Can anyone offer advice about the value of cover letters.

As a hiring manager, I know I have not read most of the ones that came through.  I probably read a few if the short listed resumes.

They seem to contain information that would come through in a good interview.

So, arn't they just another way to not get an interview, a way to hinder the resume?





mattpalmer's picture

The standard MT guidance is in a podcast (, which, from memory, recommends simply say "this is me, I'm applying for job X, I think I'm pretty well suited, my resume is attached, and I'll harass you on the phone in a few days if you haven't talked to me by then".  All stuff you can ignore as a hiring manager, but it is *awfully* handy if you're hiring for three different positions at once to know which one a particular candidate is after, rather than having to guess.

In case my sarcasm didn't come through, I happen to strongly disagree with the recommendation to tell the hiring manager you'll call to follow up -- or doing it unannounced, for that matter.  Nothing gets you to the bottom of my pile quicker than calling me about your job application.  But I'm sure it must work on some people, else MT wouldn't be recommending it.


Doris_O's picture

As an applicant, a cover letter is a tool I use to draw connections between my resume and the job. I use it to communicate why I'm interested in the position and why I should be considered as a candidate. I use it as a tool to persuade the reader to read my resume and bring me in for an interview. 

As a hiring manager, a cover letter is a tool I use to screen applicants in tandem with their resume. The cover letter tells me if they can communicate clearly and concisely in writing; whether or not they understand what the position entails; if they've done any research about the position, organization or hiring manager. It tells me whether they've put any time, thought and attention into applying for the specific position -- which I weigh heavily before investing the time, thought and attention needed to interview someone.

Mjoyce's picture


Thanks I appreciate the comments.

Seems no cover letter is worse than one that isn't read.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

khushi's picture

Hello i appretiate it

SouthernDad's picture

Cover letters show me that the applicant took the time to search a bit on the website to find my name, spell it correctly and give me a reason to read the resume.  I've seen cover letters with misspellings, some that were obviously photocopied and even a few that were addressed to the person who had the job before me, years in the past.  

Several years ago, I got a cover letter that had a quick intro and a photo the applicant, in a suit, juggling.  It was a professional photo.  Each ball was labeled with an aspect of our industry.  His cover letter made me want to read more.  The resume was good and he went into the INTERVIEW pile.