Cover letters are very important. A good cover letter can mean the difference between someone calling you in for an interview because they've actually looked at your resume and someone not calling you. These days, writing a good cover letter is becoming akin to copy writing because you can lose the reader at "hello" (remember they are sorting through hundreds of applications), so you need to get their attention, and keep things interesting, and convey your unique selling proposition.
All too often people just send an email, and say "here read the resume" (don't do that) or make other faux pas like writing poorly worded letters or boring the reader...next!
i agree with Rhonda. they are very important and people do call you because of your cover letter. you have the opportunity to show your writing skills as well as summarizing your whole resume and key achievements and skills on 1 page.
keep it energetic, humble and to the point.
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