Cover LettersCover Letters
Job Seeker TipsJob Seeker Tips
Beginner BasicsBeginner Basics
In the WorkplaceIn the Workplace
Build Your
Resume With
Our Easy Wizard
Try Our
Resume Writing
Cover Letters
Home > Blog: Cover Letters > 5 Basic Cover Letter Questions Answered

5 Basic Cover Letter Questions Answered

1) What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a 1-page letter that you submit with your resume when you apply for a job.

2) What’s the purpose of writing a cover letter?

Quite simply, the cover letter’s goal is to persuade the prospective employer to look at your resume—and the resume’s goal is to get you an interview. (And it's during the interview process that actual hiring decisions are made.)

3) Why do you need a cover letter?

  • Only about a third of job candidates use cover letters, so just by sending one, you’ve differentiated yourself from about two-thirds of the competition.
  • Some employers reject applicants without cover letters.
  • Other employers don’t care about cover letters, but they won’t penalize you for sending one.
  • There’s no way to know how a given employer feels about cover letters, so send one just to be on the safe side.

4) What does a cover letter do that a resume doesn’t?

  • It introduces you and adds a personal element by putting the facts of your resume into context.
  • It calls attention to your most relevant qualifications for the job.
  • It acknowledges and helps the employer understand (and hopefully overlook) any employment gaps, lack of experience, or other red flags on your resume.
  • It expresses your enthusiasm for the job.
  • It serves as a sample of your writing skills.
  • It shows that you’re willing to “play the game,” even if it requires a little extra effort.

5) What are some tips for writing a cover letter?

  • Never copy a cover letter template or sample cover letter word for word.
  • Write in full sentences and paragraphs.
  • Keep your language clear and concise; avoid long-winded explanations.
  • It’s OK to use the words I, me, or my, but sparingly.
  • Show some personality by using a conversational style -- not too formal, but still professional.
  • Remember the goal is simply to convince them to read your resume, not to overwhelm them with fancy words or unnecessary details.

 DID YOU KNOW? Pongo's Cover Letter Builder makes it quick and easy to write a persuasive, well organized cover letter. Pre-written sample text helps you generate ideas for highlighting your qualifications. Sign Up and Try it Today   (Already a Pongo Member? Login Here)

Good vs. Bad: Make the Best of Your Cover Letter
13 Cover Letter Do's and Don'ts
What to Say in Your Cover Letter

Ready To Jump Start Your Job Search?
Looking for Help with Your Job Search?
Pongo has been helping Job Seekers for over 10 years. If you think our articles are great, try our Resume Builder, Letter Builder and Exclusive Interview Strategy Videos! Our easy-to-use tools and expert advice have helped over 70% of our Members get the job they want! Learn More »
Like what you see?
Join over 4.6 million Pongo Members — and let us help you land your dream job.
Pongo Raves
Nurse Finds Fulfillment in New Position
Deanna was unhappy in her current job but didn't know how to go about making a change. She explains how Pongo helped her target her resume to land a great position as a Pediatric Nurse.
Learn More About Pongo
More Success Stories