After an evening of applying for jobs in the usual way, with loads of CVs and cover letters written, I slumped onto the sofa next to my roommate and his girlfriend.
I spoke to them about the necessity of writing cover letters. To my complete surprise, my roommate’s girlfriend said she’d never written a cover letter, and always got the job she’d applied for.
I’d always thought the cover letter was an obligatory part of the job application process.
The next day at work I told my manager about the conversation I’d had. She was surprised as well, and explained she’d never accept a job application that didn’t include a cover letter. This was because without a cover letter, she can’t make out the applicant’s quality of written English.
What you’ll be doing
It turns out, some recruitment websites don’t give you the option to post a cover letter. Recruitment Genius is one example of this. Another recruitment site, reed, lets you decide if you want to include a cover letter with your application.
This, combined with what my manager and roommate’s girlfriend have said about cover letters, had lead to me to this opinion: the type of work you’re applying for will determine if you need to write a cover letter with your application.
For any job in communications or marketing, it’s essential. In these fields you’re using written English a lot, so your prospective employer needs to know how good you are with it.
But in other fields, I guess it depends on what your role involves. A job that asks applicants to show personality would require you to write a cover letter, but a job that doesn’t ask this of you probably wouldn’t.
The repetitive summary part
Employers in communications get an idea of your written English skills with cover letters. This makes them vital when applying for jobs in this area.