Are Cover Letters Mandatory? (Carrier Advice)

There are times when you need to apply for a job and submit a cover letter. It may be required by law, or it might simply be part of the application process. In this case, it’s not mandatory. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd, then submitting your credentials in written form can give your candidacy an edge over other applicants who don’t take these extra steps.

Ask a Career Advisor | Are Cover Letters Necessary?
Cover letters can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and provide additional information about your qualifications.
Cover letters can still play a valuable role in the job application process, even if some argue they are outdated.
Whether or not to include a cover letter ultimately comes down to your own personal preference and the requirements of the job.
Sending a cover letter as an email requires attention to formatting and composition.
Tailoring your cover letter to your new career path is important when changing fields.

Are Cover Letters Mandatory?

To answer the question of whether or not cover letters are mandatory, it’s important to understand that not all companies require them. Some companies won’t even read your cover letter if you don’t get it to them before their application deadline. 

This is because they typically only have time to read the resume and check off if there are any glaring issues with spelling or grammar.

If you’re applying for a position through a large company’s website, then chances are that they’ll have their template for you to use when completing an application form. 

In this case, there will most likely be a spot where you can attach your cover letter as well as upload your resume so that they can see both documents at once (especially useful if you’re applying for multiple positions). 

If this isn’t the case and instead requires only one file per document type resume or cover letter then make sure those files are named correctly so that human resources personnel can easily identify which document is which when sorting through piles of applications later on down the road!

A well-written cover letter can be the key to standing out in a sea of job applicants. As we discuss in our article on the importance of cover letters, it can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and provide additional information about your qualifications.

The Purpose Of A Cover Letter

A cover letter is a written document that accompanies your resume when you’re applying for a job. Its purpose is to introduce yourself, explain why you are interested in the job and how you can contribute, and show the employer that you are serious about the position.

Cover letters should be tailored to each position for which you apply; there’s no one-size-fits-all template. However, if done correctly, writing an effective cover letter will save countless hours spent on applications because if done correctly it demonstrates how well suited you are for the job.

How To Write An Effective Cover Letter

The first step to writing an effective cover letter is to focus on the job description. Take note of the responsibilities and qualifications they’re looking for, and make sure that you have those in mind as you write your cover letter.

Next, make sure that every cover letter is personalized for each job application. This means including details about why you want this particular position, how it fits into your career goals or any other relevant information about yourself that will make them want to hire you over someone else who doesn’t mention these things on their resume or in their interview.

One major thing people often forget when writing a cover letter is how important brevity can be! If they have to spend time reading through pages upon pages just trying to find what they need then chances are good they’ll get bored before even getting halfway through reading everything on there (not good). 

So keep it short and sweet one-page maximum, please! With this being said though don’t be afraid of using bullet lists if necessary the main idea here is that whatever needs to be said should be said quickly so not much else needs doing besides highlighting some key points about yourself where applicable.

While some may argue that cover letters are outdated, they can still play a valuable role in the job application process. As we explore in our article on whether cover letters are outdated, they can show your attention to detail and help you stand out in a crowded job market.

Cover Letter Length

As we’ve discussed earlier, a cover letter should be no more than one or two pages. This is because employers are not going to go through pages and pages of writing to see if you are qualified for the job. They will most likely scan your application, which is why you want to make sure that everything you need to convey is included on the first page of your document.

There should also never be more than 2-3 sentences within each paragraph in your letter because this can be overwhelming for an employer who isn’t familiar with your work and doesn’t know how much information they need from reading just one paragraph at a time.”

Cover Letter Format

Use a simple, easy-to-read format. Don’t try to make your cover letter too fancy or formal simply state that you’re applying for the position and why you want to work there.

Use a standard font. Most hiring managers will be able to read your cover letter with no problems, so don’t use a weird or hard-to-read font just because it looks cool! Stick with Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, or another commonly used font so that hiring managers can read your letter easily and quickly.

Use a standard font size. Your cover letter should be legible on any computer screen at any size so choose one of the standard fonts (listed above) in an appropriate size depending on where it will live online (i.e., if it’s going into an email vs being uploaded somewhere). 

For example: if you attach your cover letter as part of an online application form on LinkedIn or Indeed then use 10pt; if attaching as part of an email then use 12pt; or 13pt for printed letters (if sending snail mail).

Personalize Your Cover Letter For Every Job Application

If you’re applying for a job and a cover letter is required, it’s important to personalize your letter. That means using the name of the person you are sending it to (if applicable) and also referring to other elements of the application process, such as:

The company and its website

The position and its description

Any specific information about yourself or your skills that were included in your resumes, such as awards or special training

How To Address A Cover Letter?

When addressing a cover letter, it is important to get the name of the person you are sending it to correct. If you are not sure of the person’s name, use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiter.” You can also ask someone who works at the company for their name if you know that they do hiring.

It is also important to make sure that your cover letter is addressed properly before sending it out. The best way to ensure this happens is by using proper formatting and checking over everything multiple times with a fine-toothed comb.

When applying for a job, it’s important to consider whether or not to include a cover letter. As we discuss in our article on the necessity of cover letters, some employers may require one, while others may not. It ultimately comes down to your own personal preference and the requirements of the job.

Everything Your Resume Doesn’t Tell The Hiring Manager, You Should Put In The Cover Letter

A cover letter is a written document that accompanies your resume. It is an opportunity for you to highlight the skills and attributes that make you a good fit for the job and demonstrate those in action. A well-written cover letter will help differentiate your application from other candidates, leading to better opportunities for interviews and offers.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand what a cover letter should look like or how it should be written and they’re missing out on one of the best ways to stand out as an applicant! We’ll go over what goes into a great cover letter so that when you do write yours (or have someone else do it), it will be much more likely to showcase why you’re qualified for the job.

