Covering the Cover Letter

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,

I have two questions that I hope you can address: What’s the secret to a good cover letter? And is a cover letter even necessary these days?

Dear, “C.L.,”

I have been asked to address the cover letter question by a few readers as I know it’s a hot topic when it comes to searching for a job. I can’t tell you how many cover letters I have seen over the years that look like a generic template and a game of plug-and-play (insert name here… insert date here…. etc.) I’ve even seen cover letters that have a different color font where the hiring manager’s name is supposed to go… a tell-tale sign that it is a standard form letter that has been forwarded or used countless times.

My advice is this…

  • If you’re writing a cover letter just because you think it’s the right “protocol”… Don’t bother.
  • If you plan to reiterate the content of your résumé in your cover letter… Don’t bother.
  • If your cover letter is not a quick, relevant read… Don’t bother.

I, personally, only think a cover letter is necessary if you’re changing careers or if you need to clarify certain things that your résumé can’t explain alone. A cover letter can also serve as a nice personal touch if you recently spoke to someone (say, a hiring manager) about a position. You can use the letter as a thank you for their time and consideration as well as to reiterate 4-5 key reasons why you would be a good fit.

I found the following article on CareerBuilder that I think “covers” the cover letter question very well. I encourage you to take a look:

Okay HR and Hiring Managers… we want to hear from you. Do YOU think cover letters are necessary? Do you even read them? Please post your comments here!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Reasons for No Résumé Responses « Job Talk with Anita Clew
  2. Keron
    Sep 10, 2012 @ 00:06:46

    It’s not new that a cover letters is really an essential part to have a proper job in many companies and nowadays it’s almost everywhere. I believe those people who follow cover letter etiquette they most opportunities.



  3. Trackback: Have Diploma. Will Work. « Job Talk with Anita Clew
  4. designdakotastyle
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 17:10:57

    I am probably old school but I love cover letters and the reason is that somebody had to take the time and show attention to detail. A resume objective can be generic enough to work for varying companies. A good cover letter has the hiring person’s name, company information & details where they heard about the job. But most of all it shows they took the time to care.

    I would agree that the cover letter should in no way be more than a couple paragraphs and a 5 second read. I also don’t want to know the extenuating circumstances of your life – just a couple of lines expressing interest in the job and a proper greeting – not “dear sirs or madam…” But I do want to see one.



  5. Isidro Ornelas Jr
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 13:10:00

    I believe that a c/v should have alot of intiative and confidence in the job opening you’re desiring . You should be kind and considerate because the one who would have to read would skim it and see it as a path of less resistance . And then maybe consider reading it,, because I do not beleive that if the interviewer reads youre resume that he or she will volunteer to read your c/v . And do not go over board about describing your self , because then he or she might think you’re trying to brain wash them . And you would not beleive the job competition tatics hungry people will use that can turn off there interviewers . And possibly disqualify a good canidate for a job they are right for . A note a few years doing job search I can be hired for a Job counselor with alot of experience . Just teasing but I havent gotten hired for a full time job as of yet I .



  6. Tiffany Lieu
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 14:15:30

    Unless the employer requests a cover letter for the job I am applying, I do not spend time creating one. They have a tendency to take time as I have to keep in mind what other information I am unloading aside from what I have already revealed in the resume. And, I also have to remember that I need materials for the first impression interview. Besides, employers are not even spending enough time sifting through the cover letters people painstakingly write to them. So, generally I rather not spend the time creating one voluntarily during most applying.



  7. pravinchn
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 08:23:30

    Dear Anita, can you please send me a very good Professional CV along with the cover letter for a Teacher with Special Education in Mentally Retard background with 4 to 5 years of experiences .
    It will be a great favor from you.
    Thanks and regards,



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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