Just as the resume is a written representation of your value, the cover letter is a written representation of your writing ability, your analytical thinking skills (drawing connection between your abilities and the position description), and ability to articulate ideas in a succinct manner.
A cover letter serves as a way of effectively highlighting your skills and experience. You want to let an employer know that you have what it takes based on your experiences thus far. But be careful-it should complement your résumé, not replicate it. Cover letters help you interpret the résumé’s factual content and add a personal touch.
Cover letters can serve one of many purposes. One, it can serve as a response to a known job or internship opening. Two, it can be an inquiry about possible positions (that may not be publicly listed) at a company or organization. Or three, it can serve as a networking letter to help make a connection with an individual for assistance in gathering information or finding a job.
Especially when your resume isn’t an exact match to a position at first-glance, an effective cover letter might make the difference between being ignored and getting an interview. Sometimes you may need a platform in which you can highlight the reasons you are a good match for a position, although not in a traditional sense. For example, think psychology major interested in consulting work.