For nearly every IT job you apply for, the process is automated. You apply using an online application and there is often no indication whether a cover letter is required. When employers do not indicate they want a cover letter, many IT candidates skip the step. Cover letters can be time–consuming to write and if you aren’t someone who enjoys writing, the process can seem daunting. So, do you need a cover letter to apply for a tech job?
Why You Should Send a Cover Letter
Even when a cover letter is not required, it is always a good idea to send one. A well-written cover letter can help you stand out right from the start. Cover letters allow you to highlight the things you want a hiring manager to know about you so they can see upfront what makes you a great candidate.
Resumes give a great overview of your career, but a cover letter lets you get specific about your most relevant skills and experience. They are also a great place to address contracting experience, consulting experience, gaps in your resume or the fact that you would need to relocate for the job.
It is important to note that most employers expect a cover letter even if they don’t actually require it in the job posting. Failing to send one could fast–track your resume into the proverbial circular file.
Tips for Writing a Great IT Cover Letter
Unfortunately, a form letter won’t differentiate you, so resist the temptation to save time by using one. To truly stand out, you’ll have to create unique letters for each job. Every letter should be well-written and compelling. Tips to stand out:
- Verify the name of the person to whom you are sending the cover letter.
- Keep it concise – three paragraphs are ideal. Five is the maximum.
- Focus on relevant skills and experience as indicated by the job posting.
- Talk about the value you bring to the table, not the fact that you want the job.
- Study samples online to get a feel for appropriate structure and tone.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. A letter loaded with mistakes will not make a good impression.
- Have someone else review your letter before you send it to catch any mistakes you may have missed.