Are cover letters important?

Do I really need a cover letter? This is a question clients ask me often during job coaching sessions. Clients tell me they’ve heard employers don’t read cover letters, and that it’s not necessary to include one.

My response has always been to include a cover letter; however, because I’m asked this question so often, I decided to ask area hiring managers this question in my recent survey.

Here are the results from the 60 hiring managers who responded to the question, “Are cover letters important?” 

38% – Important004
37% – Somewhat Important
18% – Not Important
7% – Doesn’t Matter

My recommendation: Always include a cover letter unless the job posting specifically asks you not to. If you don’t, you’re rolling the dice, because you have no idea if the hiring manager is expecting one. In addition, a cover letter provides you with another opportunity to showcase your skills/achievements. You can even include excerpts from performance reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, etc. You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression, and your application materials are that first impression!