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My advice is to always submit a cover letter with your resume. It’s an extra step that employers do notice and it can set you apart from other applicants. Some hiring managers will look at cover letters first before they decide whose resume they should review more closely. A cover letter should be customized for each position you’re applying to and each company you’re applying to. It shouldn’t be more than a page, just a couple of paragraphs is good.
What should you include in a cover letter? Well, first start with how you heard about the position and which position you’re applying for. Talk about how you’re qualified for the job. Don’t just repeat what’s in your resume but really review the job description carefully and focus on a few key skill areas and the experience that you have in those areas.
Why should they pick you over another candidate? How can you help the company meet their goal or fill a need that they have? Talk about why you want to work for that company. Have they won awards or honors? Do they have a good reputation in the community? Do you identify with their values or the work that they do?
And then, finally, close with thanking the hiring manager for their time and consideration and express that you look forward to hearing from them to further discuss the position and your qualifications. It can take a lot of effort and time to create a cover letter but it can really make a big difference in your job search.