Should you submit a covering letter with each application to an advertised job?  The answer is – that it depends.  If the job specifically requests a cover letter, then the answer is obvious.  However, if there is no request, rather spend your time and effort tailoring your CV for the position you are applying for.

The truth is that most recruiters or hiring managers don’t read the cover letter.  They focus the bulk of their time reviewing your CV.  Although, on the other hand, there are some instances when cover letters are useful.  Cover letters can be a good litmus test of a candidate’s writing abilities if the position calls for strong written communication skills.

If you wish to submit a covering letter, you should keep it brief and to the point. This is what you should focus on:

The position you’re applying for.

Make sure you mention the position title and where you saw the posting.

The top two or three qualifications you bring to the position.

Again, you don’t need to summarize your entire resume in the cover letter. Succinctly talk about a few skill sets or accomplishments that would be an asset to the job in a few bullet points.

Why your skills are a fit for the position.

This is your opportunity to say in a few short sentences what you bring to the table and show you understand something about the role.

Your interest in speaking with someone further about the position.

Let the reader know you’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with them personally about the role and your qualifications. Make certain to include your phone number so the reader knows where to reach you.

An offering of thanks to the reader for his/her time and consideration.

Manners go a long way in the consideration process. So follow your mother’s advice and always say thank you.

Article adapted from Yolanda Owens blog post, dated 10 September 2012