When Do I Need a Cover Letter?
A cover letter introduces you and your application, resume, proposal, or bid. Sometimes when you submit your packet, the recipient will ask for a cover letter, but oftentimes they won't. So when do you include a cover letter and when do you leave it out?
Do It For:
- Jobs: Unless the posting asks you not to, always include a cover letter for a job, whether it's advertised, referred, or a cold call.
- Scholarships/Grants: A scholarship is about selling your story and the merit of your request. A cover letter is more important than a resume in this case.
- Volunteer/Internships: Treat these the same as you would for a regular job.
- School: Any application to college, graduate school, or fellowships should include a cover letter.
- Sales/Bids: Proposals and sales pitches should have a cover letter that puts your request in context.
Don't Do It For:
- Interviews: You're there to sell yourself in person, so you really don't need a piece of paper saying the same thing.
- Career Fairs: It's understood that you'll be looking at a variety of companies and even fields during a job fair, so no one will expect a cover letter.
- Rental applications: A landlord is less likely to be interested in your story and qualifications than your credit rating and whether or not you've ever been evicted.
Index of Cover Letter Examples