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How does the automated resume screening technology impact whether I include a cover letter with my resume?

If you are applying online, be extremely cautious about including a cover letter.  Unless the employer specifically asks for a cover letter, do not send one.

Why?

If the scanner is attempting to read your resume, and it is scanning the cover letter, it could get confused, and your resume probably will be ejected.

If you initially submit a plain text or minimally formatted resume to avoid ATS conflicts and are then called for a telephone screening interview do, these two things:

  1. Offer to send via email an updated resume – one in which the formatting makes it easier to read.
  2. Attach your cover letter to the follow-up email.