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When It’s Okay to Skip the Cover Letter

By Jeremy Cyrus 01/26/2013
When It's Okay to Skip the Cover Letter

You're about to submit an application for a position you discovered online, but the company would like you to apply using their own submission system, and the system will only accept one file. If you upload your resume, you'll have to skip the cover letter. Should you find a way around this obstacle and make sure you somehow manage to submit both? Are a resume and cover letter a dynamic duo that should never be separated? Or are there times when it's okay to send your resume into the fight all alone? Here are a few occasions when your resume will have to be strong enough to carry the team.

1. When only a resume has been requested

If the employer gives specific instructions to send only a resume, by all means, comply. Some employers do this to simplify the way files are accepted and stored, and some do it to complete a faster first round selection process. In this case, sending a letter won't show that you're willing to go the extra mile; it will only show that you have trouble following directions.

2. When your resume will be placed automatically into a database

If your resume will clearly end up in a large database, make sure you include everything you need to say within the resume body and summary section, since the two will probably be separated and the letter may be discarded. Use plenty of relevant keywords throughout the text.

3. When you're handing your resume over in person

When you visit a job fair or speak to a recruiter, there's no need to leave behind a cover letter along with your resume unless asked.

4. When time is of the essence

The job you're reaching for is a long shot, and you have another, far more realistic application to send by the end of the day that may require considerable time to complete. There's no need to let the long shot go altogether—Just get your resume in the door and start making more efficient use of your time.

5. Almost never

Aside from the situations above, it's almost always a good idea to take a few extra minutes and draft a professional, persuasive cover letter to attach to your resume. Cover letters are humanizing and memorable, and they help you tell your story in a way that a resume can't always do alone. For drafting and formatting help with both aspects of your application, visit Free Resume Builder today.

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