One of the top five most common questions I receive: It says cover letter optional, do I need to write a cover letter?
Yes, yes, and well yes. Will cover letters still exist in 10 years? I don’t know, but they do still exist now. When I was a hiring manager in consulting, I generally used cover letters for three things:
1) it let me gauge how truly interested the applicant was in the role – did they tailor it to my position?
2) tie breaker, I like two resumes a lot, but can only bring in one person
3) mastery of writing and English language, do they write well?
Obviously, these aren’t perfect screens and I certainly still ended up with people who didn’t write well or weren’t as interested as they could have been, but it at least provided me another data point beyond their resume to help me gauge.