Everyone has an opinion as to what the correct answer is for this question. It will always be an adamant yes or no with many reasons as to why. The main reason for “No” is because there is no place for it in the digital age, literally. Online applications often don’t even have an area to upload a cover letter so why should you spend the extra time and effort creating one?

Cover Letter

Despite our love affair with all things tech, finding a job (and getting the job) is still a people based endeavor.  The best way to secure a position is through networking and when sending your resume through e-mail to a contact you HAVE to include a message in the body, right? That message is your cover letter.  Developing a cover letter that you can customize to each position before you start your job search will help you stay one step ahead of the process and put you in a position to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

It is your responsibility as a job seeker to build value in your experience especially if it isn’t related to the industry you are interested in.  A cover letter forces you to highlight what really matters and can serve as preparation for your interview by forcing you to draw parallels between your various experiences and the desired position.

The other reason for not writing a cover letter is that “no one reads them.”  That may be the case 85 percent of the time but for the other 15 percent what is in the cover letter is extremely important. Since you can never know ahead of time where that employer falls you should err on the side of caution and provide one.

Treat a cover letter like a resume, without one you won’t get a job. Set yourself apart from all the other applicants by taking that extra step. So the Career Services answer is “Yes, you need a cover letter.”