To write a cover letter or not to write a cover letter? That is the question.

Yes, cover letters can be daunting and time-consuming. While a cover letter may not be required for all VA jobs, we still recommend submitting one.

It can never hurt to give hiring managers further insight into you as a candidate. If a cover letter is the one extra thing that captures their attention and leads to an interview, it’s worth the time investment.

“The more we know, the better you’ll look,” said Tim Blakney, a VA recruitment consultant.

Here are a few other reasons to consider writing a cover letter when you’re preparing your application to VA.

  1. You’ll stand out from the crowd.

VA was recently named one of Forbes’ Best Large Employers in the country – and that honor comes with a lot of applications for our open job listings!

You want to do everything you can to call attention to your application, and a cover letter can help you do just that.

“A cover letter is a way to differentiate yourself from the sea of applicants,” advised career website The Muse.

It’s also a chance to inject some personality into your application since resumes, CVs and government application forms can be formulaic.

Just remember to be friendly but professional. Cover letters for governmental positions tend to be more formal than those in the private sector.

“It’s difficult to project tone in writing, so do your best,” recommended Blakney.

  1. It shows you’re invested in the job.

Taking the time to submit a tailored cover letter demonstrates your commitment to the job. It shows you want this job, not just any job out there.

Sure, it’s tempting to send out identical resumes, CVs and cover letters to every job you apply for, but you’ll make a better impression if you take the time to emphasize the critical skills and experience that make you a great match for this particular job.

“This is absolutely a must. A generic cover letter will not do,” Blakney said.

  1. Cover letters often say what a resume or CV can’t.

Resumes and CVs are great for showing your work history, skills and experience, but they don’t give much insight into why you think you’d be a great fit at VA.

A cover letter gives you a chance to show off your enthusiasm, expand on your resume or even explain gaps in your work history. This can be especially important for military spouses, who often experience career interruptions due to frequent transfers.

It’s also a great chance to talk about what you’ll bring to VA.

“Make sure you tell the reader what you bring to the table. Make them want to reach out to you,” said Blakney.

“You can show that you understand an organization’s goals and values and what you can bring to them,” recommended The Muse.

  1. It’s another chance to show off your skills.

In the end, a cover letter is just a great way to market yourself.

Talk up the soft skills not covered by your resume, include an anecdote that illustrates how you’ve used your skills and experience, or use the chance to demonstrate your writing and communication skills.

“In federal hiring, more is often better than less,” Dave Aragon, recruitment consultant at VA, said in a video on applying to VA.

Work at VA

It’s the perfect time to begin your VA career. We’re always on the lookout for skilled, dedicated health care professionals, administrators and support staff. Polish up your cover letter and apply today!

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Published on Feb. 23, 2021

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