When Do You Need a Cover Letter?

You’re usually going to need a cover letter with any job, internship, volunteer position, or academic program application. If you need one, the organization in question will usually specify as such in the application guidelines.

Unfortunately, you don’t usually have the luxury of keeping a generic cover letter on hand for when you need one. Cover letters ought to be custom-written for every job application so that you can specifically address why you should be hired by the company in question. You might benefit from keeping a few cover letter drafts that could be easily modified for individual job applications, but don’t try to send identical letters to multiple companies.

If you’re able to plan ahead, it pays to get a start on your cover letter earlier rather than later. This gives you a chance to go through a couple drafts and put forward the best letter that you can. Remember, this is your first impression to the company, and may make a difference in getting to the all-important interview.