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I am applying for a job, but they don't ask for Cover Letter. Should I include a cover letter anyway. If I was on the hiring end, I would look straight at the applicant's resume, and if I am interested, invite them for interview.

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I use the resume as a general purpose document. I customize the cover letter to specifically state in what ways my work experience and skills set fit the prospective employer's requirements.

The alternative to writing a good cover letter would be for me to create a different resume for each position I am applying for, and I am not about to drive myself crazy doing that.

You can send your resume as-is without a cover letter but if I were the recipient, I'd throw your resume in the trash. I'd figure that if you won't take the time to make the argument as to why you are a good candidate, I don't have to make the time to read your resume either. I am not about to squint through your resume and make for you your argument as to why we should see you for an interview.

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  • OUCH!!!! I appreciate your candid reply, cover letter it is!!! – Glowie Jul 18 '14 at 23:59
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    @Glowie Make it a good one :) I've seen a few too many carelessly written cover letters. Remember, the prospective employer doesn't know you from Adam, and you are really introducing yourself to the prospective employer in the cover letter. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 19 '14 at 0:22
  • I certainly shall. As it is I tailor each resume to reflect what they are looking for. I make sure I highlight the technologies, and I use same adjectives they mentioned on job announcement – Glowie Jul 19 '14 at 0:33
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    @Glowie You don't need to be super tight on the tecnologies - more than one prospective employer has the unfortunate habit of listing a laundry list without mentioning which technologies are critical to them. In the cover letter, you don't just say you know javascript, you tell them that you are a full stack javascript demon. You are not just a systems engineer, you are a crack systems engineer. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 19 '14 at 1:25
  • Well, I look at the list of technologies and if I ever used it, I explain how I used it to complete a task I am responsible for, i.e. I create PowerShell scripts to update our databases. But I do like "full stack javascript demon" :-) – Glowie Jul 19 '14 at 1:29
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I am applying for a job, but they don't ask for Cover Letter. Should I include a cover letter anyway.

Unless you are applying through a forms-based website that prevents attaching a cover letter, or unless the job posting specifically mentions "no cover letters", then Yes - include a cover letter anyway.

A cover letter lets you expand on your fit for the position. It's less structured than a resume, and allows you to highlight specific areas that make you a great candidate for that specific job, in that specific company.

It makes sense to put some extra effort into your attempt to land a good job. Write a cover letter specifically for each individual application. Include it whenever you can.

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A good resume is like seeing that a smartphone has a 4GHz processor and 8GB of RAM. A good cover is letter is like seeing the first cell phone or smartphone...seeing those pieces in action to spark a narrative in your head that can excite you about concrete possibilities. It's good to have the second ready to follow up if not to lead in.

More formally...Transition Cases:

  1. Converting "Resume and Cover Letter" to "Resume" = when closing thumb and forefinger to grip paper, do not catch front page between fingers.

  2. Converting "Resume" to "Resume and Cover Letter" = look up contact info, contact person, express what you want, wait some time, return to communication medium, download item, open item.

Option #1 puts them in an easy position to correct to the state they want.

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No, don't provide a boilerplate cover letter unless there is something you truly need to share. Not all positions are special snowflakes, a good part of openings can be sufficiently covered by a well-written generic resume.

As of 2018, more and more recruiters are making the cover letter optional and in my opinion they recognize that in some cases it's just a noise, making life just a bit harder for both the candidate and for the recruiter.

Nowadays these positions that explicitly require cover letters have an obligatory field in their online application form; these where it's optional have an optional field. No field? Assume they probably don't need a (boilerplate) cover letter.

If you need to share thoughts that are specific to your fit for that job/company, I am sure every recruiter will be happy to read your letter.

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I do not read resumes submitted without cover letters. I can't take the time to go through your resume without some kind of introduction and sense of who you are outside of your laundry list of employment.

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    My manager just throws cover letters in the bin and then skims CVs for interesting stuff. I guess one's mileage varies quite bit on this issue. – rath May 30 '16 at 9:31

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