What is a cover letter? Here’s what it is and what you should include to stand out.

When you apply for a job or internship, companies may ask you to submit several documents, such as a resume or work samples. In many cases, you must also include a cover letter with your application.

According to Indeed, resumes are essentially “condensed data sheets” about an applicant that contain an individual’s education, previous work experience, qualifications, and skills, among other personal information.

But what about a cover letter? What is it and what should be in a cover letter?

If you have some resumes to send and need to improve your professional skills, read on to learn more about cover letters and how to write one.

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What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a written document that you send to a company along with your resume when you apply for a job. According to Indeed, this document contains additional information about your skills and experience in relation to the position for which you have applied.

According to Indeed, there are four types of cover letters:

  • letter of application
  • letter of recommendation
  • letter of interest
  • Letter with value proposition

A cover letter is often the standard for job applications. This type expands on your previous work experience referenced on your resume and relates it to the requirements of the current position you are applying for.

A recommendation letter is a variation of the above, but includes the names of a current employee who recommended you to apply for the job posting.

A letter of interest is a more general inquiry about job openings at a company where you would like to work. This type of cover letter is not about applying for a specific position, but about finding out more about a company’s current hiring prospects.

A value proposition letter focuses on what you can add to a business and what makes you unique. This type of cover letter can often answer “tell me about yourself” questions or requests for personal essays in job applications.

What should a cover letter say?

The main part of a cover letter is personal information, says the University of Washington.

Be sure to include your name and contact information such as cell phone number and email address so the recruiter or hiring manager can easily identify your application and get in touch with you if necessary.

As with any letter, add a greeting before moving on to the main content, e.g. B. “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear (insert contact name).” You can also choose to include the company’s name and address above your introduction.

Express your first interest in the introductory sentence and state the advertised position for which you are applying. You can also indicate how you found out about the job posting, e.g. B. via LinkedIn or an employee recommendation.

In the main sections, describe how your past experiences affect your work ethic. You may also want to highlight your personal skills and demonstrate your qualifications with concrete examples.

In your degree, focus on why you fit the job posting and hone your skills. Make sure to thank the manager for their time and open the door to hear from the employer about next steps.

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How necessary is a cover letter?

Cover letters are important when applying for a job because they give an employer more insight into your initiative and highlight your qualifications beyond what’s already on your resume, says Indeed. A cover letter allows hiring managers to assess how relevant your skills and experience are to the job posting.

According to Indeed, cover letters are required when submitting an application if:

  • The employer pretends to send a cover letter
  • The application asks for a submission
  • You’ve been referred to a job and want to identify the company referral

If an application expressly states that you should not enclose a cover letter, then do not do so.

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