Why Do I Need A Cover Letter?
In some cases, you don't. However, if you are mailing or faxing a resume, you should send a cover letter. It refers your application materials to the correct person or department. It clarifies your job interests. It provides specific reasons for the employer's attention. And it is a personal introduction of yourself.
You usually do not need a cover letter if you are delivering a resume in person or via e-mail. In both cases the same information is delivered, respectively, face-to-face or in your e-mail itself. Of course, if the employer requests a letter, send it.
The cover letter is especially effective when you send it to the right person. If necessary, call the business to get the name and title of the person to whom the resume should be sent. In the case of a blind ad, use a title only, e.g., "Personnel Director", "Hiring Manager", etc.
Other Kinds of Letters and Tools
While the cover letter, resume and application are the typical tool set for a job seeker, other application materials may be used. The Query Letter is written to gather information about job openings and application procedures. The Application Letter is a cover letter that lists specific qualifications that relate to specific job requirements. (Obviously, a good job description is needed to help you write this kind of letter.)
Depending on your field, you may be able to use other, non-traditional application materials. A portfolio is required in many fields that focus on visual presentation, i.e., graphic design, drafting, printing technologies, etc. But other job seekers may also want to develop a portfolio that includes descriptions of job-related projects, customer/client testimonials, awards, tool lists, writing samples, and any other materials that can show an employer what the job seeker can do. Other approaches may include creating web pages, brochures and other documents that highlight your skills and abilities.