Welcome to the next installment of our You Asked, We Answered blog series, where we tackle the most pressing job search questions. This week, we dive into the second most requested topic: cover letters. These documents have been a staple in job applications for decades, but in today’s fast-paced world, many feel their necessity is up for discussion.

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a short, supporting document that gets submitted along with a resume for a job application. At first, submitting an additional document describing your skills and experience may seem repetitive when you’re already providing a resume that details this very information. Still, a cover letter aims to align your skills and experience with the specific role you’re applying to and communicate why you’re interested in the opportunity.

Do I Need a Cover Letter?

It’s safe to say that if a job application requires a cover letter, you should definitely submit one. Alternatively, it’s best to refrain if a job application specifically asks candidates NOT to submit a cover letter. In other scenarios where cover letters are optional, what should you do? Here’s what our staffing experts recommend:

Jennifer DeLucia, Director of Staffing: “Yes. Writing a brief cover letter is always in good form. It will give you the chance to fill in the gaps on your resume, demonstrate your enthusiasm, and showcase your relevant skills. Even if some hiring managers don’t read each and every cover letter, if yours is tailored well enough to the position, it will get you noticed.”

Kayla Robinson, Recruiter: “Writing a cover letter gives you an opportunity beyond your resume to discuss your skills and qualifications for the position. Don’t necessarily copy exactly what it is on your resume, but by highlighting your skills and experience, you can show strong reasoning for why hiring managers should take a closer look at your candidacy. It also gives you the chance to dive into why the position and the organization itself piqued your interest and the value you can bring to the company. Writing a cover letter will show hiring managers that you are someone who goes the extra mile, and that is always an advantage!”

Aside from showcasing your skills, a cover letter can give you a competitive edge in a crowded job market. The extra effort to tailor each cover letter is worth it if it’s the key to securing an interview. So, don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted cover letter!

Stay tuned for our last You Asked, We Answered blog post next week, and be sure to subscribe to our blog to receive job search tips straight to your inbox!