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When To Include A Cover Letter (If The Company Doesn’t Ask For One)

Graduate job applications are tough enough, without the stress of figuring out what to include in each one. CVs, cover letters, references, your first born child…?

Let’s be real, if this is the tenth job application you’ve sent out this week, you’re behind on your dissertation (and slightly hungover)… chances are you’re considering skipping writing that cover letter. Want to know if that’s the right decision? Keep reading…

Should I Include A Cover Letter If They Don’t Ask For One?

We’ll keep it short and simple. If a cover letter is listed as ‘optional’, always write one. 

By writing a cover letter even if it isn’t mandatory, you’re standing out to the hiring manager. And standing out from the other 100 applicants who couldn’t be bothered to write one. The cover letter is a key part in building your case for getting hired, and the extra 30 mins it’ll take you to write is definitely worth it if it gets you a job. (Also, if you don’t care about the company or role enough to write one, that job probably isn’t right for you). 

Apparently 72% of recruiters still expect cover letters even if the job ad states they’re optional. This is sneaky, so it’s always best to write one just in case.

If there’s no mention of submitting a cover letter, take a look at what else they want from you. If there’s an online application form with questions such as ‘why do you want to work for this company’ or ‘tell us about your relevant experience’ – this is the cover letter, just in a different format. 

Does An Email Count As A Cover Letter?

If you have to email just your CV to someone, use the email itself as an opportunity to include a short cover letter. Briefly highlight your most relevant experience, why you like the specific company and convey your enthusiasm. Do this in 1-2 paragraphs – this could count strongly in your favour and again, make you stand out.

If you’re doing an online application form where there’s only the option to submit your CV, with no additional questions… you’d better make your CV good!

Want someone to cast an eye over your cover letter before you submit it to that dream graduate job application? That’s what we’re here for! We offer virtual cover letter reviews and 1-1 review and strategy sessions, designed to get you interviews – check them out.

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