Send a Cover Letter, or not?

When a job application doesn't ask for a cover letter, is it better to send one along anyway? Many of the IBD/S&T internship positions on my OCR website (firms range from BBs to 3-man shops, all FO positions) require only a resume, but hat can't be enough on which to make an informed decision on whom to select for an interview, can it? Would a cover letter in that situation give me an advantage, or would it be ignored?

The jobs usually don't require a transcript either. In that case, should I bother sending mine? (My transcript is not that great - GPA's alright, but a couple of bad grades)

Comments (37)

Dec 31, 2011 - 12:36am

The rule of thumb is...a bad cover letter can really hurt you and a good cover letter won't do much for you. That being said, when I was going through recruitment...I always sent a cover letter, whether they asked for one or not.

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:01am

Cover letter gets 30 seconds of attention, 60 tops. Realistically, it doesn't get read, or if it does, only as a further chance to ding someone.

If they refuse to give you the headache of sending one along, why burden yourself?

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

  • 1
Dec 31, 2011 - 1:08am

If you are gonna send in a generic cover letter obviously might as well not do it. But if you have had deeper interactions with the firm (e.g. know someone, attended invite-only events), you should definitely use those to your advantage to produce a unique cover letter.

Feedback I got from a BB during an interview: you were one of the few people to actually include a cover letter even though we didn't ask for one, and the content was solid.

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:09am

Should I include a cover letter when only resume is requested? (Originally Posted: 09/23/2015)

I am applying through my school's career site. Sometimes recruiters request for both resume and cover letter and there are two separate buttons to upload them. However, sometimes the recruiters only request for resume and there will be only one button to upload the file. In this case, should I merge my cover letter to the second page of the document and submit it together with the resume? Since it says specifically that "choose a resume to apply for this job", I am not sure if it's appropriate to include the cover letter as well, and I also feel that my resume is a little stronger than my cover letter. However, by attaching a cover letter I feel I can show more effort. What should I do in this case? Thank you.

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:14am

If a company does not require that you submit a cover letter, should you still do it? (Originally Posted: 09/28/2014)

Everyone says that no one really reads the cover letters anyway. That being said, if I'm applying somewhere that doesn't require a cover letter, is it still worth it to write one up, at least to show that I'm willing to put in the effort?

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:18am

Send cover letter as well as requested Resume? (Originally Posted: 02/25/2014)

Hi all,

VP of IB in ECM recently informed me of a new open position, and offered he would pass on my resume with recommendations. This is my first time getting a referral so I wanted to ask for advice. Is it considered rude to just send the VP my resume only or should I include a cover letter? I do not know much about the position and maybe have some knowledge of the company culture so I am not sure as to how I can write the letter.

Thanks much in advance,

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:21am

He only asked for a resume, should I send a cover letter too? (Originally Posted: 05/08/2012)

Graduated one year ago, been doing a teaching fellowship, looking to get into consulting. I emailed with an alum who works at a big 4 accounting firm about a month ago, he recently emailed me saying that he talked to some people in advisory and wondering if I have a resume to pass along. I of course do, but I don't really have any business or consulting experience, all my experience is non-profit/political, but I have a pretty compelling story for what got me interested which I use in interviews and write about in my cover letter. So even though he only asked for a resume, should I send along the cover letter as well? I would have nobody to address it to, either "To Whom It May Concern" or "FIRM NAME Hiring Committee"

Get a Pro to Review Your Resume

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:23am

Cover Letter: To write or not to write.... when it's not required (Originally Posted: 12/06/2014)

I'm curious, what would look worse when applying to a firm that doesn't require a cover letter, not sending a cover letter or sending a mediocre cover letter?

Mediocre does not mean sloppy. Obviously, no grammatical or typographical errors.

Dec 31, 2011 - 1:30am

Cover letter with resume drop? (Originally Posted: 08/23/2016)

Is it expected to drop a cover letter with my resume after I speak to someone on a networking phone call?

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