What To Include In A Cover Letter?

A cover letter is not a laundry list of your accomplishments, but rather an opportunity to explain why you’re the best candidate for a job.

It’s also important to show that you care about the company and understand its mission.

Your Cover Letter Should Contain

A brief introduction of yourself and your qualifications, including why you are applying for this particular job.

An explanation of why you would be a good fit for this position, how your skills and experience could benefit them, and what kind of impact you’d like to have on the team or organization.

A statement about why you are interested in working at this company/organization, what excites or interests you about it specifically (if not obvious), and where their values align with yours (if they’re listed on their website).

How To Open A Cover Letter?

Opening: The introduction is the first part of your letter, and it should be written in a way that piques the reader’s interest. You can do this by giving them a preview of what you will talk about or asking them a question that makes them curious to read more.

Body: The body of your cover letter should have three parts: an overview of yourself and why you’re qualified for the job, an explanation for why you are interested in working at this company specifically, and some information about when you will be able to start working if there is an opening. 

Conclude with something that shows how hardworking and passionate you are about what they do (if applicable), like how much effort went into writing this letter or how much excitement there is for starting work at their company soon!

With the prevalence of online job applications, it’s becoming increasingly common to send cover letters as emails. Our article on how to send a cover letter as an email offers some helpful tips and tricks for formatting and composing an effective email cover letter.

Who Do I Address My Cover Letter To?

If you’re writing a cover letter, you should always address it to a specific person. This person will be the hiring manager (or HR representative) who ultimately decides whether or not your application is accepted.

If you don’t know who that person is, look at the job posting for clues. If it mentions an “HR department” or says something like “please apply online” without providing contact information, they likely want all of their applications sent to an automated email inbox associated with their website or intranet. 

You can still use this guide to write your cover letter—just send it directly from your email account rather than attaching it as a Word document on your resume and/or portfolio site submission form.

If there’s no mention at all about how applicants should submit themselves for consideration (but there are some other ways), then look for clues in both numbers one and three: 

Who will read my cover letter? Is someone going to be reading over my resume before deciding if I’m qualified for this position? In either case, feel free to adapt our tips below by addressing them specifically instead of “Dear Hiring Manager.”

How Do You Make Sure Your Cover Letter Gets Attention?

If you want your cover letter to get attention, be sure to use a bold font, like Helvetica or Cambria. It will stand out from the rest of the email and attract the eye of whoever is reading it. 

You should also use a catchy subject line that is specific to the job posting or project that you are applying for. For example: “Your Little Ponies Are Here!” is a great line because it addresses the recipient’s interest in My Little Ponies, but it’s also vague enough that anyone could apply this line as their subject line.

Holding on to your professional email address is another way to make sure your cover letter stands out from others and not just because you are using fancy fonts like Helvetica! 

People who know each other well may call each other by their first names when communicating by phone or text message; however, these same people would never do so when writing an official work email (especially if they are trying to get hired). 

Using an unprofessional email address such as “Alex123456789” will look unprofessional straightaway and make it seem like you don’t take things seriously enough for them either!

Do You Always Have To Submit A Cover Letter?

The short answer is yes. A cover letter should be sent with every job application you make, including when you submit your resume via email. It’s not a requirement that it be submitted in hard copy, but it is still considered good practice to do so.

Even if they are optional in some cases, cover letters can help with your chances of getting an interview because they highlight skills and experience that don’t show up on paper. 

In addition to explaining why you’re interested in the job opening, they also serve as a way for candidates to explain how their qualifications meet those listed by the employer (or better yet, exceed them).

For example: “I am writing this letter because I believe my background would make me an excellent fit for your company and strongly desire this position at [name]. My decision was made after reviewing your job description online and realizing that my prior experience matches all of its requirements perfectly.”

Transitioning to a new career can be daunting, but a strong cover letter can help you stand out and make a case for why you’re the best fit for the job. Our guide on how to write a cover letter when changing fields provides tips and advice on how to tailor your cover letter to your new career path.


In conclusion, if you’re applying for a job and don’t have a cover letter, it will be difficult to get past the first screening. So I would recommend that you always include a cover letter with your application.

Further Reading

Do I Need a Cover Letter?: Novoresume discusses the importance of cover letters in job applications and provides tips on how to write an effective one.

Are Cover Letters Necessary?: Zety offers insights into the necessity of cover letters and how to write one that stands out.

Do Employers Care About Cover Letters?: Indeed examines the relevance of cover letters and offers advice on how to write a compelling one.


What should I include in a cover letter?

In a cover letter, you should introduce yourself, explain why you’re interested in the job, and highlight relevant skills and experience. Be sure to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for.

Do all employers require cover letters?

No, not all employers require cover letters. However, even if a cover letter isn’t explicitly required, it can still be beneficial to include one to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and provide additional information about your qualifications.

Can a cover letter hurt my chances of getting a job?

If your cover letter is poorly written or includes irrelevant information, it could potentially hurt your chances of getting the job. That’s why it’s important to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for and make sure it’s well-written and concise.

How long should a cover letter be?

A cover letter should be no longer than one page. It should be concise and to the point, while still providing enough information to make a case for why you’re the best fit for the job.

Should I submit a cover letter if it’s not required?

Even if a cover letter isn’t required, it’s still a good idea to submit one if you have the option. A well-written cover letter can help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job.