiring manager's name],

I was excited to find the above open position at [company name] and would like you to consider me for the job.

As you can see from my resume, I have [relevant recent experience, including the number of years and a brief description of what you did].

[Paragraph providing any additional experience and education that fits with the job requirements and demonstrates your suitability for the position].

Thank you for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me [best time to contact or "anytime" if you have no preference] at the above number if you would like to schedule an interview.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Cover letter with resume attached

If you are writing an email with your resume attached, you can adapt this template to fit that format. For example:

Subject: [exact job title] position

Dear [Mr./Ms.] [hiring manager's name],

I was excited to find the [job title] position at [company name] and would like you to consider me for the job. [A brief statement explaining why you want to work for the company].

As you can see from my attached resume, I have [relevant recent experience, including the number of years and a brief description of what you did].

[Paragraph providing any additional experience and education that fits with the job requirements and demonstrates your suitability for the position].

Thank you for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me [best time to contact or "anytime" if you have no preference] if you would like to schedule an interview.

Sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your phone number(s)]

You can also use this format for online submission forms where space is provided for a cover letter.

Related: Cover Letter Samples and Templates:

Cover letter example

This is an example of a completed cover letter. Use this as a guide to creating your own.

Jasmine Jones
123 Fourth Street
Boulder, CO 80309
jazjones@email.com
(720) 555-5432

Mr. Trent Jennings
Development Manager
CMI Web Solutions
222 Corporate Park Road
Boulder, CO 80301

Re: Web Developer position

Dear Mr. Jennings,

I was excited to find the above open position at CMI Web Solutions and would like you to consider me for the job. I have great admiration for CMI's willingness to explore new technology and also their sense of corporate responsibility. I believe the skills I have will contribute to CMI's continued success and give me an opportunity to grow in my career.

As you can see from my resume, I have worked at Boulder Interactive Solutions for the past five years as a programmer/analyst. While there, I have utilized my Python, CSS and HTML skills to create or redesign numerous client websites. Each of these projects required client interaction and negotiation to bring their vision to life. Also, over the last six months, I have been given supervisory responsibility for two junior developers. This has helped hone my delegation and training skills.

My previous work experience includes maintaining Java-based call center software and developing productivity applications in Visual Basic. In my spare time, I volunteer at a local rescue shelter maintaining the website I developed for them three years ago (www.boulderanimalrescue.com).

Thank you for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me anytime at the above number if you would like to schedule an interview.

Sincerely,

Jasmine Jones

Download Cover Letter Template
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.

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