Cover Letter Really Necessary?

Karee

Goldmember
Is a cover letter really necessary? I feel like I'm regurgitating what is already on my resume to begin with.
I don’t usually send one unless it’s required. Sometimes I will include a cover letter if I believe my qualifications don’t shine through on paper or if there’s something exceptionally pertinent that doesn’t exactly fit on the resume.
 
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Dispatchnewb26

Well-Known Member
A cover letter is your chance to shine. Show the hiring manager who you are as a person. Tell them a story they canr find by reviewing your resume. Also, they most likely won't even read your resume unless your cover letter is engaging. Always opt FOR the cover letter.
 

Heliman81

Well-Known Member
I used one for my first dispatch job to explain my change in career. After that I have and haven't. I don't think it really helped me to be honest, but I wasn't a hiring manager so take that for what it's worth.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
Is a cover letter really necessary? I feel like I'm regurgitating what is already on my resume to begin with.
Universal, not airline specific:

If all you are going to do is regurgitate, don't bother. The cover letter is to make you stand out from the herd, not to restate your qualifications. To say, "look at me!"

Just be aware that, in the modern world of software scanning and parsing resumes searching for keywords, it may or may not get read until the second cut.
 

F9DXER

Well-Known Member
Food for thought -

Where as a resume is generally bullet statements,a cover letter also demonstrates your ability to use the English language correctly. This also includes your thought process in how your paragraphs go together.
 

av8or757

Well-Known Member
Always in my opinion.

You can use it to 'introduce' yourself..

I think addressing it to Dear Hiring Manager is good. But I'm not going to say that's how one has to. To me a cover letter is a way to possibly separate yourself.

Use it to highlight yourself, ,useful traits or skills. That IMO would precede your resume with said things solidying what you highlighted in the cover letter.

Just my two cents.....Everyone does what they feel will work for them.
 

JimAK

Well-Known Member
When I'm hiring for an opening, below is how I go about it. Note: this is just my personal style, but I have several life-long HR friends and I've been to dozen's of resume workshops where long-time HR people have spoken on the topic, so I know that I'm not just some one-off crazy who does it some weird way. Having said that, I'm NOT an HR manager, nor do I work for a large major - I'm just the schmuck in charge of a small OCC so applications for my department come to me first.

I have my "stack of resumes" in front of me (these days, that's just a bunch of emails from job boards), and I sort them into "maybe" and "definitely not" piles (these days, those are just sub-folders in my inbox). Once I've weeded out all of the nonsense applications (really, you're a nurse with a lot of data entry skills?? uhhh, ok?), I go back to my "maybe" pile. This starts out as applications that aren't obviously disqualified, and this pile gets sorted into 2 more piles: 1) ones that I want to look at, and 2) ones that I do NOT want to look at.

Tip: You will make it into my "NOT LOOKING AT YOU" pile with the following characteristics:
- Your resume is more than 1 page
- Your resume is not in bullet point format (or at least "quickly scannable"- i.e. NO PARAGRAPHS!!)
At this step, I haven't even bothered with cover letters... your piss poor resume construction already got you filed in the round file. I don't have a lot of time, and I'm not going to spend it deciphering crappy resumes or long novels, that's for sure.

Now I have a much smaller stack of applications to work with, and these are from people who have taken the time to learn about quality resume construction. They're already two steps ahead because I know:
A) they're qualified
B) they care enough to take the time
C) they're detail oriented enough to fine-tune their resume, and
D) they've just proven they have good written communication skills, because they can tell me a crap load of information in 7 or 8 words.

At this point, I will slow down and actually look at both resumes and cover letters (if included). However, if your cover letter is just a bunch of flowery fluff words, I'll ignore it... and now you're on my nerves, so I'm probably going to ignore your resume also, unless it jumps out and grabs me for some reason. If your cover letter is just a regurgitation of your resume, then I ignore it... and, again, you're now on my nerves (see previous). Only those resumes that have made it through my gauntlet will get a call for an interview.

So... back to the OP's question: A cover letter is NOT necessary, especially if you're applying with hundreds of other people through a job board posting. If your resume speaks for itself (ONE page and easy to scan quickly), then I recommend not including one. If your resume is lacking (because you're new to the world and just don't have the content, or you're changing careers so you don't have much relative experience), then a very short, concise cover letter explaining things can help. If you're not going through a job board, but you're applying to a company based on word-of-mouth openings or a personal recommendation, then I would also recommend including one and explain why you're not applying through "traditional channels".
 

nyk

Well-Known Member
When I'm hiring for an opening, below is how I go about it. Note: this is just my personal style, but I have several life-long HR friends and I've been to dozen's of resume workshops where long-time HR people have spoken on the topic, so I know that I'm not just some one-off crazy who does it some weird way. Having said that, I'm NOT an HR manager, nor do I work for a large major - I'm just the schmuck in charge of a small OCC so applications for my department come to me first.

I have my "stack of resumes" in front of me (these days, that's just a bunch of emails from job boards), and I sort them into "maybe" and "definitely not" piles (these days, those are just sub-folders in my inbox). Once I've weeded out all of the nonsense applications (really, you're a nurse with a lot of data entry skills?? uhhh, ok?), I go back to my "maybe" pile. This starts out as applications that aren't obviously disqualified, and this pile gets sorted into 2 more piles: 1) ones that I want to look at, and 2) ones that I do NOT want to look at.

Tip: You will make it into my "NOT LOOKING AT YOU" pile with the following characteristics:
- Your resume is more than 1 page
- Your resume is not in bullet point format (or at least "quickly scannable"- i.e. NO PARAGRAPHS!!)
At this step, I haven't even bothered with cover letters... your piss poor resume construction already got you filed in the round file. I don't have a lot of time, and I'm not going to spend it deciphering crappy resumes or long novels, that's for sure.

Now I have a much smaller stack of applications to work with, and these are from people who have taken the time to learn about quality resume construction. They're already two steps ahead because I know:
A) they're qualified
B) they care enough to take the time
C) they're detail oriented enough to fine-tune their resume, and
D) they've just proven they have good written communication skills, because they can tell me a crap load of information in 7 or 8 words.

At this point, I will slow down and actually look at both resumes and cover letters (if included). However, if your cover letter is just a bunch of flowery fluff words, I'll ignore it... and now you're on my nerves, so I'm probably going to ignore your resume also, unless it jumps out and grabs me for some reason. If your cover letter is just a regurgitation of your resume, then I ignore it... and, again, you're now on my nerves (see previous). Only those resumes that have made it through my gauntlet will get a call for an interview.

So... back to the OP's question: A cover letter is NOT necessary, especially if you're applying with hundreds of other people through a job board posting. If your resume speaks for itself (ONE page and easy to scan quickly), then I recommend not including one. If your resume is lacking (because you're new to the world and just don't have the content, or you're changing careers so you don't have much relative experience), then a very short, concise cover letter explaining things can help. If you're not going through a job board, but you're applying to a company based on word-of-mouth openings or a personal recommendation, then I would also recommend including one and explain why you're not applying through "traditional channels".
You keep mentioning one page which I agree on. However there are a lot of people with a lot of experience so how far back would one want to go but not cut out pages with pertinent experience?
 

HAYESP11

Well-Known Member
You keep mentioning one page which I agree on. However there are a lot of people with a lot of experience so how far back would one want to go but not cut out pages with pertinent experience?
IMO prioritize what skills/experiences/qualifications you want included in your resume based on the position. For me, not every resume I send has the same stuff on it, as I look at what qualities each job wants and I put my most relevant info in my resume. That way I can keep it to one page and formatted neatly.
 
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