When Do You Need a Cover Letter?
There's a lot of discussion going around right now about the relevancy of cover letters. Do they even matter anymore? Do employers read them, or do they just go right for the resume? After all, the resume has all the meaty information, so why would anyone bother with the cover letter?
While it's true that most big corporations just strip the resume for keywords and dump the rest, there's really no reason not to include a cover letter. Even if it's optional, a cover letter will never hurt your chances (and it might just help them). A cover letter isn't just rehashing your resume—it's showing off your voice, it's allowing you to frame and contextualize your own story, and it's allowing you to build a brand. Those are powerful assets to have on your side when you want to stand out in a crowd.
So a cover letter is always a good idea, even if a job posting says that it's optional to include one. The only time you should leave one off is when the job listing explicitly says not to include one, or if the application requests specific things that do not include the cover letter.
Index of Cover Letter Examples