I am looking to apply to a test automation position and on the online application it asks me to attach my resume, but then it has a text box with a caption along the lines of "You can use the following space for a cover letter and any extra information". I have never written a cover letter and I've only had two jobs (one previous to my current position) so I have been able to include most of the information in my resume.

Is it enough to just include my availability and best form of contact (specifically mentioned as part of the "extra information") or should I write a cover letter?. I'm applying for IT jobs in the USA.

  • Location and industry? Cover letters are common in the US and most European countries have a similar concept but they aren't universally used.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 15, 2016 at 9:17
  • Edited your question to drop Q2 and keep the focus on one core question. If you still want to ask Q2, check for duplicates first, then submit it as a second question.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 15, 2016 at 9:18
  • 1
    I work in IT in the USA Jan 15, 2016 at 11:41
  • If the job asks for a cover letter, write one and include it.
    – Brandin
    Jan 15, 2016 at 14:38
  • Does this answer your question? Is a cover letter really necessary?
    – gnat
    Aug 5, 2020 at 5:26

3 Answers 3


The answer will always be "it depends." A cover letter should read more like a personal mission statement, which explains why you're looking for a job. The resume/CV should back up that mission statement with qualifications.

In general, more senior people benefit most from cover letters as it gives them a chance to explain their career and how they will fit in the new company. If you write a cover letter, always do the research and make it company specific.

Some Reasons to include a cover letter

  • You have many years of experience and would like to highlight some of your accomplishments that might otherwise get lost in a resume/CV.

  • You are looking for a very specific job, and would like to explain what you're looking for and why to the hiring manager.

  • You feel you would be a good fit for this company, and would like to highlight why you feel this way.

  • You feel something on your resume/CV needs explaining.

Some Reasons NOT to include a cover letter

  • You have done no research about this company. You may take yourself out of the running with a cover letter that doesn't align with how the company sees itself.
  • You are new in your field, and are really just looking for a job. Don't waste the hiring manager's time with a boiler plate cover letter.
  • You are at a job fair or other networking event where resumes/CVs are handed out. Be sure your resume is a single page as well.

Your cover letter should convey at least three points: Why you are interested in the position, why the employer should be interested in you, and a good method of contact for you.

So start by identifying the position, how it fits your career objective, how you heard about it, and why that particular position interests you. Then flesh out a couple paragraphs that draw attention to your resume, your qualifications. By no means rehash what's in the resume, think of this section as an opportunity to show how your skills and experience make you a good fit. Make sure you prospective employer knows that you understand the position, and that in the position you can churn out results!

Make sure you close your cover letter by putting together a workflow for getting in contact with you, even directly requesting an interview. Make sure you sign it, make sure you personalize it for your position/employer, limit things to one page business format, and basically just remember to draw attention to yourself as a prospective employee!

Some online tutorials and sample cover letter are helpful to sift through, find a format that's minimal, elegant and professional.


The objective of a cove letter is to get them to read you CV.

So first part say you are interested in the job. Them highlight parts of the CV where you fit the bill (cover both the technical aspects of the role and also the soft skills). The finally add that your availability for interview. Please get yours faithfully/sincerely correct as well depending on the salutation

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