Education Career Services

July 31, 2009

Are Cover Letters Useful?

Tomorrow I will be heading to Chicago for the MWACE conference and hope to meet lots of peers while there.  Being an exhibitor, it’s always nice to see a friendly face and yours would be more than welcome.  With this in mind, I encourage as many to offer suggestions on the material I created, your input benefits students from across the United States and Canada.  That’s right, my textbooks, instructor resource guides, workbooks, and guidebooks are used in over 150 campuses. 

July 31Being my first trip to Chicago, any ideas as to where to go for a great hot dog and/or pizza is appreciated.  I will also be visiting a few campuses along the way (between Iowa and Orlando); if you are interested in a campus visit and a personal review of my work, let me know as quickly as possible so schedules can be manipulated.

Enough of Chicago for now, let’s get into a question asked by a reader who was wondering if cover letters really are important…here’s what I have to say:

As a business owner, I always look forward to the cover letter and weigh it’s content and structure heavily.  According to the latest trends and the top career management associations in the US, cover letters are extremely important while a large amount of employers (approximately 1/3rd) disqualify the candidate if a cover letter is not included with the resume.

As a certified career coach and certified resume writer, I insist resumes will be accompanied by a cover letter.  As a former instructor, program chair, career director, and dean of academic affairs, cover letter inclusion was mandatory…at the bear minimum displays professional respect.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce qualities and characteristics a resume can not deliver.  The cover letter is slightly more subjective and is held to high standards of grammar.  This is the time to allow a glimpse of personality to be known…understand no employee is an island.  As a result, employers are interested not only in what you can do, but also the manner in which you can do it.

I’ve written several books on the topic and would be glad to share specific examples and issues at your convenience.  I can be reached at

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW (blog) (website)


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