Is an Optional Cover Letter Really Optional?

cover letter

We’ve all been scrolling through a job board and see the infamous “cover letter optional” on a job application. Many candidates jump for joy at the sight of this. Other begin to worry about whether they should include a cover letter or not.

Should I send one anyway to earn some brownie points with the hiring manager or recruiter? Is this just a cruel trick to weed out those who don’t include one? Here is some inside on whether optional cover letters are really optional.

Should I invest time in writing a cover letter?

The quick answer is yes, you should always submit a cover letter, even if it’s optional. Your cover letter is your sales pitch; it’s your opportunity to sell yourself! If you take the time to write a thoughtful, tailored cover letter, you will make a great impression with your prospective employer.

Taking the initiative to write an optional cover letter will tell hiring managers that you are excited about the position and organization. In fact, according to job search expert Hannah Morgan, “When the majority of people take the easy way out and don’t submit a cover letter, then writing one can make a difference if it gets read.”

Thus, spending the time to write a cover letter can mean the difference between you getting an interview. If you’re one of the only candidates to actually writes one, it may just propel you to the top of the lists of candidates.

They make you stand out

A cover letter is your opportunity to illustrate to the hiring manager that you’re a great fit for the job (and the organization). Sure, your resume shows if you are qualified for a particular job. It illustrates if you possess the necessary education and working experiences to perform the job. However, being qualified for the job doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good fit for the role.

Your cover letter provides the hiring manager with valuable insight. It demonstrates your personality and allows them to get a better idea of who you truly are. This is your chance to show that you’re excited about the role. Demonstrate your passion for the role and tell a good story. Stories help bring your background to life and allows your personality to shine through the letter.

The bottom line is, if you write a killer cover letter, it can only improve your chances of getting a call back for an interview!