Historically, it has been called the “cover letter”. Whether it is a formal letter or a brief introduction in the body of an email with the attachment of your resume, in my opinion, it is important and will set you apart from other candidates, provided it is done correctly. If you are applying for a position, it should be because you truly see yourself as a fit. As such, you want the hiring manager to see the same thing. Explain this in the cover;
- Refer to the position specifically
- Pick highlights of the position description and state what relevant experience you have – stay high level (the CV will provide more detail and the interview even more…)
- Make it obvious that you are a suitable candidate
- Keep it brief
Don’t make the cover letter about you, make it about the position and reference the experience you have relative to what the employer is looking for.
If you prepare a proper cover/introduction, you will increase your chances of getting the attention of the hiring manager. While it won’t guarantee an interview, it adds value to your profile. Your competition is not doing it – although they should be – so in the meantime, take advantage and run with it.